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Blockchain: Empowering the Industrial Internet of Things

While Bitcoin is the most popular application of Blockchain, the technology also has trustless, secured and decentralized capabilities that can redefine business solutions, including those that empower the Internet of Things.

What makes the Blockchain an essential element of industrial Internet of Things? The fact that the technology behind the Bitcoin is autonomous, trustless and decentralized makes it an ideal component of industrial IoT solutions. Thus, many enterprise IoT technologies have quickly become its early adopters.

In an IoT network, the Blockchain keeps an undisputable record of the history of smart devices. This enables the autonomous function of smart devices without the need for a centralized authority. This means that difficult or even impossible scenarios of the Internet of Things are now probable.

By leveraging the technology, industrial IoT solutions can enable secure communication between smart devices in a network. This means that the Blockchain will treat the exchange of data between devices like financial transactions in a Bitcoin network. To enable this trustless and secure data exchange, smart contracts are required between two parties.

The Blockchain also enables autonomous smart devices to exchange data without the need for centralized broker. It also maintains a suitably decentralized ledger, which allows regulatory and compliance requirements of industrial IoT to be applied without the need for a centralized model.

The promise of Blockchain in IoT solutions is more than just a theory. Many IoT solutions are already leveraging the technology, including IBM, Samsung, and Filament. IBM and Samsung collaborated to build decentralized IoT solutions. Filament develops wireless devices that accept Bitcoin payments.  While these solutions are still in the early stages, they have garnered remarkable results.

How does the Blockcahin empower IoT solutions? It enables secure communication, keeps undisputable record of history, and enables data exchange without a centralized authority. In a word, it redefines business solutions. Sign up for our weekly blog summary and newsletter!      

Explaining the Blockchain Technology to an Average Person

What do we call blockchain technology so the people will understand it better? The blockchain technology is not for average persons. It probably ranks on the 10,000th level of the nerd scale. This makes it difficult for a startup business to get people to comprehend it. They need to explain the technology behind Bitcoin in ways that laymen understand to help unpack some of its complexity.

In order to unpack the complexity of blockchain, some shiny marketing gloss should be placed on top. However, marketing to the masses will clearly take more than a 10-minute brainstorming session. It can be difficult to get mainstream consumers to trust their life savings to a decentralized bank or a blockchain-based insurance when they don’t understand the concept.

The blockchain is a massive decentralized trust machine and a distributed ledger technology. It is a programmable trust infrastructure that allows you to program your trust in the concept or the rules. This allows you to remove the systemic risk, which is one of the technology’s key benefits. Technically, it cryptographically validates secure web pages and pulls together data from them.

There is a broad range of things that you can do with the blockchain technology. Integrating it into the Internet of Things lets you keep track of rental or ownership of physical objects. It could also act as a real-time inference audit tool that promotes continuous blockchain traceability. This means that you do not have to do another audit on failed spot checks because, essentially, you would be auditing as you go along.

There are a bunch of upstart players across industries, and they can benefit from the blockchain technology if consumers understand the concept. The technology is a distributed ledger that records and verifies every transaction made worldwide. It is a decentralized trust machine; thus, it is difficult to hack or alter records in its registry. Understandably, it is a brilliant and extraordinary technology.

Other Possible Uses of the Blockchain that can Change the World

Looking at the blockchain technology, it is important that we determine its potential as a threat and its use in boosting the efficiency of communication – ultimately making a better world. It is a networked approach to an open, decentralized and very difficult to steal, hack or counterfeit transactions. It promotes digital trust through radical openness. For the first time, we will be able to reimagine how our world transacts without the need for intermediaries.

The significance of blockchain was recognized even before; however, it took a while for the broader market to understand what a big leap it is towards transparency. Here are potential uses of the underpinning technology of Bitcoin that can change the world.

  • Electronic Voting
    With the election just around the corner, it is a relief that there is a technology that can verify a machine’s accuracy during recounts. Automating the paper vote counts will not only save time and cost, it will also improve accuracy. Since blockchain is composed of blocks that contain a hash from previous blocks, changing one vote requires altering millions of votes before another one is cast.

