Blockchain for Business: Far Beyond Bitcoin

Though primarily associated with financial transactions, blockchain technology has a wide variety of uses that create a more trusted customer experience.

November 11, 2020

Although blockchain is often associated primarily with bitcoin and other virtual currency applications, blockchain is simply the technology that powers and protects those financial transactions. 

IBM explores why businesses around the world are quickly adopting blockchain for many kinds of applications, as it “is a shared, immutable ledger for recording transactions, tracking assets and building trust.”

A crucial component is that this ledger offers access to data by numerous parties, even when they have conflicting interests. “No participant can change or tamper with a transaction after it’s been recorded to the shared ledger,” explains IBM.

What are Blockchain’s Practical Applications for Businesses?

Blockchain can be used anytime data needs to be accessed securely by multiple parties, including consumers. This data can be owned by the business or a third party and competitors are now able to become collaborators in a trusted venue that has never existed before. 

Businesses using blockchain also see new value with the ability to offer consumers a better and more trusted customer experience. 

Give the Public More Confidence in Products

Below are three common examples of how businesses use blockchain to build that consumer trust.

Product Authentication

Consumers need to know the products they purchase are authentic. For health and food items, authentication lets consumers know their product is safe. For luxury and art items, verification provides peace of mind and protects investments. For lifestyle products, consumers know the items they purchase are manufactured from sustainable products, creating a better world.

The security and transparency of blockchain is the scalable way to bring this authentication process directly to consumers in a record that will live directly with the item forever.

As an example, The Fine Art Ledger verifies artwork, and records that verification with blockchain. Art owners, collectors, those considering a purchase, and any other relevant party can access this blockchain record by scanning an NFC tag that is added to the artwork. Discover all the possibilities this opens in the case study

Track and Trace

One of the biggest advantages of blockchain is the ability to assign an item a unique identifier that can be traced throughout the supply chain, from sourcing and manufacturing to retail delivery to purchase and beyond. Securing this path in the blockchain enables every party throughout the supply chain, including those with competing interests, to access and update their portion of the record. 

A food supply chain is a great example of how important this is, where farmers, shippers and retailers all need to access data along the supply chain. And while this access is important to them, businesses pass that value onto great consumer experiences.

Today’s consumers not only want to know where the food is from and how it got to them, they also need to know that it is safe. 

A food package with an embedded NFC tag allows consumers to access this traceability record by simply tapping their phone to the package. They not only see the story, but get the peace of mind that it is verified. 

Consumer Engagement

 This is where brands are able to surprise and delight consumers, as these experiences don’t stop at authentication and traceability. Once consumers see how useful these experiences are, brands are able to add value with other features like exclusive content, one-tap purchase for related products and much more.

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