Blockchain works where blockchain fits

I remember seeing a new design for a plug socket feature on Dragons Den. It was a better design, the socket was angled down, so if someone stumbled on the wires, the plugs would pull out thereby reducing the likelihood of injury or damage to the device.

A better design. One problem. The infrastructure was already standardised and in place. It didn’t get invested in.

If blockchain had been ‘invented’ at the very beginning of the creation of the World Wide Web it would perhaps be the standard operating protocol by now. Maybe we’d have a totally different www. As it stands, one of the big challenges for blockchain is working out where it fits. It’s telling that the only major success it’s had is in crypto currencies, where it’s used to create an entirely new thing.

Back in 1900, 30 years or more after the generation and harnessing of electricity, only 5% of US factories used it. They all ran on steam power, and the entire factory was designed around it, huge engines powering great belts that delivered kinetic energy across the entire work area.

The infrastructure was already established. Swopping a steam engine for an electric one didn’t improve productivity. To do that, one needed to literally rip out everything and start again, redesigning the entire factory system and working practices around electric motors rather than giant steam engines and belts. Wires delivering electrical energy replaced belts delivering kinetic, and the factory became a modern place.

Even computers had very little impact in terms of productivity, for several decades. It was only when entire business systems became digitised and interconnected that efficiencies were experienced.

In other words, replacing one part of a system or enterprise with a new technology might not have any impact on overall efficiency. And this has been one of the stumbling blocks in the blockchain saga.

So, where then does it make sense to implement a blockchain solution?

Firstly, Blockchain should be implemented only where it fits. Sounds obvious but the hype around blockchain has clouded the reality.

Here at Cygnetise our experience shows that starting with solving specific, small problems where there is a real benefit to blockchain solutions makes sense.

Maintaining an authorised signatory list is a manual process. Ideal for replacement with a digitised blockchain system.

Processing bank mandates is another example. The existing form based systems are frequently manual, taking days, or even weeks, for authorisation and approvals, and providing an unessesary point of friction and slow down.

For low volume, high importance communications, the trustable nature of blockchain can, when applied correctly, reduce time to a fraction, increase security, free up resources, and remove irritation and blockages.

If that sounds like the sort of medicine your department could benefit from, we’re happy to discuss.