For all the hype, blockchain has yet to go mainstream in the enterprise. That may well change in 2018 as the technology’s reputation for trusted transactions continues to grow among IT leaders.
Blockchain is a shared digital ledger for recording transactions . Each transaction among participants in a network is tucked into a record known as a block that is digitally signed to ensure its authenticity and create consensus about the state of transactions at any given second. What has CIOs excited about blockchain is its ability to scale across an enterprise, offering a network effect of digital trust.
For example, every stakeholder in a blockchain-supported supply-chain network receives a copy of the existing authenticated ledger. If an event impacts the supply chain, every party can be assured that what the digital ledger says happened actually happened. Technology chiefs tell CIO.com that using a digital ledger to ensure trust is something rival technologies currently don’t offer.
“Blockchain is one of those things where it’s going to be more of a competitive advantage over time,” says Vijay Sankaran, CIO of TD Ameritrade. Sankaran and some of his peers explain why here.
Blockchain for logistics
United Parcel Service has a team dedicated to exploring blockchain’s impact on chain of custody in the supply chain, says Linda Weakland, director of enterprise architecture and innovation at UPS. Weakland sees great potential for blockchain in automating the myriad manual processes that comprise customs brokerage. Such a system could help UPS “modernize the whole practice and clear goods much quicker than we do.” Blockchain would also improve transaction accuracy and reduce costs for physical assets, such as shipping containers.
But to unlock blockchain’s potential, it must be adopted across the entire supply chain. To that end, UPS in November joined the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA), which is developing blockchain standards for the freight industry. Weakland says such standards could help UPS and its partners share data across blockchains, which is currently difficult to do. “With BiTA we’re going to be able to get more standards to make the blockchain more useful than it is today,” Weakland says. […]