Last year, we announced the inauguration of the Innovation Alliance, a coalition of blockchain organizations with the aim of helping to accelerate enterprise adoption of blockchain. Alongside us, the original Innovation Alliance comprises of members including Singaporean blockchain fund Signum Capital, Asian blockchain and cryptocurrency hedge fund FBG Capital, leading global strategy consulting firm Roland Berger, and founder of TechCrunch and Arrington XRP Capital, Michael Arrington.
Since the inauguration, the Innovation Alliance has also welcomed CertiK, a smart contract and blockchain verification platform, and Celer Network, a scalable off-chain platform for decentralized applications, and Republic, an SEC-licensed, FINRA regulated crowdfunding platform, also joined the Innovation Alliance in July 2018.
Blockchain technology offers vast potential in various business applications including banking and trade finance, supply chain, healthcare, insurance and many more. Nevertheless, enterprise adoption of blockchain has not been widespread, leading some to criticize the value of the technology itself.
However, these criticisms have confounded experts. Leading research firm Gartner uses a “hype cycle” methodology to trace the evolutionary path of technology.
Gartner’s latest report on the state of blockchain in business shows that it will be another five to ten years before many enterprise use cases of blockchain reach the plateau of productivity. David Furlonger, the analyst who worked on the report, summarized the journey to enterprise adoption of blockchain with the statement: “This is not just a technology, this is a societal change.”
Therefore, it’s clear that if the true benefits of blockchain technology are to be realized, the blockchain community has a responsibility to help remove the barriers to adoption. This is the goal of the Innovation Alliance.
So, what are these barriers, and how is the Innovation Alliance working to break them down?
Blockchain is still a relatively nascent technology, and as such it has taken some time to develop platforms that overcome issues that are fundamental for business use, including scalability and security. Many public blockchain platforms have failed to meet business needs including confidentiality of data and fast transaction speed, even during periods of high throughput. Furthermore, high-profile incidents such as The DAO hack have led to an hesitation in adopting blockchain as a viable business technology.
The aelf platform is addressing some of these issues with our interoperable side chains, which can be customized for particular types of smart contracts to meet specific business needs. In addition, Innovation Alliance members like CertiK and Celer Network work to provide enterprises with an assurance of robust code testing and smart contract validation. By working together to ensure that blockchain solutions are secure, scalable and reliable, the Innovation Alliance helps businesses implement blockchain solutions that have the potential for both efficiency gains and competitive edge.
While there is a wealth of information available on the internet covering blockchain and its potential, this can often be a hindrance as much as a help. Founders, CEOs, and CIOs are usually balancing a busy agenda and may be wearing multiple hats. Therefore, disseminating dozens of articles can be overwhelming, and attending a course covering the technology in abstract takes time without necessarily providing a clear solution within the context of the individual’s own business scenario.
Each member of the Innovation Alliance has a vast amount of expertise within the blockchain space. Each organization within the alliance is comprised of people from various backgrounds, allowing business leaders can benefit from our real-world experiences. Furthermore, working with the Innovation Alliance means finding blockchain solutions that are viable with the specific context of the business itself, rather than general hypothetical use cases.
Through the network aelf has built with these partners and other organizations, we have conducted multiple crucial meetings across the globe. As a result, we have been able to bring the aelf project to the attention of many key people and corporations, such as leading Chinese and Singaporean internet companies and conglomerates as well as promising start-ups across the globe, paving the way for many future collaborations.
Some of the most-cited cases of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies implemented in businesses are globally recognized brands. Walmart has worked with IBM in the development of a customized solution for tracking fresh produce, and IBM also partnered with Maersk on the Tradelens platform for logging shipping data. These are large-scale implementations by multinational companies, which undoubtedly required a significant financial investment on the part of the firms involved.
It’s true that these case studies help the reputation of bockchain for providing viable business solutions. However, the idea that ‘implementing blockchain involves developing proprietary software’ is likely to be off-putting for many business leaders who would rightly perceive that such development would be a costly exercise.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Aelf is a customizable platform that doesn’t require starting from scratch. Furthermore, the Innovation Alliance welcomed open investment platform Republic due to its potential to help level the playing field for smaller businesses looking to incorporate blockchain solutions. Republic is SEC-licensed and FINRA-approved, meaning companies are assured of responsible fundraising and qualified investment counsel from the alliance.
By opening up fundraising and blockchain functionality to a broader base of business users, the Innovation Alliance aims to remove financial barriers to blockchain adoption for enterprises.
When a business has established satisfactory processes and strategies, there can be a reluctance to embrace change. Blockchain has the potential to fundamentally change the way that we interact with one another through features like smart contracts. Harvard Business Review points out that when such a technology emerges, it can take decades for full adoption to occur, as in the case of TCP/IP technology which was developed years before businesses started using the internet for communications.
Therefore, the Innovation Alliance aims to ensure that business leaders are aware of the benefits that blockchain can bring. We will achieve this by building a community that’s open to sharing success stories and learning from the process of overcoming obstacles.
By working together to overcome each of these barriers — technological, educational, financial and mindset — the Innovation Alliance will play a crucial role in accelerating blockchain adoption by enterprises. Business leaders wondering how to incorporate blockchain can rest assured that they have access to a team of experts who can help them through each step of the journey to realizing the true benefits of the technology.
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