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2 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Blockchain applications in business—the next big disruptive game changer

If the history of a transaction or instrument is incorruptible and available to all relevant parties there is no need for third party vouch
Kamrul Arefin
Blockchain applications in business—the next big disruptive game changer

Anyone who thinks blockchain is all about cryptocurrencies is actually undermining its true potential. Blockchain application can be far more robust in businesses than cryptocurrencies and make things transparent, democratic, decentralised, efficient and secure. For business, it enables you to exchange anything of value, tangible like a car or house, intangible like a patent or copyright or any kind of document. The approved consensus network allows participant access to data relevant to them. Smart contract business logic embedded into the network can reduce any dispute and increase trust, has potential to remove any third party or intermediary cost. The endorsement inside the network allows participants to select who verifies transactions. A blockchain ledger can create a tamper-resistant record when information needs to be shared among business partners without setting up a costly centralised IT infrastructure. The true beauty of it lies in its no dependency on intermediary or third party. And where there is no use of a middleman. From financial industry to fish market everywhere middleman is taking a big chunk of business and processing time. Blockchain has the potential to disrupt the entire ecology of middleman. If the history of a transaction or instrument is incorruptible and available to all relevant parties there is no need for third party vouch. Blockchain can cut out the cost of middleman, take place of the middleman with faster processing, reliability, accuracy and tamper proof technology.

Such as in case of supply chain, blockchain offers all parties in the network a synchronised ledger of transactions with time-stamping and hashing that is transparent, immutable and easy to track. One can trace the path of product from raw material up to finished good with exceptional security and transparency. This can be exemplified by car dealership business. A car dealership business involves many parties: regulator, manufacturer, banks, shipping and customs, distributor, customer, recycling and scrap merchant. Imagine a world where every participant in this network can access, share, monitor and analyse consistent and updated information facilitated by consensus network, irrespective of where the vehicle is in its life cycle. Using this distributed ledger data it is possible to reduce the processing time into minutes instead of days and cut down overhead costs associated with intermediaries. For another example if we consider the supply chain network of coffee, we will find farmers, traders, shippers and insurers. The network and parties implied is so much complex that it is nearly impossible to track where your coffee was actually made. Using blockchain a consumer can track the journey of his coffee irrespective of whether it's from Brazil, India or Indonesia even from the point when your farmer has planted the seed. Linux foundation Hyper ledger is an open source collaborative effort by big companies like Airbus, IBM, Intel, J.P.Morgan and more than 100 others to advance cross industry blockchain technologies. One of its modular blockchain suite Hyperledger Sawtooth can facilitate a restaurant owner to know when a fish she bought was caught, at which temperature it was stored, how much time has elapsed between catching and cooking!

 Not only supply chain, it has the power to disrupt numerous other industries we see around us today. Blockchain can immediately cut costs and increase efficiency for those wiring money internationally by sidestepping the intermediaries. The technology with smart contract can be used to develop decentralised peer-to-peer ride sharing app allowing both car owner and rider to organise terms and conditions in a secured way without third party providers like Uber. In healthcare industry this system can help hospitals safely store medical records and share them with authorised doctors, patients and insurance companies. This will enhance data security and help to improve accuracy of diagnosis. The technology can be used for voter registration, verification and vote counting and to ensure that legitimate votes are counted without any corruption. Blockchain can create immutable, publicly view-able ledgers of recorded votes and voters. US regulators are reviewing decisions to listing the first bitcoin based exchange-traded fund. Dubai aims to be a city built on blockchain. European Union has set up an EU blockchain observatory with an estimated budget of EURO 500,000 to develop this expertise. Govcoin is a UK based company helping government to distribute public benefits using blockchain. The other potential industries this technology can disrupt are: cyber security, research analysis and forecasting, networking, internet of things (IOT), insurance, transport, cloud storage, accounting, tourism, social media, charity, energy management, online music, food, retailing, real estate, crowd funding and any other industry using data or transaction.      

For the consumers, blockchain future is brighter with more security, less cost and better experiences.  This can be the biggest game changer in the underdeveloped economy or low income countries. Take a farmer for example, by blockchain his proof of land ownership can be stored, shared and exchanged in a way that is significantly less costly, easily accessible and secure. It can contribute to financial inclusion by giving access to financial services to billions of unbanked people in third world countries.

The interest charged on the micro-finance loans have raised significantly and has become a major pain point for the unbanked. Here also blockchain can come into rescue. Such as, WeTrust has created a lending circle that would allow users to create rotating savings and credit associations on blockchain. This instrument can be used for underdeveloped country individuals to create blockchain powered credit score for lower interest rate. Humaniq combines blockchain and biometrics to create apps that allow users in third world countries to create token and exchange those tokens for local currencies in an app. Those without any formal identity could have opportunity to create a digital bio-identification straight from their smart phones. In case of charity, blockchain can help donors to track donations and can help donations to get where they are going. Bitgive built on distributed ledger lets donors to see whether their donation is going to the intended party's hand. Cryptocurrencies can improve lives by helping developing nations participate in global economy and escape from poverty. Blockchain based cryptocurrencies can more efficiently solve many problems specific to developing country nations like hyperinflation, poverty, lack of job, lack of access to bank and lack of access to capital.

In short blockchain is way bigger than you think it is at this moment. To be clear it not only manages trust it will eliminate the need of trust via intermediaries in today's business. It can be considered as one of the biggest things after internet!

The writer is working as a Financial Analyst at Reliance Brokerage

Services Limited

Can be reached at



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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