    The election has been a primary target of hackers; thus, political parties have turned to blockchain for internal voting. A hacker would need more computing power to rewrite multiple of votes quickly – something that he cannot do. This eliminates election corruption in the undeveloped world.

  • Unbreakable Contracts
    The blockchain replaces the role of a third party in resolving legal disputes among suppliers, customers and partners. Changes in agreements would not require the services of an expensive lawyer anymore. Instead, companies would create a token that can be used to represent an asset with a self-executing contract, which eliminates dependency on a third party.
  • The End of Patents
    Every now and then, we read news about patent disputes between large tech companies like Apple and Samsung. The blockchain replaces patents by barring replication of a transaction hash associated with a unique document. Gone are the days when companies need to file a publicly-known patent. Blockchain can prove the existence of ownership through date-specified internal documents linked to a transaction hash.

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Disrupting the Financial System with Blockchain

While Bitcoin is not replacing currencies in the world anytime soon, you should know that the digital currency is relevant to your business. Its underlying technology – blockchain – could challenge our assumptions about the security and reliability of commerce. In fact, many leading financial personalities believe it could transform the business world in the next decades. If you do not want to end up like other companies, which failed to recognize the importance of the Internet, you might want to reconsider.

The financial industry has started to explore the blockchain’s potential. The investments company, BNY Mellon, is testing the technology internally to determine if it can be used to motivate employees. UBS is also attempting to build a secure, reliable, scalable and efficient blockchain solution. The company believes that the technology can improve the client experience ultimately.

The blockchain makes cryptocurrency legit for financial services, making it wise for the investment community to look over the developments in the cryptocurrency space. In the past twenty years, banks have reduced settlement of bonds, stocks and assets. Since communications and vetting can occur in two to five days, the time lag can increase financial risks. Through the Bitcoin technology, they can complete transactions in record time.

By using blockchain as a ledger, financial service entities can track and use smart contracts to verify business agreements and relationships while circumventing the legal system. Tying smart documents to a blockchain would provide the functionality of Rosettanet and other electronic data interchange (EDI) platforms at a much lower cost. Since the underlying technology is effectively free, related technologies could be used to manage and authenticate transactions.

You may think that Bitcoin is a risky investment, but the blockchain makes it worth trying for. The revolutionary technology can actually disrupt the financial sector. Since the financial industry is built on ledgers, it is a challenge for the industry to guarantee and track assets from one ledger to another. As a digital ledger, blockchain will impact the way the industry conducts business. Distributed across millions of computers, it records all transactions with little or no cost.

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5 Finance Leaders who Embrace the Blockchain Technology

The blockchain is enjoying popularity among the largest banks in the world. Some have gone public on their interest of embracing the technology, while others have chosen to keep it amongst themselves. The bottom line is everyone is talking about it. In fact, nine major banks have already partnered with R3CEV, a distributed ledge startup. Thirteen more have joined to bring the revolutionary technology to Wall Street.

The banks are investing money in the startup to study the blockchain tech. They are committed to collaboratively apply and evaluate the technology to the global financial system. Industry standards need to be secure, scalable and adoptable, and the blockchain is the solution to transform financial technology platforms. Many finance leaders recognize this fact and that is why they are welcoming the technology with open arms.

  • Speaking to CoinDesk, Alex Batlin of UBS considers blockchain as one of the biggest unions of business and technology today. He thinks that the partnership between startups and bigger companies can work well as they complement each other. Earlier this year, the Swiss investment bank surprised many people when it announced its plans to open a blockchain research lab, which will be based in Canary Wharf district, London.
  • Head of Citi Ventures innovation network, Debra Brackeen also announced that the company is testing the blockchain technology. She believes that there is reason for banks and other financial institutions to be looking at the revolutionary technology.
  • Mariano Belinky, managing director of Santander InnoVentures, also spoke to CoinDesk about the cryptocurrency technology. He believes that the blockchain will be adopted sooner than expected – perhaps, even faster than the adoption of digital currency.
  • Former senior executive of JP Morgan, Blythe Masters, also spoke about the potential of the blockchain technology in various occasions. She believes that the technology can solve many of the issues plaguing the financial industry today. While the distributed ledger technology can disrupt certain business models, it can also empower existing ones by lowering costs, reducing risks, and increasing efficiency.
  • The chief economist of the Bank of England, Andrew Haldane, described blockchain as having real potential.

