Over the past few years, the blockchain has eased its way into one of the most phenomenal buzz words of the 21st century, right up there with IoT and the cloud. The blockchain first became popularized in 2009 as the sturdy, public ledger that supported cryptocurrency transactions across the globe.
It has since become the framework that supports over 1,100 cryptocurrencies (and counting) with a market cap of over $100 billion and the thriving Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) crowdfunding platform that has helped startups raise over $2 billion in funding in 2017 alone.
Outside of cryptocurrencies and ICOs, blockchain technologies are proving to be an important facet of modern business operations, with distributed ledgers promising to provide businesses with the competitive edge they need to survive in evolving business environments.
Because of their distributed nature, blockchain platforms can help make transactions faster, cheaper, and more secure for businesses and their clients, which have a direct impact on productivity, operations, and overall profitability.
Check out some of the ways companies and other business organizations can benefit from the blockchain.
Improved Supply Chain Management
Transparency, compliance, and traceability are among the most important aspects of an efficient logistics and supply chain management system. Blockchain technologies leverage robust networks of businesses on the blockchain to help optimize transactions, which in turn enables managers to identify weak links in the chain and improve efficiency at different levels of the supply chain.
Additionally, because the blockchain is basically a shared ledger that is continuously monitored and validated within the network, businesses can monitor the condition, ownership, and location of an asset in real-time.
As a result, businesses can eliminate fraud, minimize courier costs, reduce delays associated with paperwork, and improve general inventory management.
Faster, Cheaper, and Safer Payment Processing
Credit cards, mobile payments, and other forms of digital payments have been a part of businesses transactions for a while now. However, many of them have not always been the cheapest or safest of payment methods, with some like digital bank transfers taking more than a few days to materialize.
On the other hand, blockchain technology provides a quick and safe platform for digital payments, which is partly the reason why Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have become extremely popular globally. The blockchain is virtually impenetrable and works without security patches, making it the most secure payment platform. Audits and payment verification are also easier within the blockchain.
Your customers can simply buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies online and transact with your business without worrying about losing their confidential information to hackers and other perpetrators of cybercrime.
Plus, you don’t even have to integrate specific blockchain technologies to enjoy the perks that come with the blockchain. There are tons of blockchain-powered payment processors in the market, including Cryptopay that lets your customers pay with cryptocurrencies even if your business doesn’t support digital currencies.
Improved Business Processes
One of the biggest qualities of the distributed blockchain ledger is its ability to maintain data in a transparent and simultaneous manner across multiple nodes on the network. This helps address issues of trust, data inconsistency, and lack of transparency within the network, traits that can be highly beneficial to businesses.
Smart contracts, another evolving area of the blockchain, can be used by businesses to improve most businesses processes for organizational efficiency. For instance, smart contracts can be used for sales contracts, invoicing, lease agreements, employment contracts, and other related processes that often depend on mutual trust and transparency.
Improved Customer Experience
Because blockchain technologies are based on a transparent and open ledger platform, customers have access to a wealth of information about the products and services that your company offers, which goes a long way in fostering trust and improving their experience on your platform.
Through the blockchain, customers can find information about the origin of their products, packaging, transport, and other crucial bits of information stored on blockchain-powered platforms, which helps increase customer experience.
Customers can also give real-time feedback and respond to queries via blockchain platforms, which contributes to efficiencies and improvements along the supply chain.
The blockchain promises to upend many facets of modern business operations across industries. This will be one of the biggest trends for businesses over the coming years, especially with as many as two-thirds of companies expecting to integrate blockchain technology before the end of 2018.
Blockchain technologies provide unlimited opportunities to businesses in almost all areas of business operations. However, success will depend on the nature of blockchain technology, applications, and partners that you chose to work with when integrating the blockchain.