What is Blockchain Technology and How Can It Help Your Business?
Blockchain is becoming a useful technology for various industries and a favorite buzzword for businesses. Blockchain is a digital public ledger where records are decentralized and transparent to everyone. That means it can transfer data securely, with no one able to modify or delete the files.
While initially known as the backbone of cryptocurrencies like BitCoin, blockchain has a wide range of uses both for financial means and otherwise. In fact, even small businesses already are making use of blockchain’s secure technology for everyday use. So how can blockchain help your business? Here are a few of the innovative practices you should be investigating.
Fast and Efficient Transactions
The most common use of blockchain technology is for transactions in cryptocurrency. These forms of currency, the most prominent of which is Bitcoin, are a secure way to make instant transactions from one person to another.
A lot of businesses have started to accept payment in cryptocurrency. Many online retailers now accept Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum, and Monero to give customers more safe payment options.
It’s also useful for employees, especially remote workers who get their pay in different currencies. Getting paid in cryptocurrency means there are no conversion fees like you’d find on PayPal. There are even sites like Bitwage which allow users to send invoices for world currencies to convert into Bitcoin.
Even companies like Mastercard and Visa are developing ways to send and receive payments of your local currency through blockchain. It’s not unreasonable to think that all deals could be done using secure blockchain technology in the future.
Safe Cloud Storage
Secure data backup and storage is a key concern for any business. While plenty of cloud services are available to store your data on centralized servers, blockchain may innovate the ways business store data.
Companies like Storj and Filecoin are currently working on providing decentralized cloud storage utilizing blockchain technology. The nature of blockchain technology means 100% uptime for storage, unlike centralized servers which are prone to downtime and attacks. It’s also more secure than traditional methods, with encrypted data making it harder for hackers to access.
It’s still a work-in-progress, but it looks like blockchain technology will be widely used in data storage in the future. Given the benefits of security, uptime, and fast transfers, it makes perfect sense for businesses.
Smart contracts are automated, digital agreements that are unbreakable. They add an extra layer of trust which will appeal to customers or anyone else with whom you use them.
One example of this is airlines who use smart contracts to instantly provide customers with compensation if their flights are late. It can also be used to negotiate contracts with employees, or for invoices where contractors’ payments are automated.
Platforms like Ethereum allow you to create smart contracts, but it does require some programming knowledge. It’s worth looking to sites like MyWish or hiring a blockchain expert to help you.
Smart contracts will stand out to customers who want trustworthy, ironclad contracts, so consider whether they’re worth the investment for your business.
Improving Daily Business Operations
Blockchain technology is highly flexible and can be used to improve all kinds of day-to-day business activities. Many businesses have started using blockchain technology to make managing their supply chain easier.
A company called OriginTrail has led the way in providing quick and efficient data exchange for companies. Large retailers such as Walmart have already used this technology in their supply chain. The transporting and receiving of goods can be made much more manageable when every part of the operation is tracked using a shared ledger, as opposed to numerous fragmented databases.
With platforms to make transmitting data between businesses instant and secure, a whole range of opportunities opens up. The handling of logistics, inventory management, and a variety of other daily business functions become efficient and straightforward.
Blockchain as a Marketing Tool
Businesses should always be looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition and catch people’s attention. That’s why blockchain technology is perfect for businesses looking for a marketing edge.
Blockchain is the new hot buzzword- the next big thing in the business world. Companies who have used blockchain technology either for payments, for their supply chain or practically anything else have gained a lot of media attention.
By positioning yourself as a business using the latest innovative technologies, you’ll stand out to your target market. It doesn’t hurt that blockchain allows for a lot of security and ease for clients and businesses alike.
It also looks like the technology will be widely used for digital marketing services in the future, creating a new form of blockchain Marketing. Instead of having to pay Google or other services for clicks, Smart Contracts will enable companies to pay publishers directly for a certain amount of clicks.
Offering More to Customers
Whenever a new technology comes about, businesses should be aiming to use it to appeal to customers. That’s why various companies are seeking to use blockchain to improve customer experience.
One startup, OrionCoin, aims to change how it will run customer loyalty programs. Currently, loyalty programs offer an infinite amount of points which can be converted into store credit. A finite amount of this new cryptocurrency will be available to loyal customers of the businesses which choose to use it. What’s more, the coins can be traded in for cash if customers aren’t interested in store credit.
Along with fast transactions via cryptocurrencies and the use of smart contracts, blockchain companies will become increasingly attractive to consumers in the future.
Blockchain technology is becoming increasingly sought-after as time goes on, with new startups based around its versatile uses popping up all the time.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your business, start looking into how you can make use of blockchain technology now. It can help with cybersecurity, transactions, daily tasks, and even marketing. Utilizing the latest technology will make your business stand out to potential customers, investors, and ensure it’s future-proof for a long time to come.