The collaboration between banks and R3CEV will work on the development of standards for using the blockchain technology within the financial industry. They will develop prototypes and proofs-of-concept as well. If these finance leaders recognize the potential of the technology, you should too. Blockchain will lead digital transparency and trust revolution. It will be the new digital foundation for business.

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Blockchain: The Next Big Thing in the Supply Chain

Blockchain has the potential to change how the supply chain works. Although it is owned and monitored by everyone, it is ultimately controlled by no one. It is like a gigantic interactive spreadsheet that everyone can access and update. It consists of transactions and blocks, which contain a hash of the preceding blocks – thus the name blockchain. It creates new and secure ways of interaction between businesses, with no prior relationships, over the Internet.

The blockchain promotes trust and transparency in the supply chain. It can create a formal registry to tag products and monitor their course in different points of the supply chain by confirming receipts and automatically releasing payments. Without the blockchain, transactions can take place in two to three days. The technology speeds up the operations within hours and also reduces transaction fees.

Every time a product is moved, the transaction is documented in the database and into the blockchain. This helps producers to trace where their products are and how they are integrated into finished items. It also allows consumers to identify and trace the merchandise from manufacturing to delivery. In a word, the blockchain assures producers and consumers that the products were safely and verifiably transported.

The blockchain changes the game of complex global supply chains. It promotes trust among companies by ensuring a secure and confirmable transfer of digital assets across expansive networks through a transparent supply chain. It also allows them to make informed decisions by improving visibility. Thus, supply chain professionals need to consider its value when regarding new B2B commerce networks.

Many are now employing the blockchain in ways that go far beyond Bitcoin. In fact, the financial industry has already adopted the technology. Companies have found a way to improve supply chain efficiency through it. As a distributed ledger, blockchain tracks a product throughout its journey in the supply chain. This enables businesses to understand the process that runs their supply chains.

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Can the Blockchain and Industry Standards Play Together?

The number of consumers demanding for genuine transparency is increasing. Almost everyone wants to know where the products they are about to purchase come from and how they got from there to the market. To raise the awareness of consumers, it takes more than just industry standards. That’s why scores of industries are open to the revolutionary technology used by Bitcoin – blockchain.

Certain standards require companies to distribute more information regarding their products and services in order to raise the awareness of their customers. However, these standards do not ensure a transparent and authentic chain of custody. This is where the blockchain technology comes in. A blockchain is an open, auditable and secure shared database that enables users to transfer digital property safely and verifiably across networks.

Industries are part of the world where digital preservation is imperative. They need to keep their long term digital information safe and accurate to engender trust from their consumers. The blurring line between public and private domains calls the need for a system or framework that will keep information authentic and trusted. Blockchain promotes decentralization of data, which means that no third party can control what is seen. This ensures industries that their data will go beyond weeks or even hundreds of years.

In conclusion, blockchain allows consumers to make informed purchases. They also empower governments to request reliable information easily and quickly. In a word, they will change the game for certifying, tracking and tracing where products come from. By playing together with industry standards, they become powerful tools that bring greater transparency to the most complex supply chains in the world.

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Blockchain: Disrupting the Supply Chain Industry

How could blockchain change the everyday experience of purchasing, cooking and serving dinner? Think about this. Every ingredient of your dinner has a history. Blockchain allows you to see where these ingredients come from, how they were produced, and who handles them. At the same time, it also allows the producers to track where their ingredients are and how they are incorporated into finished products.

Small contracts built into this revolutionary technology also create new options for buying goods, including automatic recurring orders and naming your own price. Blockchain is very profound. In fact, many have already thought about business ideas where they can use such system. In fact, Steve Wozniak of Apple has already joined a blockchain firm. He is also convinced of the disruption that technology is creating in the supply chain industry.

The blockchain could challenge our assumptions of what makes commerce secure and reliable. It could transform the world for the next decade. If you have not considered the technology to be relevant to your business, you will risk being caught flat-footed as those who failed to see the potential of the Internet. So, why is the blockchain disruptive?

