Blockchain and Ecommerce are an Unparalleled Combination (Part II)

The first instalment of this two-part article discussed how Blockchain and Ecommerce are coming together and boosting each other’s performance and presence in digitized markets. This is an extension to the discussion that overlays on the significant changes happening and some emerging and existing ecommerce platforms that are transforming this sector.

First let’s assess the significant propositions that blockchain offers to the Ecommerce sector.

Blockchain has radicalized the mere idea of online shopping and exchange through seamless and effortless transactions. Imagine a small-scale vendor who is unable to arrange funds required to establish a new venture. Today, various blockchain based platforms allow businesses to buy/sell their commodities with almost negligible investments. Blockchain based platforms like Crowdz and Virie let users interact directly to sell or buy products or services, and transact and offer liquidity through faster cash flow — something that is critical to enterprises, especially small-scale vendors and organizations.

However, this isn’t the only factor that blockchain offers to ecommerce platforms. Blockchain’s distributed ledger has multiple aspects that provide both innovation and usefulness to ecommerce platforms. From payments to immutability, blockchain expands massively across various stages of a typical ecommerce supply chain. Blockchain is unique in its ability to integrate where it’s required. Existing ecommerce platforms thus need to assess what factors they need to change or revamp through blockchain. Take for instance an ecommerce website dealing in online fiat payments that now wishes to expand and integrate virtual currencies but is satisfied with other processes. Blockchain offers the flexibility to existing enterprises and retailers in how and where they wish to implement blockchain based on what their aim is.

Blockchain thus has multiple use cases spanning from complete decentralization of processes and platforms to revamping supply chains in a cost effective and efficient manner. Let us see what these propositions actually mean for ecommerce.

The use cases

Blockchain’s presence can be ascertained with the fact that famous business retailers like Shopify, Expedia and Microsoft have transformed their payment processes and integrated blockchain to offer virtual currencies as a mode of payment.

But is this all that comes along? No. There’s much more to blockchain integration than simply making virtual currencies available.

- Decentralization: This is the first most significant change that comes along with blockchain implementation. Blockchain’s immunity from centralized regulations and authority is its strongest suit. With no central control or restrictions, blockchain offers an unmatched freedom to not only the platforms but also consumers in its own unique ways.

Virie platform, for instance, offers an intermediary-free, decentralized marketplace that anyone can access from anywhere and exchange anything they wish to through direct interaction with potential participants.

How does this help?

One, Virie doesn’t segregate users based on their role. A user can be a buyer, a seller or both based on their requirements.

Secondly, intermediary-free environment offers blockchain based platforms an additional trust and makes them cost effective and less complex.

- Data Privacy and Authority: Various applications today are offering customized shopping experiences to users through blockchain. Through a universal profile management for every user, retailers only need to mine potential consumers but cannot offer them anything unless approved by the consumers first. This in return helps address the data privacy and authority issues.

For example, Virie protects its users by making them intractable. Users do not have to disclose any personal details unless they are willing to in order to exchange or transact. Also, there are various protocols that protect them from data theft or privacy breaches.

- Cost effective: Blockchain’s ability to reduce costs of implementation and complexities has contributed significantly not only in its own acceptance but also made enterprises adapt more freely to this change.

Blockchain provides an efficient way to store information that is not only easily accessible but also immutable. Blockchain makes supply chains and platforms tamper proof so that an attempt to forge or alter the data can be tracked and stopped even before it causes damage.

While initial versions of blockchain were costlier to implement and made no sense for small scale retailers, this is now changing and blockchain is becoming more accessible and affordable. Alternatively, with more and more blockchain marketplaces, these retailers no longer need to implement their own supply chains. They can rather choose a platform that meets their prerequisites and base their exchanges entirely off these platforms.

- Accessibility and Availability: The emerging blockchain platforms are open, transparent, easily accessible and available from where ever you are. One no longer needs to arrange heavy duty infrastructure to support the transactions as blockchain is becoming more and more efficient.

Retail.Global for instance is a global ecommerce platform based on blockchain. It helps bring other local and global ecommerce platforms to function from a single platform. Through a futuristic vision, this platform aims at making various aspects of ecommerce sector run through a single channel.

- Freedom and Authority: While this aspect is majorly driven by decentralization, it is the critical need of free platforms that make it a separate proposition.

With rising surveillance and theft issues affecting the overall performance and idea of online shopping and exchange, blockchain offers respite from these anomalies through decentralization.

Consumers on these blockchain based platforms are no longer restricted or controlled by any particular authority. They are in full control of their assets and have the sole right to decide what they wish to do with these assets. Users on these platforms manage and exchange their assets with complete control over their finances. Platforms like Aora, Colu, and Virie etc. are unique global exchange marketplaces and blockchain based platforms that are revolutionizing cross-border payments and shopping.

For instance, Aora lets users from anywhere in the world buy commodities from US and China based retailers using cryptocurrencies.

Virie offers multi-currency exchanges and offers users the liberty to choose how they wish to transact and pay. Users are free to choose from a list of various fiat as well as virtual currencies and the transactions are completely anonymous.

All the above examples and propositions highlight why and how blockchain technology is gaining unprecedented acceptance as more and more enterprises look forward to adapt and adopt this newfound marvel. Decentralization and security are major aspects that make blockchain worthy of a high-risk ecosystem. Blockchain implementation will not only offer immutability but also make these platforms trustworthy and effective.

Blockchain technology thus makes a strong use case in the e-commerce industry and will revolutionize the way we know online shopping in years ahead.

An Avid Reader, Traveler, and Blockchain Enthusiast. A believer in decentralized digitization and innovation