A Mega Movement in the Making
There's a lot of buzz around Blockchain, you all have been part of all those blogs, talks, and articles that are floating around. There are various schools of thought vouching for this as the next disruptive force that will transform the way we transact.
Remember the movement around 'digital transformation' that started a while ago and redefined several paradigms? It changed the way we shopped, traveled, transacted, communicated, and ran our daily functions. Several B2C and B2B businesses like Lyft, Instacart, Zoom, and others led this disruption in their way, fundamentally changing the way we lived.
And of course, this mega transformation movement was supported by other complementing technology forces such as AI, ML, IoT, etc., which enabled businesses to provide intelligently, connected and secure digital experiences.
Why is Everyone Talking About Blockchain?
Because trust is a difficult problem to solve. If a technology force can take care of this in transactions with a fool-proof mechanism, then we've crossed an enormous chasm. Blockchain as the same refers to is based on building blocks of data, chaining them, and locking them with what is called a hash. This tamper-proof data then becomes an essential source of reference for transactions going forward. So you don’t have to worry about whether you can trust the system to give you the right information – you can rely on the data that now lives in the Blockchain!
In the consumer world, if you got an orange from a grocery store and wanted to track its origins – where it was picked from originally, what processes did it go through before it got to the store, and is it safe for you to consume it, you will now be able to track this using the Blockchain technology.
Let’s take a few other examples from the enterprise world. In financial services, for instance, Blockchain technology can be used to reduce the time for a reconciliation of ledgers and accounts by creating a ‘single source of truth’ and granting access to all parties. In healthcare, providers, regulators, and agencies can now use Blockchain to maintain patient records a lot more securely.
This can also help insurance companies improve transaction monitoring and suspicious activities investigation. The retail supply chain and manufacturers are using Blockchain to record the movement of branded goods from manufacturing and delivery hubs to POS. This would help to increase the authenticity and correct any counterfeit flows.
These are only a few examples, and as you can see already, Blockchain has found its value in pretty much every domain.
The Blockchain Ecosystem and Mechanics
Blockchain solutions cannot be built and agreed to in isolation. There will be a need for an ‘ecosystem-based approach’ where forces like the government, the consortiums, the regulators, and the technology providers can all collaborate on best practices and technology advancements to create an optimal solution. Support from regulating agencies and the government is essential for highly regulated industries like finance and healthcare.
Technology vendors will play a key role in creating and deploying innovative solutions around Blockchain. They will also be able to combine the power of already existing technology solutions and extend them to Blockchain.
Consortiums like the Hyperledger Fabric will be very critical. These consortiums will bring the industry collaborators, technology providers, and government on a unified platform to drive business innovation, especially required for regulated industries.
Regulators and agencies such as banks and the government will become essential to define some strict rules around sharing of information, record-keeping, overall data management and policing.
And now, on to the mechanics of how Blockchain works? There are several videos around this, but I’ll try to explain it very simply. There are four essential elements to the Blockchain technology.
Every Blockchain application whether on-premise or SaaS will connect with these ‘systems of engagement’ via a REST API layer. And these systems will then do the magic of creating secure records based on market conditions and fairness. These records can then be stored and shared for specific business outcomes.
Oracle Blockchain Solution
Oracle just announced its own Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service (BCS) at Oracle OpenWorld 2017. Oracle’s Blockchain Cloud Service(BCS) is an enterprise-grade distributed ledger based platform designed to extend and scale ERP, SCM and SaaS and on-premise applications. It is designed to perform secure and scalable peer-to-peer transactions across a trusted network with tamperproof data.
Oracle has partnered with the Hyperledger Project (www.hyperledger.org), a consortium focused on private (or permissioned) Blockchain-based distributed ledgers and solutions across a variety of use cases and industries. Hyperledger Fabric is an open source code base, managed as a project of the Linux Foundation.
The Hyperledger supported solutions are also designed to run smart contracts through a combination of a modular architecture and consensus protocols. Oracle has also partnered with leading systems integrators and partners to deliver complete Blockchain solutions.
For more information on the benefits of Oracle’s Blockchain Platform visit https://www.oracle.com/blockchain.