The blockchain removes the need for a third party to guarantee a transaction by combining powerful encryption with distributed structure. It coordinates agreements among partners and minimizes interference. It creates a highly tamper-resistant structure that makes almost all kinds of transactions secure and verifiable. In a word, it is a breakthrough that could reshape the entire digital economy.

In conclusion, the blockchain can create a formal registry to identify products and track their course through the different points of supply chain. It will allow internet-connected equipment to monitor the products they are handling and tag them according to temperature, location and other relevant environmental conditions. This provides assurance that the products were safely handled throughout their journey in the supply chain.

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Applying the Blockchains to the Supply Chain

Blockchains are known to be the marvel behind the Bitcoin, but other industries also benefit from this revolutionary technology. Companies that are looking to improve efficiency have found a way to solve the supply chain issues using this technology. Companies are able to trace items from manufacturing up to the delivery of products at the consumers’ doorstep. In a word, blockchains hold the key to a more transparent supply chain.

The supply chain is facing many obstacles such as lost, stolen, diverted or counterfeited products. Using a distributed ledger, blockchains can be used outside financial transactions. In the same way that they improve money, they can also enhance the supply chains globally. How? Once a product is labeled at the marketing level, it can be tracked through the entire supply chain.

Two Applications of Blockchain in Supply Chains
There are two ways blockchains can be applied in the supply chain. First, they can be used to track products and inventory by confirming receipts and releasing payments automatically. In a word, it can help track products across a decentralized network. They can also help reduce transaction fees as well as speed up payments. Usually, transactions are processed in two to three days. With blockchains, they can be done within hours.

Second, blockchains can aid transparency in the supply chains. They can be adapted to track information about the product – ultimately revealing the full chain to the public. Using a website or application, consumers are able to trace information all the way back to the manufacturing level. This could highlight work practices, Fairtrade considerations and many more. In a word, blockchains help us understand transactions from end to end.

In conclusion, blockchains promote trust and transparency in the supply chain. They help identify and trace items from manufacturing to delivery. Every time a product is moved, the transaction will be recorded in the database and into the blockchain. As a secure, joint record of exchange, consumers can track what is going on with the products and who handles it along the way. In a word, blockchains create entirely new opportunities for participation.

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Blockchain 101: What You Need to Know

Companies need to know what goes on beyond the four walls of their businesses in order to gain greater insight to their full supply chain. They need technology that will enable them to understand the total process that runs their supply chains. Thus, Blockchain becomes a very interesting idea for organizations. It promotes trust among companies by bringing transparency into the supply chains, therefore making it “trustless”.

What is a Blockchain?
First, let us define what a Blockchain is. It is a transaction database that contains a continuously growing list of data shared by all nodes participating in the system. Every block contains a hash of previous blocks, creating a chain of blocks. Each block is guaranteed to come chronologically after the previous block and is computationally impossible to modify as every block after it would have to be regenerated.

Blockchain is the main innovation and technology behind Bitcoin. It is most widely used in the currency’s public ledger of cryptocurrencies. Based on a Bitcoin protocol, it contains every transaction executed in the currency. It contains all information about the addresses and their balances. That is because every computer connected to the Bitcoin system gets a copy of the blockchain. It is automatically downloaded upon signing up to the network.      

Decentralization
A block chain is open but secure. It is auditable and runs without a centralized operator. It is the only place that Bitcoins can exist in the form of unspent outputs of transaction. Unlike traditional payment systems like PayPal, it does not require a centralized database.  Since transactions are made by software applications, the nodes validate the transactions, add them to their copy of the ledger and broadcast them to other nodes.

The blockchain provides transparency a traditional centralized approach cannot. It can allow companies to make informed purchases by increasing visibility. It makes the authenticity and transparency of products and services less difficult by ensuring safe and verifiable transfer of digital property across expansive networks. In a word, blockchains may very well change the game of the complex global supply chains.

Time will tell.  Organizations are conservative, but we are already seeing adoption of the technology across the financial sectors worldwide.   Supply chain professionals should start considering the value of an open public ledger when considering new b2b commerce networks.

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