Today, a number of frictions such as participants of a transaction not having access to the same information or the high price of intermediaries add costs and complexity that drags on global business and trade. Blockchain technology, which creates a permanent and transparent record of transactions will reduce or eliminate these frictions, recasting our institutions and economy in new form with far greater efficiency and far less risk, finds the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study, “Fast forward: Rethinking Enterprises, Ecosystems and Economies with Blockchains.”
Distributed ledgers will become the foundation of a robust system of trust — a decentralized platform for massive collaboration. The study predicts that by using blockchain technology the enterprise can:
- Overcome complexity to scale freely.
- Integrate vertically or laterally across a network or ecosystem, or both.
- Be small and transact with super efficiency.
- Be a coalition of individuals that come together briefly.
- Operate autonomously and as part of a self-governing, cognitive network.
As a result, blockchains will enable profound economic progress enjoyed and driven by a greater number of individuals and organizations. New services delivered on blockchain networks will accelerate access and liberate those that were once locked out of efficient value creation to fully participate in an “all-in” economy.
The study contains the following guidance for businesses looking to get started utilizing blockchain:
- Identify frictions that are holding back your enterprise and experiment in discrete areas where the attributes of blockchains drive rapid impact.
- Explore the role of alliances in making blockchains scalable, open and interoperable.
- As business models are disrupted by blockchains, think through how you can make money in new ways.
- Understand how blockchains will extract further value from other technologies, such as big data analytics, the Internet of Things and cognitive computing.
IBM is actively working with hundreds of clients to understand what it takes to make blockchain ready for business. Through its open source contributions and resources for blockchain software developers, IBM is advancing the science of blockchain, helping to remove complexity, and making it more accessible and open. Financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare are some of the areas that are poised for dramatic change using blockchain networks.