Boosting business productivity and operation efficiency with blockchain
There is an ongoing interest in the business world to move towards a paperless business environment to gain efficiency and reduce error, and while some of it has taken place, there is always risk surrounding data integrity and authentication. Along with ease of use for electronic documents come the question of source validity, data integrity, and a host of other security issues. Blockchain technology is able to provide a platform that provides the security that the business world needs to integrate trust into an electronic document environment.
When working with documents that have official or legal significance, different business agents, entities, and processes are brought into the transaction to ensure validity, authenticity, and data integrity. We have attorneys, escrow companies, signatures, notary public, etc. all for the purpose of instituting trust in the transaction in question. These agents, though necessary, contribute cost and delay to the entire process.
With embedded cryptography technology built into blockchain, trust can be incorporated automatically into the transaction. By using asymmetric encryption along with public key infrastructure, blockchain is able to ensure both source authentication and non-repudiation. That is, the receiving party is assured the document originated from the expected sender and not elsewhere, and that the sender cannot deny that the received document originated from him. And the information received cannot be tampered with, for any tampering will result in authentication failure at the receiving end. Lastly, based on agreed upon contractual terms, triggers can be set within the blockchain network to automatically initiate events without manual intervention.
Such arrangement of embedded security within the process is especially beneficial for business processes that require multiple parties’ approval as they traverse through multiple chains of custody. A common example is within the supply chain, whereby a multimodal shipment requires multiple parties exchanging multiple documents such as invoice, PO, advance shipping notice, bill of lading, letter of credit, etc. Once a given document is added to the blockchain, the parties can be assured that the information cannot be altered without parties’ consent, all endorsements and approvals are assured to be issued by the assigned parties, and the same information is accessible to all parties involved as it evolves towards transaction completion.
With the given set of documents exchanged among multiple parties, it is easy to lose sight of the latest version, resulting in higher probability that a party is referencing an outdated document. A better way is to store and retrieve documents in a decentralized peer-to-peer architecture to improve accessibility and data veracity. And implementing a blockchain record management solution causes minimal disruption to day-to-day operation. Business documents can be migrated to a data storage repository (either locally or in the cloud) and the corresponding security measures are configured on the blockchain then linked to the document repository, having the business logic managed independently from the documents.
The outcome of such automation and security improves transaction accuracy, reduces transaction cost, lessens transaction delay, and simplifies traceability and auditing process. Started in 2018, Walmart has implemented a blockchain solution with its lettuce and spinach suppliers to improve its response to contaminated products. Walmart is now expanding the solution to its pharmaceutical suppliers. Working alongside the FDA, Walmart’s suppliers collaborate to improve manufacturing and logistics traceability and to reduce incidents of counterfeit medication. Blockchain adoption continues to gain momentum across sectors and will likely in the near future become the de facto process for completing business transactions.
How we can help
We are a team of specialized blockchain architects and developers with several iterations of blockchain implementation projects with government and large companies. Along with our experience, our team members have authored and published numerous books on blockchain as well as books on several of the more widely-adopted blockchain platforms.
With the advent of blockchain comes the features of transaction transparency, direct peer to peer transaction, and high level of data integrity. Companies and municipalities around the world today have already begun to embrace and use blockchain. And we agree with the ever growing number of social, technology, and commerce experts that blockchain will continually gain momentum to inevitably become the new paradigm for the world.