What Does Blockchain Mean for Your Business?

Morgan Phipps
by Morgan Phipps 23 Jan, 2018

"Three years ago, I stood up in front of an audience for the opening keynote speech at Bitcoin 2014, in Amsterdam, and told the world that the main event of Bitcoin is not Bitcoin, it is the Blockchain, and it would change the world. . ."

- Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com

No matter if you're a diehard proponent like John MacAfee or if you think that things, ". . . will come to a bad ending," like Warren Buffet recently proclaimed, no one can deny that cryptocurrency - particularly Bitcoin - is one of the hottest topics in the world right now.

And yes, the discussion is still divisive among individuals and organizations; much as it always has been.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan has called Bitcoin an outright "fraud." A former managing director at that same firm, Blythe Masters, is now one of Bitcoin's top investors. Mark Cuban formerly called the surge in crypto popularity is nothing more than, "a bubble;" though, these days he seems to be changing his tune.

What is clear, however, is that no matter which side of the fence folks fall on, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that underpins them is being widely discussed by major organizations the world over. Blockchain is a game changer, but how far will the reach extend?
Crypto Hits the Mainstream

Recent data from Sentieo, a cutting-edge financial data platform, indicates that terms such as "cryptocurrency," "Bitcoin," "blockchain," "ICO," and a variety of other related keywords have seen a meteoric rise in corporate communications over the past several years.

Mentions of cryptocurrency-focused phrases in corporate transmissions sent in 2017 doubled the levels reached in the previous year. Since 2010, these words have increased by more than 7,000 percent.

What's worth noting, however, is that Sentieo's data reveals that only about 20 percent of the S&P 500 and a mere 65 placeholders on 2017's Fortune 500 companies are amidst the 1,200 organizations discussing the crypto industry. Among those most rigorously opening dialogues around the topic is financial and information technology organizations.

Many of these crypto jargon mentions, particularly when it comes to large financial firms, have merely been brought up to reject or shine a light of distrust on the matter.

Many consider these negative comments as attempts at dismissing or discrediting a technology that threatens the financial sector's very existence.

Sentieo's data, however, is not the last word, as there has been somewhat conflicting data emerging online.

The Other Side of Bitcoin

According to a recent study from Juniper Research, over half of the planet's largest corporations (those defined as possessing 20,000 employees or more) are ". . . either actively considering, or are in the process of, deploying blockchain technology."

The report also details that the two thirds of corporations gaining interest in pursuing the technology expect it to be integrated into the company's systems by the end of this year.

As the report states, ". . . It is clear that companies across the board have a significantly greater understanding of blockchain technology than was the case 12 months ago. . . This stems in part from a surge in R&D (research and development) both internally and in partnership with third parties, with a recognition that blockchain has the potential to be deployed in a variety of use cases."

The report goes on to proclaim that, ". . . As the number of [blockchain] research projects has increased, so too has awareness, both amongst the participants and elsewhere in their industries, with competitor companies in turn beginning to consider whether they too should seek to gain competitive advantage from deployment."

This research seems to fall more in alignment with recent events over at IBM.

Blockchain in Business

In June 2017, IBM was chosen by a "consortium" of Europe's biggest financial institutions to create a blockchain-based trade finance platform. Those who elected IBM to spearhead the undertaking include HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Rabobank, Unicredit, KBC, Natixis and Societe Generale.

This event officially marks first time blockchain has been entered mainstream dealings for major financiers. Moreover, the fact that IBM - a company that is more than 100 years old - is willing to invest as much of its resources into blockchain technology shows exactly how close this tech is to emerging into general corporate acceptance; a far cry from something originally associated with drug-dealing criminals housed by the dark Web.

While this event appears to be great news for the blockchain industry, it is worth discussing that a Juniper Research blockchain specialist, Windsor Holden, did note that many organizations who are exploring blockchain might be getting more than they bargain for:

"In many cases, systemic change, rather than technological, might be a better and cheaper solution than blockchain, which could potentially cause significant internal and external disruption."

While some are concerned about the disruption blockchain may cause, others see this as a natural byproduct of progress. If the cryptocurrency and blockchain-fueled future continues its avant-garde march, a tsunami of innovation will be unleashed; and many of today's more rigid corporate and societal structures will likely be sucked into the undertow.

About the Author
Morgan Phipps is the co-founder and COO of Wizebit. Morgan has worked with startups and Fortune 500 companies alike, helping them to achieve measurable results. After discovering blockchain technology and uses, Morgan helped conceive and develop WizeBit, a technology company that ensures user privacy by leveraging security biometrics, blockchain and artificial intelligence.