CIOs have to experiment quickly with blockchain
Blockchain is a revolutionary technology. Blockchain is going to change everything. Blockchain is the new technical Messiah, it seems. Potentially, that is all true, because there is no digital technique that can establish mutual trust and digital transactions in the same way and that is why the impact on the business of the future can not be underestimated.
Research firm Gartner, however, predicted last year that the technology will be able to generate substantially increased operational risks in the next five years. That seems contradictory, but new systems are creating new challenges for companies and certainly the CIOs in a company must ensure that they basically know what they are talking about when blockchain is mentioned. Smith + Crown a group that investigates blockchain and its possibilities, has identified four ways that are a good starting point for anyone who wants to know more about the technology than ‘that it is in Bitcoin sits’.
Blockchain as a service
Amazon and Microsoft already offer blockchain based services via Web Services and Azure. Both have a kind of sandbox in which you can easily build applications to see if they could be useful to your organization. It is a good testing ground for smelling technology, but it is a clear first step: if you want to get serious with blockchain, you will soon run into the limitations of this method.
Public blockchain platforms
If you have decided that blockchain could work, you can use these public platforms and applications. They are all open, so it’s easy to let everyone use your application without having to have your own network open to outsiders. Not intended for the longer term, because you also have to pay for each transaction to maintain the distributed platform.
Open Source platform
If you have your own servers you can use an open source project as a basis with a bit of know-how and make your own thing by tweaking the code of that open source project code. If you want to use blockchain for authentication this is an ideal method, but even if you want to use it as proof of cooperation this is a great way.
This is the last stage of your exploration, and certainly not the one to start with. Building your own blockchain is not easy, especially since you can not build on the intelligence of your community. It will take longer, because if there are bugs in the code (and there are almost always, no matter how good your programmers are), it takes longer to locate them. The advantage, of course, is that you get exactly the blockchain you need: if you can fully determine the protocol yourself, the technology logically focuses precisely on the issue that it could solve for you.
Blockchain is ultimately a data solution and then – depending on how much data comes into the blockchain – you also have to ensure that you choose the right architecture. Is your blockchain publicly accessible or is it decided? Do you need a lot of processing power to keep the data decentral enough? Variations were, and as is often the case, you have to look at the long term to see who and what is left in this new technological development. As long as you have an idea of what the impact of blockchain could be, you are in any case on the right track.