Blockchain, Unchained: 5 Key Use Cases

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To achieve success with blockchain, PwC advises proponents to focus on collaboration beyond the walls of their enterprises.

Blockchain adoption is on the rise. “Serious activity around blockchain is cutting through every industry across the globe right now,” says Steve Davies, partner and blockchain leader for PwC UK. “It’s driven by an acute need to win trust in the digital world. Businesses are rethinking their operations and are discovering not only is blockchain technology key to delivering trust, but it’s an opportunity open to all.”

See also: How Companies are Using Blockchain to Transform Business

Davies summed up the findings of PwC’s latest report on blockchain in business, which estimates the technology ultimately boosting the global gross domestic product by $1.76 trillion over the next decade. Its applications extend well beyond cryptocurrencies, streamlining processes “by consolidating records, automatically, online. This spells an end to inefficient paper trails, reducing the related risk of manual error and oversight, and the reputational damage that can follow.”

The PwC report identified the five key use cases for blockchain:

Provenance: “Blockchain has enormous potential to help organizations verify the sources of their goods and track their movement at every step, strengthening transparency in any supply chain,” the report states. “Fraud, contaminations, or counterfeits can be pinpointed immediately, ensuring customer safety and enhancing efforts to be socially and ethically responsible.”

Payments and financial instruments: “Central Banks around the world have been exploring how blockchain can improve their nation’s payments infrastructure through central bank‑issued digital currencies.” Wholesale digital currencies “can facilitate more efficient clearing operations between central banks and their member banks, while retail digital currencies would effectively be the equivalent of a bank note, in digital form, for public use.”

Identity: “Blockchain can safeguard valuable personal credentials online, from personal identification, such as driving licenses, to professional credentials and certificates, bringing vast cost efficiencies and helping to curb fraud and identity theft.”

Contracts and dispute resolution: “Blockchain holds great promise in the realm of contracts and dispute resolution. The technology can bring together ledgers, contracts, and payments, improving the flow of commercial agreements and flagging any disputes.”

Customer engagement: “Blockchain can breathe new life into traditional, card-based loyalty and reward programs. The technology can boost engagement through integration with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms such as Salesforce, HubSpot CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and generate more value by making them more user-friendly for smartphone users.”

To achieve success with blockchain, PwC advises proponents to focus on collaboration beyond the walls of their enterprises. “There’s little value in an organization building a blockchain solution for internal use. For blockchain to reach its full potential, organizations must collaborate. The beauty of blockchain is it facilitates trust between organizations, allowing peer-to-peer exchanges that cut out the intermediary.”

The PwC report urges organizations to “come together to create an industry approach. The key is to get clear on what you stand for as an organization, or industry, and look for areas where you might be struggling to prove it with verifying data. Look to turn conversations into partnership investments that incentivize and engage end-to-end organizations.”


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About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor. He is a regular contributor to Forbes on digital, cloud and Big Data topics. He served on the organizing committee for the recent IEEE International Conference on Edge Computing (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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