While Bitcoin has lost about 70% of its value from the insane bubble over the summer, blockchain remains a business buzzword.
But what does blockchain actually mean for you and your small business?
*Hint it’s not going to change everything.
In this article, I’ll discuss what blockchain is, why it is important to SMBs and how it can actually help your business right now.
What is Blockchain?
I’m going to dispense with all the technical mumbo-jumbo and reverence for the “platform” and just say it’s a digital ledger.
Well to be a little more accurate for the purposes of this article it’s a very secure, very transparent digital ledger that no one can mess with once it’s set up.
See not so painful or powerful now that you think about it like that right?
Why is blockchain important for SMBs?
And that’s good because while I don’t believe that blockchain is going to change EVERYTHING it can be a very useful tool for small and medium-sized businesses going forward because it allows you to have access to a better way to do things like creating contracts that are actually enforceable and beef up your security and privacy settings. Without having to spend a ton of cash.
How Can Your SMB Use Blockchain Starting Today?
- Smart Contracts. If you’ve ever dealt with vendors, contractors or any other kind of outside service providers you know that most contracts aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. It’s even worse if you’re dealing with a larger corporation with deep pockets who can actually afford lawyers if you decide to take them to court. With smart contracts powered by blockchain, once the contract is set up and approved by both parties it goes through automatically. The applications for smart contracts are almost limitless but two places where there has already been talk of adopting them is on freelancing platforms like Upwork and don’t snicker on Sugar Daddy Dating sites such as Seeking Arrangements.
- Notary Services. Blockchain provides the technology for anyone to become a notary quickly and inexpensively. The smartphone app Uproov can be notarized instantly after creating an image, video or sound recording. Other blockchain powered apps can be used to notarize digital production of music, video or otherwise pirated materials.
- Digital Identity Confirmation. Digital fraud and identity theft is big business and blockchain could potentially provide a low-cost high efficacy method for preventing both in your SMB. While most current identity confirmation systems use a combination of passwords and two-step verification with your cell phone, both of those options are infinitely less secure than using a blockchain powered solution which is based on irrefutable identity verification using digital signatures based on public key cryptography. Companies like SHocard are providing blockchain powered identity verification solutions for mobile devices already.
There are a few other solutions blockchain MIGHT be able to provide for other businesses depending on the model. For example blockchain, gift cards would be more secure and wouldn’t have those pesky expiration dates. But for the most part, this is the extent to which Blockchain can help your small or medium-sized business in 2018.
One thing you’ll notice one way to use blockchain I didn’t put down is taking and receiving payments and that’s because despite the protestations of the “cryptobros” you still can’t use blockchain to take or make payments except on really small websites that only exchange cryptocurrency. While there might be some value in using blockchain to provide secure money transfers and payment options unless there is the option to use established fiat currencies the technology is useless in this regard.
Anyway, hope that helps explain what blockchain is, why it’s important to SMBs and what it can actually do for your business today.
Thanks for reading,