As an avid proponent of new and innovative technology, Team Somos expanded their knowledge base recently by attending MIT Technology Review’s conference “The Business of Blockchain.” The one-day event examined the technology, ethics, and impact of blockchains and featured premier subject matter experts from IBM, Tezos, NYU, Harvard University, Medici Ventures, and more. The event allowed cross-functional teams from Somos to explore this emerging technology and better understand its advantages and drawbacks.
One of the most compelling takeaways from the event was the notion that there is no one blockchain. It is highly flexible and adaptable as each can be tweaked to achieve the objectives of its application. Likewise, blockchain capabilities are quickly becoming more accessible and actively utilized in the marketplace. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, IBM, and others are expanding their service offerings by promoting blockchain as a service in the cloud. One of the key benefits to blockchain that these major organizations have identified is that it is more cyber secure by design, with digital identity enhancement, audit logs, and a significantly lower forgery risk than other technologies and platforms.
A favorite session at the conference was presented by Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Platforms and Blockchain at IBM. In her session titled “Industry Impact: Trust and Transparency Through Enterprise-Ready Blockchain,” Bridget presented numerous practical and modern use cases of blockchain. She specifically noted how banks in Europe are using blockchain to help small and medium businesses share Letters of Credit, identification data, credit ratings, reducing export financing approval from months to a couple of days. In addition to financial service providers, consumer product companies such as Walmart, Unilever, Kroger and Nestle, are using blockchain to make food safe, including identifying the origin of products by digitizing world shipping in a more controlled supply chain.
While blockchain remains in its infancy, Team Somos was interested in seeing how market and regulatory forces are aligning to inspire major enterprises to roll it out in some early adopter applications. As with any new and emerging technology, we are excited to watch the evolution and maturation of blockchain.