Following a recent article published by IBM in its community, the blockchain features that mostly matter for B2B are:
- Irrevocability: There is an irrevocable trail (i.e., time-stamping) of all the transactions that have ever been made, which makes attempts at hacking or fraud unsuccessful.
- Title transfer: It allows property whose ownership is controlled via the Blockchain (i.e. physical property such as cars, phones or houses).
- Distributed: The ledger represents the truth because mass collaboration constantly reconciles, without having the need to trust because that’s built into the mechanism.
- Smart contracts: Perhaps the most relevant Blockchain feature, smart contracts are self-executing contractual states, stored on the Blockchain, which nobody controls and, therefore, everyone can trust. The code can control and restrict how the data is accessed and used.
A transfer of any ownership that requires exchange of informations or goods can be fully tracked by blockchain technology - that is useful in B2B - but also can prevent complexities with foreign payments, value-added taxes and the need to understand and apply specific Country laws, because all applicable rules can be pre-encripted into the crypto-code related to the transfer.
Personally, I think that irrevocability and time-stamp of all transactions (not only those that include a payment, but also messages, e-mails, exchange of certificates, etc.) will make a big difference, allowing to keep record of all changes, exchanges and agreement that happened with any contact.
Moving ahead, and again following IBM, Blockchain will provide a step ahead in transparency. Companies with strong ethics will take big advantages from blockchain clarity, whilst those who have not clear ethic principles can adapt or disappear. This is the future that is going to be written and is not only related to a simple transaction, but can include all intermediate steps, from the design to the procurement of raw materials to any production step.
I'm pretty sure that we are in the age of a great change, very similar to the 80's. I remember the first time I saw a personal computer (it was 1983, and the machine was an "Olivetti M20", an Italian brand now disappeared, but among the first to produce true computers in the World), and I had imagined some applications: databases, ticketing (and... who remembers how difficult was to buy a flight ticket in the 80's?), calculations, design...ok, these were fantasies of a teenager, but now we are in the same situation...
It would be interesting to open a discussion around the usage of this topic, who wants to test it, which true experiences have been already made.
Maurizio De Francesco
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