"Blockchain ! Do you have, REAL examples in the business environment ?"
This is probably the most popular question I have had in my conversations about Blockchain these last weeks.
If 2017 sounds to have been the year when the world (except the most early technological birds) opened up to blockchain, 2018 sounds to be the year to question whether it is becoming real or not.
By real, people mean “do some actors use it in some processes of their professional life?”
The question is fully legitimate, and I see some reasons for it :
The “killing App” is not yet out, therefore Blockchain can still appear as a “dreamers” technology ;
the change of paradigm (trust and governance in particular) brought by the technology is also a slowing factor for the understanding and the recognition that yes it does work,
lastly, the raise and fall of the cryptocurrencies market took the first role in most articles, discussions, presentations, leaving “business” applications somehow behind.
While the Bitcoin and all kind of (sometimes) fancy cryptocurrencies were on the headlines of business reviews and mainstream papers, some (probably) less attractive projects, but nevertheless real, were making their way, in the business and industrial sectors.
For example, Carrefour is deploying a traceability blockchain in different categories of products.
In France, it is already live in the poultry area and it announces the same in Spain. Consumer can already access, thanks to their Smartphone, to datas stored on the Blockchain (therefore not tampered) about the origin, certification, etc of the “chicken” they buy.
Carrefour plans to deploy step by step this technology to other categories.
Two other cases, developed by Tecnalia, our partner for Blockchain projects, although not yet at the scale of the Carrefour one.
First a solution regarding traceability of the meat in the basque country, from the farmer to the butcher. Blockchain guarantees here that the meat delivered to the customer is conform to the label.
Another solution, is about management and control of documentation during the tendering process in the public administration. Documentation is recorded on Blockchain, making it available at the same time of guaranteeing its compliance.
Outside of Procurement/Supplychain examples, Paypal, rolled out a project to use blockchain granting employees by tokens for their contribution in their innovation processes.
Those are REAL examples, in the business area. It is not about cryptocurrency trading, it is not binded to the volatility of Bitcoin, and it is running.
It might not be yet the big-bang some are waiting for, but still, those examples show it runs for real. Blockchain technology is still under a lot of test, trials, pilot to estimate where it will be best suited, nevertheless, be aware that it is live, and some companies have already moved forward.
If you don’t move and try to understand where it will be best suited for your business, either your customers or your vendors will do so and ask you to move under conditions you will not choose.
Don’t wait to understand every single detail about Blockchain before identifying use cases in your environment, and go for proof of Concept. After all, did you wait to understand exactly how did internet work before using it ?