One day, in an attempt to avoid the post-lunch slump, I popped out to buy a coffee. Wanting some fresh air I opted for the trendy coffee shop a little further down the road than my usual spot.
A quick glance at the menu almost prompted a mini heart attack (there were zeros everywhere). Upon further inspection I was surprised (and relieved) to see that the price of the coffee was quoted in Satoshis.
If, like me, you’re not familiar with Satoshis, they are 0.00000001 of a Bitcoin – the digital currency that everyone is talking about.
Intrigued, I decided to do some research to understand how bitcoin, or rather the system that facilitates it, works…
‘Blockchain’ is an internet technology that facilitates the exchange of value (Bitcoin) whilst simultaneously performs collective bookkeeping so that all transactions are verified across the network.
Imagine hundreds of thousand of computers around the world working as a collective brain, so that every time a transaction is made every single computer needs to agree before it can be approved.
Not only that, all of the bookkeeping is public and accessible to anyone on the network.
Because of this, people are calling it ‘a shared single source of truth’.
Besides the obvious benefits in security (it’s not unbreakable, but someone would have to hack every single data centre around the world at the same time to get through) there could be interesting offshoots that develop from this system.
Because Blockchain accurately records every data exchange, it could eradicate the need for blind trust. It could force people, businesses, governments even, to do what they say they will do.
This got me thinking…
Businesses spend time and resources building trust with their customers, because it’s trust that coverts them to buyers or returning customers.
It doesn’t take a genius, however, to figure out that trust in key institutions — business, government, NGOs, and media — is waning. Brexit and Trump are by-products of a world fed-up with big institutions that don’t deliver on their promises.
This is where Blockchain could revolutionize the relationship between a business and its customers.
Blockchain, as a trusted intermediary, would act as a guarantor for businesses. Their values could be programmed into the chain so that they have to be adhered to.
For example, in Coca-Cola’s vision statement they promise to ‘Be a responsible citizen that makes a difference by helping build and support sustainable communities.’
That sounds great! But are they actually sticking to it? And what does ‘support’ actually mean?
By getting a little more specific, this promise could be coded into Blockchain as ‘X% of profits go towards helping build and support sustainable communities’.
And once it was in Blockchain, they would have to stick to it.
If a customer knew that any promise made by a business had to be adhered to, trust wouldn’t even be a factor when deciding whether or not to interact with them. Which would mean less time spent trying to convince a customer you will do what you say you will.
The current state of Blockchain is comparable to how the world felt about the internet in the mid 1990’s. Everyone knew it was going to change the world, they just didn’t know how.
While Blockchain as a guarantor is a concept that is a little way off existing in reality, companies needing to keep up with technological advances in order to stay relevant certainly isn’t.
With the fast-paced environment that we’re in, it’s vital to capitalize on new opportunities and exponential growth in the industry.
If you’d like to have a chat about how you can keep your firm up to date, get in touch.