There continues to be a buzz amongst technology departments and technology service providers, on the powers of Blockchain.
Although many - myself included - talk about about the potential of this technology there still seems to be a lack of killer applications built on it (excluding its use to underpin Bitcoin and similar digital currency transactions). In industries that have large transaction volumes, across multiple parties, regarding multiple assets - like insurance - this technology and the use of distributed ledgers has the potential to be a game changer by improving the speed, cost, quality and transparency of business conducted in the market.
On reflection, it feels the challenge for using this rather clever and powerful technology is not related to whether or not it has an application. Instead, I believe the real limitation is a common understanding of what it does in simple (non-technical) terms so we can recognise the opportunities for its application as we come across them in a personal and professional lives.
This article by Thierry Derungs strips back the technology and through the use of a simple playground analogy (marbles) explains the concepts of distributed ledgers beautifully, which in turn illustrates the benefits (and hopefully conceptual application) of a secure, trusted, scaleable and digital platform to manage those distributed ledgers... enter Blockchain.
While preparing one particular presentation for senior managers around our new technology projects, I found a marvelous comic strip to illustrate blockchain. It shows the manager coming to his CTO to request blockchain. Wondering if he understands the subject or is just repeating something he heard, the CTO asks him which colour he wants for his blockchain. Guess what, the manager replies…? “Mauve”. Through this joke (I love it), I just realized that indeed most people do not know what (exactly) blockchain is, or are confused (mixing bitcoin and blockchain), or they’re just plain wrong. There are many papers available but they are often too simple (and miss too many concepts) or too technical. You have no tech background but wonder why on Earth your IT team is so thrilled and excited about blockchain?