The concept of Blockchain gained popularity after the bitcoin and cryptocurrency explosion – it is the digital ledger which facilitates bitcoin transactions. Blockchain got the attention of several tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, Google and Oracle, who understood how to leverage it for the other industries. For those of you who might not know what Blockchain technology is and how it works, here is a short introduction:
Blockchain is fundamentally a hash tree, which is a form of data structure used to create a peer to peer computer network. The data structure allowed data to be transferred, verified and protected within the network of systems in a secure yet easy to modify way. This technology was a breakthrough in allowing a secure network to simultaneously access, modify, submit and verify cryptocurrency data. However, it can be used to transform the faces of several other industries.
Blockchain’s real world applications
Once it grabbed the attention of the aforementioned tech giants, it was only a matter of time before Blockchain’s uses were extrapolated to other fields. But for now, it is still mostly used in the finance sector to bypass middleware which needs commissions or subscription based payments to facilitate transactions. For example, consider that you are a stock trader. Currently, if you have to place a buy order for Apple’s stocks, you won’t be able to do so directly with the stock exchange. You have to go through your brokerage firm which will place the order electronically with the exchange. Now, irrespective of whether you make a profit or loss with that order, the brokerage firm takes a cut for itself, which is a small portion of the capital. In addition to this, several transaction costs are deducted from the overall margin you have.
But what if the brokerage firm was removed from this entire process and you are able to directly place your orders with the stock exchange? You profits can be significantly improved and losses can also be limited. There are several instances where we, as consumers and businesses, have been paying unnecessary amounts for “processing” or “transaction” fees. This is what companies are trying to remove for us using Blockchain.
What is Oracle Upto?
Oracle made inroads into the Blockchain field earlier this year by rolling our several Blockchain applications for enterprises . The company aims to implement the core concept of Blockchain, decentralization, to several ledger based applications. Decentralization removes an important risk posed by centralized holding of data – breaches. Since the data is held in strongly encrypted formats across all the systems in a network, Blockchain drastically improves its security.
In the recently held OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, Oracle announced the launch of its supply chain centric Blockchain application. It would definitely be interesting to see how a finance use case focussed technology will now be leveraged to improve supply chain processes. In fact, we can expect it to boost the speed of the current Industrial Revolution we are going through.
Amit Zavery, Executive Vice President, Oracle Cloud Platform added that Oracle is working on bringing Blockchain to “every industry and vertical”. He indicated that the next series of Blockchain applications will be for the healthcare industry. He added that in addition to developing comprehensive applications, the company would also allow its clients to customize the applications themselves. With that, it looks like Oracle is definitely moving in the right direction.
With such a large adaptability of the technology, it appears as if Blockchain will be an inherent part of every technology that we use, and ultimately end up disappearing as a term of usage. The company’s CEO Mark Hurd believes that Blockchain is not a solution but simply an enabler which will run in the background of applications which require “secure exchange of information”. He stated that consumers are concerned only about the safety of data more than how that security is achieved. Therefore, Blockchain will simply become a part of most of the applications in the near future.
Just like IoT, AI, AR and VR, Blockchain is constantly evolving to change the landscape of technology and how we use it. With big names like Oracle and IBM constantly working towards making client focussed applications, it is crucial for small and mid sized companies to follow suit and in this case, focus on choosing better alternatives to traditional methods of “securely” sharing information.
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