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Enterprise Blockchain: A Vision For 2025

Most global enterprises are still seeking ways to apply blockchain concepts to their industry. The concept of “permissioned” or “administered”

Blockchain and distributed ledger systems have not been immediately transforming our markets and monopolistic tendencies, by so-called revolutionary innovations. However, we are talking about a certain paradigm shift about distributed technology that operates without any centralized control, and digesting the ideas and implications of this takes a while for the world.

Blockchain tech surfaced as a means of creating fully decentralized ledgers with any external respondents wanting to join the network being granted access. The overwhelming popularity of Bitcoin’s apparently paradoxical kick-started efforts to implement blockchains in the enterprise network, an ecosystem that is generally isolated from the outside world and does not provide free access to anyone who wants to look into it.

Most global enterprises are still seeking ways to apply blockchain concepts to their industry. The concept of “permissioned” or “administered” blockchains, a logical first step that originated a few years ago, is gradually finding its way into the modern world, with solutions in the production stage. After years of prototyping, we now see live implementations.

What is the role of blockchains in enterprises?

First off, a quick primer on permissioned blockchains.

Potential business applications will be able to operate on open blockchains in the (ideally not very far away) future. Sadly, they can not provide the level of protection, assurance, and secrecy required by large enterprise-grade implementations right now. Approved blockchains tend to be a natural choice if you want to mix business with blockchain — if there’s an entity who governs network access and handles the positions of the members in the network, things get much easier.

The administrator provides security protections, and the data architecture of the blockchain can be used to coordinate the data between members in the network. To businesses, this is huge. Almost crucial. Sensitive data and information can be easily transferred without risk of exposure. Imagine an insurance company wanting to share patient records with medical professionals. Without a permissioned blockchain, it’d certainly be harder to ensure appropriate access to this data.

Blockchain tech is increasingly becoming a framework for data sharing, which works faster than those that existed prior to it (such as, for example, Paxos). The explanation for this is that the blockchain framework grows proportionally to the number of members involved in it since data synchronization is made by means of similar transaction logs (blocks) that are shared between network entities.

In older methods, nodes had to vote on agreed data basically, and that implies a direct one-on-one correspondence between both the nodes, which corresponds proportionally to the amount of squared nodes. Linear scaling works even easier if you have a number of members; with just several hundred nodes, Paxos gets into optimization problems.

Is this all that blockchain technology brings to closed enterprise networks?

From a technical perspective, this may be the most critical aspect, but let’s not ignore that behind distributed ledger software lies a massive ideological shift. Often it seems that the concepts brought by Bitcoin, including Bitcoin itself, are more essential than any substantive realizations of them.

Now we can learn about essentially different architectures; of synergetic combinations with varying technologies operating on a framework of the blockchain. We can bring a fresh degree of transparency to enterprise applications; they may include entities that do not accept each other in particular and are obliged to follow the restrictions imposed on them by the system’s hierarchical architecture.

You can’t just cook the books and compromise sensitive information that is distributed in cryptographically-chained pieces throughout the network and exchanged by network members.

Could these frameworks have come to light before blockchain?

Sure, undoubtedly. It’s just that we have only now recognized their true intent and position. Blockchain brings us motivation and a drive to challenge decades-old architecture and bring new types to corporate IT systems.

But in an enterprise environment per se, blockchain still doesn’t make too much sense; it can not really just “attach” it to a current application in a way that makes any universal sense. Enterprise applications should only be built with distributed architecture in mind if they profit from it. Various concepts, such as IoT, Big Data and AI that are now central, should be integrated into a layer of blockchains.

In this situation, the application’s decentralized nature acts as a kind of cement that ties together different technologies, giving them a fresh, integrated sense.

What is Hyperledger?

Hyperledger is a joint effort, managed by The Linux Foundation, developed to promote blockchain technology by defining and solving important characteristics of a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) that will revolutionize the way financial transactions are performed worldwide. It includes multiple ventures.

Since Hyperledger and its underlying platforms concentrate on the blockchain industry and are known as one of the founders or front-runners in those projects (instead of concentrating on cryptocurrencies), this is a landmark moment as the technological leadership of Hyperledger Fabric has decided it is now ready for commercial implementations. After months of updates about POCs and pilots, we will now also see commercial launches emerging.

Enterprise Blockchain: Potential Applications

1. Supply Chain Safety and Traceability

How far enough can you find where your home food products came from? Tracing the sources of their nutrition for many people contributes to the local grocery store but not much else. However, with the risk of food epidemics, blockchain could offer a new level of security and quality control in the food supply chain for businesses and consumers alike.

2. Patient Health Data

The framework for the blockchain might just be the treatment the doctor recommended. With this system, patient information would be maintained on a distributed ledger where patients have access to specific doctors, nurses, or other medical providers for access to their medical information. This could spell the end of large archives or bins filled with health records and more accurate and secure data on patient health.

3. Reimagined Loyalty Programs

Having a poor scheme of incentives is a wasted opportunity for businesses. The blockchain could streamline systems with complicated incentives with its distributed ledger. Brands could adjust customer incentives in real time depending on their purchasing habits through blockchain-enabled loyalty programs — creating a truly loyal buyer in the process.

The current market value of the blockchain market is close to $3 billion. by 2025 it is projected that the enterprise blockchain market will hit a volume of $20 billion. There’s no doubt, the potential underlying blockchain technology is significant enough that it can be carried over and applied to different dimensions. As I always conclude about my posts on blockchains — exciting times ahead!

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Dr Vin Menon

Dr Vin Menon

A blockchain enthusiast and entrepreneur’s musings on the next big revolution since the Internet.

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