Blockchain Permeates Our Lives and Is Here to Stay

How far ahead is the application of the technology driving cryptocurrencies?

by Kyzmoff
16 May • 2 min
In Tech
Blockchain, the decentralized, open-source ledger that powers cryptocurrencies, is this year's buzzword as hardly a day goes by without the announcement of the next blockchain project that would revolutionize entire industries and change our lives. Cutting though the vaunt how far ahead are the tech giants in the implementation of blockchain technology?

Facebook flirts with decentralization

Facebook's recent struggle with data security seemed the perfect opportunity for the tech behemoth to explore the blockchain technology. For the social media, the fundamental issue they are currently battling is very well suited to the implementation of the blockchain, because it would allow for users to regain control over their data while locking down the whole information onto a private ledger. In addition to securing data, the technology could also help Facebook with its fake news problem and overseas-funded political ads by segregating non-native users from advertising in national elections. So it is a technology that fits very well with the current challenges of its business model that the social platform is facing.

IBM is way ahead with blockchain

While Facebook is just getting into the matter, IBM is already a leader in the blockchain services providers. The tech giant is already working on hundreds of chain projects with over 50 clients. One of which is Wallmart. The retailer is tracking the supply chain of vegetables and fruits it sells on a blockchain, allowing for preventive actions to be taken within hours, not in weeks or days. For example, when the recent romaine lettuce E.coli outbreak happened, Wallmart managed to get to the root of the problem quickly and do an "instant recall". The retailing giant was able to trace back its products to the contaminated area in seconds and immediately pull them from stores. Without the blockchain technology, it would have taken Wallmart days or even a week to counterreact and figure out what foods it needs to withdraw. And without knowing which exact products were compromised, the company could have been forced to dump its entire lettuce inventory. Instead, now Walmart is even emailing customers it believes purchased the bad product prior to the recall to warn them of the potential hazards.
IBM finds a potential for blockchain technology in the support of charity projects by tracking donations, where the money came from, what it was spent on and who received the resources. Through a partnership announced recently with Global Citizen, the tech firm plans to develop the decentralized network needed in a couple of months. Last month, IBM also announced that it is teaming up with a jewelry maker to put diamonds on a blockchain, to be able to trace back its origins and if it was ethically mined. This according to retailers would raise the value of diamonds in the eyes of the millennial consumer. 

Smart contracts could broaden blockchain applications

The blockchain alone solves many of the large corporations' data and security troubles, but when combined with the smart contract technology all sorts of applications surface. Smart contracts are simply automatically executed actions derived from a few lines of code. When combined with a smart oracle, a cool name for search functionality in the blockchain, all data needed for smart contracts to run becomes easily accessible and allows for certain unknowns to be explored without slowing the processes and happening simultaneously across the network.

While some are lagging behind others in experimenting with blockchains, it is certain that those who are now venturing into the nascent sector could be tomorrow's big winners.