Solving business issues with Blockchain Mindset

Waleed Siraj, Consultant

Demystifying Blockchain: Practical Insights for Business

Raise your hand, mentally, if you struggle to understand why Blockchain was part of the talk of the technology town but you’re still unclear on what it means to your business. And in spite of countless pilots (Retail – Carrefour Quality Line Auvergne chickens, Logistics, Finance, Insurance, Commerce) across countries and industries where POCs and business cases are shared, there’s still discomfort when it comes to knowing why blockchain is right, compared to what you have now.

Navigating Business Transformation: Addressing Key Questions

Well here’s the answer to a few of your questions:

What is it actually? A shared view of a series of data which empowers collaboration and exchange of value.

Why is this good? It ensures complete security, transparency and generates trust between those with access to these data, much quicker and with more accuracy than before.

Why is it different to what we have used until now? We have to rely on processes, companies, institutions, or sheer faith to trust in the data that is shared between parties. With blockchain the central idea is that the data is locked down and unchangable – in short you can trust the data.

Blockchain: Navigating the Hype and Emerging Opportunities

The reality is, back towards the end of the 20-teens, i.e. 2018-2020, there was a huge amount of buzz around blockchain. But even as of the most recent Gartner hype cycle around blockchain and web3, blockchain sits squarely in the trough of disillusionment, and is still on the downer. In truth, it is 5-10 years away from the plateau. But that said, there are now emerging some clear spaces for blockchain, and arguably things like carbon tracking and Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions presents some of the most relevant and compelling use cases for blockchain solutions in business.  Here are some examples:

  1. Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum leverage blockchain for decentralized, secure, and transparent transactions. Platforms that use tokenization also present relevant use cases. We run an internal training platform for a client that utilises their own internal training ‘currency’, rewarding staff for active engagement in training. .
  2. Supply Chain Management: Provenance Tracking using blockchain to trace the origin and journey of products, ensuring transparency and authenticity. This remains a primary use case, in spite of provenance and sourcing falling down the key drivers of customer intent (behind price and value).  Smart Contracts: Automating contractual agreements in the supply chain, triggering actions when predefined conditions are met.
  3. Financial Services: Cross-Border Payments: Improving the efficiency and reducing costs of cross-border transactions. Smart Contracts in Banking: Automating financial processes like loan approvals and trade settlements with smart contracts.
  4. Healthcare: Patient Data Management: Securely managing and sharing patient records and data. Progress is slow in this space, but the immutable characteristics of this technology appeal to the health sector. Also Drug Traceability: Ensuring the authenticity of pharmaceuticals by tracking their supply chain on the blockchain.
  5. Identity Management: Digital Identity: Providing individuals with more control over their personal data and ensuring secure identity verification.
  6. Scope 1,2, 3 tracking and calculations: As regulations tighten on the tracking, reporting, and reducing of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, the ability to robustly track actual emissions across the supply chain will become increasingly important. Blockchain presents a clear way ‘how’ this can be done.

Embracing Blockchain for Technological Transformation

There are other use cases, but in our work the above are the main areas of successful enterprise adoption. We will continue to stay updated on the latest developments in blockchain technology, as new use cases and applications continue to emerge.

What is next? The world is away with AI and generative AI at the moment. But perhaps this gives blockchain its biggest use case – to immutably lock in IP and ownership in a Generative AI space. It’s all ‘what if’ rather than ‘so what?, how? and when?’ It’s therefore not a surprise that leaders across industries are still piloting the technology across functions in order to decide where the opportunities and technological solutions are.

One of them was Heineken. In a Portera-led one-day Meetup, an inspirational team of Heineken leaders learned what blockchain is in a way all functions can fully comprehend. They then explored the implementation possibilities of the technology, looked deeply into current applications and learnings, and then identified clear next steps for action. This may sound a lot, and it is, but it is just the latest in a series of Portera Inspire events that Portera has been running.

Understanding and building a Blockchain plan for your business is an important journey all organisations should be undertaking.  Forming the right approach, test and learn the right way, and building the right capabilities are vital for companies today to be prepared for tomorrow.

For a conversation, please get in touch.