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Blockchain and the Future of Business

By: Jordan Matulevich, Senior Assistant Accountant

Imagine if you were able to go back in time and invest in the business Bill Gates was building in his parent’s garage. Well a moment of deja-vu is happening in technology again and it has the potential to alter the landscape of several industries in a similar way to what Gates’ company did and it all revolves around Blockchain.

So, what is this “Blockchain”? Blockchain is a program that produces a ledger system that follows a transaction from beginning to end without the ability for manipulation or alteration of data by unauthorized parties. Thus, Blockchain isn’t one company or one group trying to sell you a product, but a new way for businesses to increase efficiency in operations. One of the best parts about this new technology is any business can go out today and hire programmers to produce a Blockchain that is tailored to their specific purposes. Currently, large international businesses are developing their own Blockchain platforms to suit their business needs with the underlying characteristic being honesty. Businesses ranging from banks to international shipping companies are building Blockchains to cut costs and remove some of the fog of uncertainty around their operations.

Okay, so big banks and shipping companies are using Blockchain today, what does this have to do with the average small business looking to cut costs? Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize small business through removing human error and the costly surprise delays that arise when completing a business transaction.

Take for instance the home buying process: trying to keep track of phone calls with a real estate agent and emails with a bank creates the potential for delays due to missed deadlines or errors from someone forgetting to complete something. A Blockchain introduced into this process would act like a central hub between the three parties. The technology would allow the buyer, the agent, and the banker to build and amend a single continuous record showing the progress and open items around the transaction. What is drawing the attention of global businesses to Blockchain is the security and authenticity around this process.

Continuing with the example above, a Blockchain would operate by only granting access to a computer at the bank, the agent’s computer, and the buyer’s computer. This process then only allows these three users to add to the ledger and make addendums to previous entries. On top of that, the computers running the Blockchain software prohibit any one party in the process from going back and altering the record of the transaction without consent from the other two users involved. Thus, the ability for a hidden fee to be added to the process, or for someone attempting to cover up a missed deadline is removed from the process.

With all that said, the future of Blockchain is still unknown. The possibilities and potential functions this technology could serve are limitless. Considering the ease with which international companies are testing and developing their own forms of Blockchain indicates that the effects this new technology could have on small businesses to lower costs and improve efficiency may be closer than expected.

Contact Holbrook & Manter today for more information on this topic.