Two iconic use cases and what they tell about Blockchain
In the last ten years, ever since Satoshi Nakamoto’s paper Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, Bitcoin and its Blockchain infrastructure have become ubiquitous as promises for how technology will make the world more effective.
Of innumerable use cases, two stand out as iconic, and they have much to tell about the Blockchain technology and the role it promises to play in making society more effective.
The first use case is supply chain, which thanks to a handful of successful applications have proven that yes, Blockchain is for real and it really changing the world in a dramatic way.
IBM Food Trust has already made its mark by abandoning paper records and replacing it with Blockchain throughout the entire supply chain. A seemingly simple step that has enabled it to securely manage electronic certificates throughout the entire supply chain.
And by using a single ledger IBM Food Trust can do away with Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable and other similar transactions like Payments and Receipts.
And given operators instant access to digitized records and documents. In IBM Food Trust, operators and end-users have full and instant access to the entire food chain, and can trace the provenance of any food item in a matter of seconds.
In a similar way IBM’s and Maerk’s TradeLens is also built round removing paper records in the shipping Supply Chain and in that way bring instant access to all the aspects of the shipping supply chain.
So the way to sucess for Blockchain entrepreneurs is to identify a niche in the supply chain that is still run on paper records and replace them with the Blockchain.
The second iconic use case for Blockchain is the poetically named cross-border multi-currency payments and remittances. Which just like the supply chain is rife for disruption.
And where IBM is playing an important role with IBM Blockchain World Wire, that simultaneously clears and settles cross-border payments in near real-time. Integrating with your existing payment systems.
But while the supply chain can be disrupted by Blockchain technology alone, with a sprinkling of traditional techology for off-chain storage, cross-border payments is really a fintech issue, occuring in fintech space with fintech techology.
So how can Blockchain disrupt fintech without financial technology? The solution for IBM Blockchain World Wire is easy, it is built on top of the open source decentralized Stellar protocol for digital currency to fiat money transfers which allows cross-border transactions between any pair of currencies.
So why doesn’t IBM provide its own crypto- or digital currency? Or put another way, is there a middle ground between Blockchain and Bitcoin?
Are there aspects of the Bitcoin world that can be used in the Blockchain world without the full embrace of crypto currencies.
And the answer is yes, and the technology is the “token” which traces its origin to ICO or Initial Coin Offerings.
Anyone interested in tokens should be aware of the fact that relesase 2.0 of Hyperledger Fabric, when it is released, will include “FabToken”, which is explained as follows: “Representing assets as tokens allows you to use the blockchain ledger to establish the unique state and ownership of an item, and transfer ownership using a consensus mechanism that is trusted by multiple parties. As long as the ledger is secure, the asset is immutable and cannot be transferred without the owners consent.
Tokens can represent tangible assets, such as goods moving through a supply chain or a financial instrument being traded. Tokens can also representintangible assets such as loyalty points.”
FabToken comes with a good example and will undoubtedly bridge the gap between BitCoin and the cryptocurrencies and Blockchain.