Do you really need a BlockChain solution ?

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2019-01-17

In Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens’, he talks about a Company being a virtual ‘Entity’. These entities are represented by Sapiens. As Sapiens, we have evolved over thousands of years and learnt to trust each other enough to transact, exchange goods, services, money, titles, property, etc. We have the relevant support system (laws and regulations) to further strengthen this trust.

As we further evolved, started living in communities, we realized that we trust the community more than an individual. If I lent 10$ to John and announced it in the community that I have lent 10$ to John, I would feel safer that John would return this money to me (as compared to the scenario when I would lend John 10$ and no one knows about it). It is this element of ‘Trust’ in a system that forms the basic functioning (raison d’être) of a BlockChain solution.

You’ve probably read enough articles on the net that give you some basics on BlockChain. As a company looking forward to jump onto the bandwagon and not get caught with the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) syndrome, you’d want to investigate first whether this distributed Trust related solution is the right solution for you. The first pre-requisite is to have a well-scoped and clear Use-Case where BlockChain could make a difference.

So, When do I need such a solution to my Business issue? Assuming you have a good Use-Case and you are looking for possible solutions, here is a quick 3 step-check that could give you an indication on whether a BlockChain based solution would be a good solution to answer your needs :

Here are some of the basic properties of a BlockChain:

  • Simply put, it is an Open, Distributed ledger or a registry of transactions
  1. The transactions are Immutable.. that means no-one can go back in the system and tamper with the records. Once the network validates the transaction, it cannot be reversed.
  2. The next property is that the transactions are timestamped. So, we have a track on what happened at what time and date etc. This is a more classical property.
  3. The transactions are encrypted. So, there is privacy and security. And each entity doing the transfer won’t be known to everyone as their data will be encrypted.

block chain

If you answered these basic 3 step-check questions in the affirmative (‘YES’), then voila: BlockChain could be a potential solution. Yocan certainly dig deeper to investigate. [Further, you can investigate whether you’d need the transactions to be private with a control over the functionalities (Private BlockChain) or open to the Public (Public BlockChain… think Bitcoin, Ethereum].

So, now you have a quick overview of the key questions that you need to ask yourself before embarking on a blockchain solution. While BlockChain Technology may have the potential to drastically change the way Companies will work in the future, you’d need to do these checks to see if it is indeed the right solution for you. In many cases, you may rather find other easier and cheaper solutions for your needs.

And Yes, as a fellow Sapien, Trust me on this one 😊 !

Manish Shanbhag

Program Manager / EIPM India Director