Blockchain, the ‘distributed ledger’ technology that drives cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, holds its database of transactions via a decentralized network as opposed to a centralized server somewhere.
Although its full potential has perhaps yet to be fully realised, the technology is getting increasing hype and is slowly making its way out of the tech bubble and into the minds of small businesses and the general public.
Which is where you might come in.
What’s clear is financial institutions and lenders, governments, enthusiasts, and academics are all touting its benefits and it has the same aura that we saw during the beginning of the internet.
But, how do you know whether Blockchain has a useful application for your business in 2018 and what are those core benefits that have made the tech so popular?
Let’s take a closer look at 5 reasons why businesses should adopt Blockchain …
1) Be Ahead of the Competition
Although some people believe Blockchain may go as far as becoming the backbone of the internet itself as part of Web 3.0, there will almost certainly be increasing uses for the technology moving forward, whether that’s the case or not—it’s not going anywhere.
That means if you want to be at the forefront of your industry, you should certainly consider getting involved. Look at how being an early adopter of the internet or social media benefitted businesses.
In some industries, Blockchain has the potential for a similar level of innovation.
2) Broaden Payment Options
The vast majority of businesses can get involved with Blockchain simply by accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment option for customers and clients. You might not see a huge surge in people using this option, but it certainly puts you ahead of businesses that aren’t using it.
If you are a web-based business it is easy to accept Crypto via your address and wallet, but it’s not much more difficult at the point of sale with solutions from BitPay and others. There are even solutions for quickly converting your crypto holdings into USD or other fiat currencies.
Of course, this isn’t the only application of Blockchain. It is being used for contracts, supply chain integrity, cloud storage, financial auditing, and everything in-between.
Virtually any system involving transactions that need to be verified can benefit from the Blockchain.
3) Lower Costs Over Time
At the heart of Blockchain is the removal of a middle-man, whether that’s a bank, broker, web host, database suit etc. This also means you won’t have to pay (or at least as much) for those solutions, cutting business costs over time.
The downside is that depending on the type of business you are running; your partners may also have to embrace Blockchain to fully take advantage of the cost-reducing benefits.
4) Security and Recordkeeping
Blockchain stands out because its records are encrypted, verifiable, and immutable. The ledger cannot be hacked, because if a record was somehow altered, the signature would immediately become invalid and all of those accessing the network would disregard it. The hacker would also need to somehow change every block ever recorded because all blocks are linked.
In effect, nobody can change the transaction information once it has been recorded and all parties involved can access the ledger to verify transactions without an intermediary.
There are also no competing databases that have to be synced unless a party decides to do this themselves.
Blockchain is transparent in a practical sense (nobody can do some shady accounting on the side), but it also benefits your business from a marketing perspective, during a time when people are increasingly concerned about honesty and integrity.
A bold example of this are the startups developing decentralized blockchain-driven social networks, that allow their users to have full control over their personal data and whether to monetize it themselves.
A public blockchain can also display the supply-chain/journey of a product, which obviously benefits businesses and suppliers but also benefits customers who might want proof that the product was produced ethically.
Has your business already jumped on the Blockchain bandwagon or are you planning to adopt it soon? Maybe you think it’s a fad that will go nowhere? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!