The blockchain has the potential to impact your business in a number of different ways and in varying degrees. Here is a quick overview of key benefits of blockchain technology:
- Time Savings: Right now the time it takes to process financial transactions can take anywhere from hours to days or longer. Working on the blockchain makes financial transaction instantaneous. Similarly, transaction reconciliation and auditing are very time consuming but these processes can be considerably streamlined with blockchain technology. There is also time savings from only having to input data one time in one place for all stakeholders to see as opposed to all parties repeating this task in their own databases.
- Security: Thanks to blockchain's strong cryptographic roots that cannot be reverse-engineered, information on the blockchain is the safest form of digital information. This heightened level of encryption makes information on the blockchain far safer than information in a shared database.
- Continuity (does not rely on a single entity): Unlike a lot of business transactions which may require a bank or another centralized entity that may or may not be in business ten years from now, business on the blockchain provides greater business continuity as thousands of copies of transactions exist digitally for eternity as long as your company keeps its blockchain active and operational.
- Transparency: Depending on how you set up your blockchain, information about your business transactions can be made transparent to the general public or to just those you are working with for a specific project or deal. This specific degree of transparency allows for better communication between partners as they all see the same information at the same time.
- Immutability: If your business or industry has to deal with shady characters who change the rules of a deal or the numbers involved, the blockchain has an answer for you: immutability. Immutability means that data on the blockchain cannot be changed. Once information is on the blockchain it is there for good and cannot be corrupted by a rogue or bad actor. In the rare occurrence that erroneous information does get on the blockchain, it can be addressed by all members of the chain agreeing to making a change.
- Accountability: Thanks to consensus algorithms and the blockchain's immutability it is easier for business partners who are putting their information and transactions on the blockchain to be accountable to each other as there are less ways to game the system or be less transparent.
- Privacy: There has been some misconception about the privacy feature of the blockchain. Unless your company uses a private blockchain such as Zcash and Monero where transactions are private and untraceable or is part of a permissioned blockchain where participants are given strict data permission access, your business transactions will be public. However, the fact that your transactions are not private doesn't mean that your data can be decrypted or your physical identity be revealed. Enterprise blockchain platforms offer various levels of privacy depending on the industries and use cases that they serve.
- Trustless Environment: One of the hardest parts of doing business is trusting that your business partners will hold up their end of the deal. That they won’t change the rules or reneg on a deal at the last moment. Thanks to the blockchain’s consensus algorithms, if all participants trust in the process of how information is stored, approved, and shared, then all participants can trust the validity of the transactions. This weeds out bad actors and provides for a more conducive environment to do business between groups that traditionally counted on spending time building relationships between parties before doing business.
- Flexible and programmable: One of the most powerful functionalities of blockchain technology is the ability to write smart contracts using an existing blockchain such as Ethereum. Smart contracts are programmable and can be fully customized to align with your business logic, whether it is simple or complex. Also, unlike database programs such as Excel that cannot be changed or customized, custom enterprise blockchains can be created to fit the needs of your business and those you do business with. Blockchain programmers and consultants can build your business blockchain from the ground up.
- Execution Certainty: When it comes time to execute a contract in real life all manner of things can go wrong. One party doesn’t pay on time, they don’t pay in full, they don’t pay at all, or you have to call in a mediator or attorney to settle the dispute. Self-executing smart contracts on the blockchain avoid these issues by automating the processing of transactions to keep your business moving. Smart contracts are a way to digitize tedious middlemen situations while at the same time making the job of arbitrators and lawyers easier when necessary.