The disruptive force of blockchain

Joy John, Oracle MEA Business Development Director - Cloud Infrastructure Platform Services, explains why it's time to get blockchain on your radar

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What are the top blockchain trends for 2021?

Following the pandemic, many companies are re-evaluating their priorities, objectives and the infrastructure they have in place to ensure resilience and continuity. For these reasons, enterprise IT and emerging technology spending re-focused on generating savings, risk reduction, transparency and business optimizations.

In 2021, we expect to witness increased adoption of blockchain technology in the governance process of enterprise businesses. Enterprises looking to build a platform of trust across entities and natively embed applications to benefit from immutability, security, cost reduction and transparency will certainly opt for blockchain. We expect to see growth in blockchain deployment across key industries such as the Government, Banking, Education, Healthcare, Transport and Retail sectors.

We also believe that the public cloud will continue to become the de facto choice of platform, with popular Permissioned (private) blockchain technologies like Hyperledger based platforms emerging as the dominant player in the enterprise world.

Do you think private blockchain will dominate the market?

Yes, private blockchain is expected to dominate the market, and this is driven by market demand.

Enterprise blockchain is becoming mainstream due to the many advantages such as immutability, security and transparency, derived natively through the underlying blockchain technology.

Now, private (or permissioned) blockchain such as Oracle Blockchain Platform based on open source Hyperledger technology, managed by Linux Foundation, is preferred over public (or permissionless) blockchain technology, due to the ability to enforce controls regarding participant onboarding, and their level of access, while reaping of the benefits of the blockchain technology. This means that private blockchain provides the benefits of blockchain technology with an added layer of security and data privacy.

Should enterprises look at blockchain-as-a-service to avoid upfront investments?

Traditionally, applications are implemented within an organization. These apply both to packaged off-the-shelf applications and custom applications. However, the very premise of Blockchain technology involves building of a network across an ecosystem of external participants, through a de-centralized implementation. A cloud-based solution looks as the more appropriate fit for the architecture.

Furthermore, in any enterprise, the emphasis is more on the business impact, rather than the underlying technology.

Accordingly, rather than getting into the intricacies and costs of manually setting up an unbiased infrastructure to build the blockchain platform, it would be wise for enterprises to avail blockchain-as-a-service, that could be seamlessly integrated with the relevant back-end applications.

Going a step further, enterprises are preferring Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications with built-in blockchain capabilities. Oracle currently addresses the Blockchain-as-a-Service, both through the platform as well as the SaaS approach.

What are some of the most practical enterprise blockchain use cases today?

Traditionally, blockchain was popular in the cryptocurrency world; now, we see an increased implementation of blockchain across several functions such as Supply Chain Management & Transport/Logistics; Certificate Verification & Education; Cross-border funds transfer & trade finance; Identity management and counterfeit traceability.

The implementation of blockchain in Supply Chain Management and Transport/Logistics has demonstrated one of the strongest use cases of end-to-end visibility, as it enables full transparency in the supply chain process across manufacturers, suppliers and customers. A prime example of Oracle’s initiatives in this space is its collaboration with CargoSmart to develop a blockchain solution that aims to simplify the shipping documentation process and deliver a single source of truth for trusted, real-time sharing of information, thereby increasing trust and boosting efficiency.

When it comes to Certificate Verification and Education, blockchain serves a significant purpose in helping businesses overcome challenges around authenticity of certifications during transactions.

Moreover, blockchain deployed in Cross-border funds transfer, eKYC and Trade Finance presents various benefits such as faster, more secure and more reliable cross-border money transfers, contrary to the conventional nature of banking transactions that depend on third-party intermediaries, leading to wasted time and costs.

In the Middle East, Arab Jordan Investment Bank is enabling increased transparency and speed with the Oracle Blockchain Platform.

Blockchain technology is also being used effectively in medical scenarios, most recently with Covid 19 related initiatives. A case in point is the US Department of Health and Human Services, which uses blockchain, analytics and cloud technology to present reporting of individual and batched results in a trackable manner.

Finally, the increasing role of governments around the world – whether in fighting the pandemic or supporting their countries’ economies – serves as an opportunity for blockchain in delivering trusted and open governments, tracking challenges and enabling new capabilities to sustain struggling economies.

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