What’s all the hype? New and emerging technologies spark excitement, hope, fear, failure and, hopefully, great success. The question is when, and if, your business should latch on, jump in, deploy or walk away. These strategic business decisions will cause your business to bloom or die on the vine within the “hype cycle.” Hype cycles educate and explain the significant phases of emerging technology. Enter the Blockchain.
In early 2017, the world saw a surge in expectations of what Blockchain would deliver. After the hype: The hibernation before the blockchain spring. While others sit back and worry about when the use case goose chase will end, there are three concrete steps you can proactively take to secure the golden egg during the inevitable resurgence of blockchain:
1. Don’t Go To Sleep with the Bears – Stay Awake to Opportunity!
2. Define Your Problem & Find the Intersection of Solutions!
3. Learn to Bridge from Theory to Practical Application!
- Stay Awake to Opportunity!
This starts with an understanding of the blockchain itself. In simplest terms, blockchain is sophisticated ledger technology. Although it can disrupt business models, blockchain itself is not a business model, it is an enabling technology. Blockchain is how a result can be achieved, it is not the result to be pursued. Blockchain is not a universal panacea, because this kind of technology only makes sense where a distributed ledger trumps a standard database. Typically, these are scenarios (or ‘use cases’) where factors such as transparency and immutability are important, and where the volume and repetition of transactions is high. This is why blockchain thrives in industries (‘verticals’) such as finance and real estate.
2. Define Your Problem to Find the Solution!
“Given one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and 5 minutes finding the solution.” ~ Albert Einstein
Look for inefficient areas of operation and those adored by auditors. The market for international money transfers, for example, has become a hot use case because cryptocurrencies running on blockchains can enable transactions between senders and recipients directly, effectively reducing intermediaries. Blockchain is the technology that has enabled this shift, which is causing a re-think of the business model for international money transfers. Anytime this kind of disruption occurs to a business model, it’s a good time to research how to go hard on achieving results, by combining different tech solutions.
For example, Dennis and Katherin Hauck, based in Germany, experienced various problems in the freelancer staffing process during their careers. Their Solution: Project Crowd – a blockchain application to empower the growing ranks of freelancers built with Crowd Machine No-Code Technology. Project Crowd will automate and build transparency in the recruitment and contracting process with AI-enabled job matching and distributed ledger technology, which will be used to create smart contracts and to verify and secure members’ personal information. As Dennis notes, “blockchain and AI are key technologies for the future of human resource management. They enable companies to find the best talents faster than their competitors, provide trust and bring transparency to the job market.”
Similarly, if the problem is a lack of transparency in the supply chain, particularly around transportation and logistics, then introduce a blockchain with improved data capture to record information on the ledger. IoT devices installed in shipping containers can track and send data to the ledger that is critical to maintaining the quality of perishable goods and transparency in the supply chain. For example, a coffee shipment can lose commercial value if it is exposed to high temperatures and humidity, triggering a string of problems concerning where the break in the supply chain occurred. Blockchain with IoT provides solutions to these problems because participating parties have agreed to transparency, and can be alerted via the IoT device to where the break occurred. Additionally, trade finance can be an added component of this blockchain solution as payments can be made automatically through a smart contract, triggered by the delivery of the coffee shipment that meets quality control standards.
3. Bridge from Theory to Application!
One of the many benefits of technological evolution is that, in addition to being able to use devices, we can also learn to program them ourselves. In the last century, software development required a commitment to learning languages such as C++ and Python. Now, we are able to bypass the learning curve and jump straight into development through no-code solutions. In this new development environment of no-code, one platform, Crowd Machine, stands out from the rest, because it can be used to write applications, both on and off blockchains. Crowd Machine enables users to develop applications for all use cases – and is blockchain agnostic so applications developed on Crowd Machine can run as DApps on any blockchain. Current Fortune 500 Crowd Machine clients are finding success in verticals such as finance and healthcare, developing sophisticated enterprise apps. Crowd Machine has a customized learning environment, Crowd Academy, that’s free, online, and open to all regardless of software development experience. Seasoned developers as well as people with absolutely no coding experience can learn to build apps.
The time between the trough of disillusionment to the plateau of productivity is the sweet-spot for smart learning. Done well, it’s not just pure theory, but skill building and practical application. It’s time to recognize new opportunity, define your problem, understand the intersection of solutions, and learn to build the applications that will enable your business to bloom.