Blockchain is an integral part of our future, but it’s also daunting to those still learning about the technology. It has come to our attention that there is definitely an audience for a more basic approach to Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Metaverse, Web 3.0 and related topics.
To this end, we publish a ‘Back to Basics’ series which we hope will be useful 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 present is not unlearned; it just takes patience. At some point, everyone was a beginner.
So now that we have a basic understanding of what blockchain technology is, how can it help your business?
1) Blockchain is revolutionizing supply chain technology
Anyone who has worked in an industry that receives product from more than one supplier (which encompasses approximately 75% of industries on the planet), knows how difficult it can be to track and receive inventory. A supplier’s inventory system is not the same as the trucking company’s system, which is not the same as your system. It can take hours or days, countless phone calls and lots of shouting to track down a shipment. And inevitably, inventory receipts end up in a pile on someone’s desk, covered in stains of undetermined origin. It has been estimated that paperwork and paperwork processing is almost 50% of the shipping cost.
Blockchain technology changes all that. With a private blockchain network, a trucking company can give suppliers and retailers real-time access to inventory status, shipping location, and any delays, overages, or shortages. You’ll also know where a product came from, whether it’s a genuine item or a counterfeit, and you’ll have easy access to any recalled product.
2) The blockchain is transparent and immutable
You’ve probably seen these two words often when discussing blockchain, and for good reason. With blockchain, product disputes are easily resolved because we know who took the quantity of any product from point A to point B. Fridges no longer mysteriously fall off trucks, we know who was responsible for a perishable product when it’s expired, and Robert DeNiro can’t “accidentally” mis-deliver a truckload 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 solved by any of the above scenarios. Don’t worry: Not only are you much less likely to be hit by Robert DeNiro, but you can also use blockchain technology to simplify your business.
Smart contracts are a very useful tool even for everyday small business applications. We’ve written a second article, “Smart Contracts Explained”, which gives a basic overview of what they are and how they work here. Smart contracts can be used for commercial and private leases,
employment contracts, and yes, even agreements with suppliers. Let’s say, for example, that you are supposed to receive delivery of nine paint palettes 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 that as such on the blockchain system you both have access to.
There are no documents to sign. There is no bill of lading to give to your accountant. Your accountant has nothing to declare. Your accountant does not have to record the product received. The supplier does not have to complete an invoice and send it. No one has to write a check. As soon as both parties agree that a contract has been fulfilled, the smart contract executes. The delivery is recorded on a blockchain, and the payment is made.
4) Intellectual property rights
Meghan Trainor released the wildly popular single “Dear Future Husband” in 2014 on Bears With Us.
Fans of more obscure music were a bit confused by the song…and why it sounded like they’d heard 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”, almost three years earlier.
Things like this happen, especially with art. From the Beatles to Vanilla Ice to JK Rowling, many famous artists have been accused of intellectual property theft. And while most of those issues are resolved (Walls and Trainor sliced their beef on an awkward segment of The Voice), struggling artists have had their intellectual property stolen from them for centuries, either by other artists or by distributors.
Blockchain technology not only gives an artist a permanent record of their works from conception to completion as proof of ownership, it is also beginning to become a decentralized method of delivering content. MGM recently invested in a blockchain network designed for the distribution of products directly 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 part of our lives. Corporations, small businesses, and even sole proprietorships will soon have easy-to-use blockchain tools to help them run their business. Unless, of course, they run into a guy trying to make a steak truck disappear…or potentially even Meghan Trainor.