Blockchain is an integral part of our future, but it’s also intimidating for those who are still getting to know the technology. It has come to our attention that there is decidedly an audience for a more basic approach to Blockchain, cryptocurrency, the Metaverse, Web 3.0, and related topics.
To that end, we’re publishing a “Back to Basics” series that will hopefully be of use to our readers. The first entry, “Blockchain Explained,” can be found here. This is the third entry, explaining how blockchain technology can help your business. Keep in mind that what we’re presenting isn’t unlearnable; it only requires patience. At one point, everyone was a beginner.
So now that we have a basic grasp on what blockchain tech is, how can it help your business?
1)Blockchain is revolutionizing supply chain technology
Anyone who’s worked in an industry that receives products from more than one supplier (which encompasses about 75% of the industries on the planet), knows how difficult it can be to track and receive inventory. A supplier’s inventory system isn’t the same as the trucking company’s system, which isn’t the same as your system. It can take hours or days, countless phone calls, and plenty of yelling to track down a shipment. And inevitably, inventory invoices wind up in a pile on someone’s desk, covered in stains of indeterminate origin. It’s been estimated that paperwork and paperwork processing results in nearly 50% of the cost of shipping.
Blockchain technology changes all of that. With a private blockchain network, a trucking company can give both vendors and retailers real-time access to inventory status, shipping location, and any delays, overages or shortages. You’ll also know where a product originated, whether it’s a genuine item or a forgery, and have easy access to any recalled product.
2) Blockchain is transparent and immutable
You’ve probably seen these two words a lot when discussing blockchain, and for good reason. With blockchain, product disputes are easily resolved, because we know who took how much of whatever product from point A to point B. Refrigerators no longer mysteriously fall off trucks, we know who was responsible for a perishable product when it expired, and Robert DeNiro can’t “accidentally” misdeliver a truck full of steaks like he did in The Irishman.
3) Smart Contracts can be used by businesses of all sizes
Perhaps you don’t have the supply chain complexities that would be resolved by any of the above scenarios. Don’t fret: Not only are you far less likely to be whacked by Robert DeNiro, you also can still use blockchain technology to simplify your business.
Smart contracts are a very useful tool, even for every day, small business applications. We wrote a second article, “Smart Contracts Explained,” that gives a basic overview of what they are and how they work here. Smart contracts can be used for commercial and private leases,
employment agreements, and yes, even vendor agreements. Say, for example, you’re supposed to receive delivery of nine pallets of paint for your hardware store. Fred the Delivery Guy shows up with your nine pallets, you both agree that the delivery is as promised, and verify this as such on the blockchain system that you both have access to.
There is no paperwork to sign. There is no bill of lading to hand to your bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper doesn’t have to file anything. Your bookkeeper doesn’t have to make a record of the product received. The supplier doesn’t have to fill out an invoice and send it. Nobody has to write a check. The instant both parties agree a contract has been met, the smart contract executes. The delivery is registered on a blockchain, and payment is made.
4) Intellectual Property Rights
Meghan Trainor released the wildly popular single “Dear Future Husband” in 2014. Bear with us.
Fans of more obscure music were a bit confused by the song…and why it seemed like they’d hear it before. It was because they had, more or less. A gentleman named Olly Murs had released virtually the same song, “Dance With Me Tonight,” nearly three years earlier.
Things like this happen, particularly with art. From The Beatles to Vanilla Ice to J.K. Rowling, plenty of famous artists have been accused of stealing intellectual property. And while most of these issues are ironed out (Murs and Trainor hashed out their beef on an awkward segment of The Voice), struggling artists have had intellectual property stolen for centuries, either by other artists or distributors.
Blockchain technology not only gives an artist a permanent record of their works from conception to completion as proof of ownership, but it’s also starting to become a decentralized method of content delivery. MGM recently invested in a blockchain network designed for product distribution direct to consumers without having to use platforms like Spotify, Pandora, or Sirius/XM.
As has been repeated ad nauseam, blockchain technology is here and becoming an integral part of our lives. Corporations, small businesses, and even sole proprietorships will soon have easily-used blockchain tools to help them drive their business. Unless, of course, they run afoul of some guy trying to make a truckload of steaks disappear…or potentially even Meghan Trainor.
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