There are several reasons enterprises adopt this technology. Beyond the obvious one, removing the need for a middleman, it also creates an immutable record of a transaction or agreement between parties. Another is there is no honey pot for hackers to exploit sensitive data or to pull off a ransomware event. And while adopting new technologies can be risky, this one is simple when you keep these three principles in mind from the start.
Data IS Property. The person who creates the data owns the data. It’s not about data privacy, but property ownership rights. Most IT professionals think about the systems that apply to their business, and so think about data privacy in terms of granting access. The assumption is that users already have access to the network, so the control is focused on permissions. But what about DLT/blockchain that by-definition, lives between/across systems? How do disparate networks synchronize? The answer is they do not need to. If everyone can acknowledge that data -- all data -- is digital property, then we can stop working to re-define the laws that apply to digital securities, digital commodities, and NFTs, and instead focus on the application of the technology under existing property tort law. State governments will do well to adopt this approach as it helps facilitate businesses applying the technology to non-financial use-cases.
A complete platform includes Products/Services AND People AND Places. One must think beyond the object, be it a thing or a service, to unleash the potential of this technology. For example, most Blockchain/supply chain use-case projects start by digitizing the product or service offered -- which is a struggle. Even the world’s largest retailer found out the hard way that farmers simply do not have time to work for the retailer’s benefit. The solution is to not just digitize the product/service, but also the people, the company, the brand(s), and the places. Digitize the entire supply chain. In this way, companies can completely describe their own policies, processes, and procedures, and simply work to gather data from upstream and share information with downstream partners, rather than spend energy working for someone else’s benefit. This allows value chain partners to provide meta-data to a single digital container, capture valuable insights for the company on top of that pyramid. But this approach is limited to the extent that a company can force their suppliers to participate and contribute information.
Blockchain is a team sport. And teams need rules or guidelines to interact fairly and efficiently. If everyone agrees on the first 2 principles, but then applies information in a non-standard way, value is lost. Businesses must collaborate -- as consortia partners -- to align on what standards apply to their industry. Retail did this, and now a single barcode scanned at a register responds the exact same way for a consumer, regardless of the store. No such standard exists for manufacturing, as an example, but is now possible utilizing DLT/blockchain.
I do not write this from an academic viewpoint, but from hands-on experience. The USSF’s National Security Space Launch Directorate’s Quality Branch has helped identify these principles through their funding of the development of the Commercial Trust™ Protocol. The Texas Blockchain Council, a leading organization in the US Blockchain Council, has also embraced these principles and published a recent whitepaper for legislators and one for enterprises.
Join the conversation: What other foundational principles should we be discussing?