Cryptocurrency continues to hit the headlines, especially since a single Bitcoin in 2010 would cost around £1 compared to the £thousands that they trade for today. Yet it is the technology that makes cryptocurrency possible that is the new hottest trend in town, with Google searches for the word ‘Blockchain’ increasing by more than 250% in the past year alone.
Put simply, Blockchain is a list of virtual records or ‘blocks’ that is continuously growing by supporting the transfer of assets and the information relating to these assets. These blocks are verified, linked and secured using cryptography, making it impossible to hack.
Whilst cryptocurrency like Bitcoin runs the risk of having its bubble burst, the technology behind Blockchain looks like it is here to stay, with businesses of all sizes looking at how to harness its power to deliver positive results to operations.
Businesses can implement smart contracts that are completely unbreakable and eliminate the need for mediators. One example is Slock, which uses Blockchain to allow people to rent bikes, which can only be unlocked once both parties agree on the contract terms.
Blockchain built its name on cryptocurrency so it makes sense that it could one day be used to payroll staff and make supplier payments. Bitwage claims to be the world’s first Bitcoin payroll service that bypasses international payment charges and removes any bank payment delays to save both parties time and money.
Blockchain payments would remove every intermediary and its role in smart contracts would also mean that commercial actions, such as payments, would automatically trigger once either party satisfies the criteria detailed within the contract.
Any irregularities are instantly detected and lead you back to the point of origin, enabling businesses to carry out immediate investigation. One positive use is within the food sector where origination tracking and batch information is crucial for quality assurance.
Human error is virtually eliminated by recording transactions through Blockchain, with the technology also preventing possible tampering and leaving a traceable audit trail. There is no doubt that Blockchain has the potential to disrupt existing business models. If properly implemented, the technology can drive operational efficiencies, and we expect to see more Blockchain built services and applications entering the market over the coming months and years.
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