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Enterprises Struggle to Figure Out What to do with a Blockchain

Interest in enterprise grade blockchain solutions grows but adoption is lagging due to the misunderstanding of the technolgy. IBM is the leader in blockchain development for businesses. The company has lobbied numerous potential clients in different industries trying to sell them on adopting blockchain. However, instead of help, this push is hurting adoption. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. When the blockchain fails to gain traction it is seen as a failure for Bitcoin. And strengthens the case that crypto has no real world application. This not true; it’s just that the blockchain is applied in the wrong use cases.

One Solution Fits All

The most common misconception is that the blockchain can raise efficiency in any business setting. And this is not the case. For example, Salesforce, a human resource management service software, won a patent to decrease spam email. The patent proposes to embed a portion of an email message into a blockchain. A receiving server matches the component with the blockchain to determine its root’s authenticity and delivers it. This is a similar idea to that of the Phantasma messaging protocol which uses blockchain encryption to secure email. However creative using a blockchain for this may seem, it is unnecessary. Spam filters and secure communications already exist; thus, using a blockchain to accomplish the same results is redundant and inefficient.

IBM

IBM’s HyperLedger Fabric is the staple crypto product for the company and a landmark in the industry. Its applications extend from maritime shipping tracking, to produce sourcing, and supply chain verification. However, once again, in an effort to diversify its market audience, blockchain technology is applied unnecessarily. For example, in its two latest iterations, IBM is partnering up with Seagate to tackle counterfeiting of hard drives. And it’s developing a changelog using a blockchain to share and secure scientific data. The problem is that barcodes already do a lot of the verification for Original Electronic Manufacturers (OEMs) parts. And scientists are very particular about sharing research data. Therefore, the changelog blockchain is likely to encounter heavy resistance just like Tradelens did when it was implemented. Cost is major a consideration for companies when adopting new technology and blockchain is no exception.

Costs

Re-tooling a company’s IT infrastructure to adopt blockchain at scale costs money. And companies’ budgets are always restrictive. In addition, given the nature of a blockchain, it requires a large number of nodes to operate. This switching from legacy systems like a database to a blockchain means customers will incur additional costs as well.

Analysis

The blockchain has the potential to bring change for many industries through its many uses and applications.  However, most see it as a solution in search of a problem. One of its biggest problems is redundancy; while blockchain has many unique attributes, its current applications seek to replace or improve current systems that don’t necessarily need change. In many experts’ opinion blockchains fit a very narrow and specific use. And developers must first identify these target uses before marketing the technology to all industries. For example, the adoption of blockchains such as Ripple and Corda as a cross-border, financial network ahead of the ISO 2022 standard implementation. Before the blockchain, the ISO 2022 standard was an electronic data interchange to link financial institutions worldwide. In this case, the blockchain offered some advantages in using its cryptography to secure embedded transactions.

When developers figure out specific uses for blockchain, mass adoption will follow. For example, given enough time for blockchain platforms like Ethereum, EOS, Cardano, and others to mature, useful decentralized applications will follow. These will emerge through Apple and Android stores and will form part of everyday life.

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