Blockchain Opportunities: Enterprise Blockchain
Many big companies have already recognized blockchain’s strengths. They either have a live product or are piloting an implementation of the technology. If blockchain can address one or more pain points of your own business, deciding not to use it can hurt you in the long run. This article will show you how enterprise blockchain is already used. We will also look at alternatives to a full blockchain implementation.
The Blockchain 50
Blockchain 50 is an annual list by Forbes, showcasing companies with a revenue of more than USD 1 billion that are using the technology. These companies are mostly using the following types of blockchains:
- Public blockchains. Some companies, like Cargill, CONA Services, and Daimler use Ethereum, for example. This is especially useful for those who need public access. Depending on business type, they may offer their services to the public or need information stored on a public blockchain. For reasons like these, companies are often prepared to handle the cons of using public blockchains, like lower throughput, network congestions, and price oscillations.
- Private, permissioned blockchains from a blockchain provider. The three of the best blockchain providers—Hyperledger Fabric, ConsenSys Quorum, and R3 Corda—are very common names on the Blockchain 50 list. They are well-established enterprise blockchain providers who can handle the technical aspects of setting up the technology for you. With years of experience working with huge corporations and their specific needs, all three of these can handle anything you may need from them.
- Their own blockchains. Building your own blockchain is difficult, but not impossible. For businesses that can see blockchain becoming an important part of how they function, this may be a good solution. It is, however, costly and needs a full team available to handle anything to do with the technology. In most cases, shifting an existing company to the blockchain to the point where it warrants its own solution means reimagining a lot of existing processes.
These three categories are not the only ones. They’re more like points on a spectrum, where your own needs may fall anywhere in between them. This is why, in most cases, you may notice that the companies on this list use more than one blockchain. This allows them to use some of them actively, pilot others, while researching even more.
This may not be possible for businesses that don’t have this sort of revenue, though. Generally, we recommend using private, permissioned blockchains from the aforementioned providers. They don’t need a lot of technical knowledge, but they can address any pain points your business might have. In other words, you can get all the perks of blockchains without the pain of doing it yourself.
Blockchain as a Service Offerings
It is also possible that you don’t have any technical knowledge at all. You may be disinclined to learn, it may not seem worth it, and it may not make a difference for your business. This is where Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) products come in. They are designed to bridge the gap between the highly technical world of blockchain and non-technical users. In these offerings, the provider acts like the host and manager of your blockchain. In many cases, a BaaS is using one of the three enterprise-level blockchains that we mentioned. The difference is that you have even less of a contact with the blockchain itself, other than to use it for its intended purpose.
One of the biggest advantages of BaaS is that it is cloud-based. This means you do not have to host the blockchain infrastructure yourself. Your provider will handle all the tasks that keep blockchain functional in the background. Of course, you will need to pay some setup fees, but these tend to be lower than the cost of setting up a whole new blockchain all by yourself.
The three best-known BaaS providers are Microsoft Azure, Oracle Blockchain, and Blockchain on Amazon Web Services (AWS). All three of them are widely used thanks to their ease of access and availability. Creating your blockchain network takes only a few minutes, but you don’t have to compromise. You can choose the details of your implementation without skipping anything important to you. Plus, many of your existing software solutions can be connected to your new blockchain for smoother coordination.
Blockchain has a lot of potential for implementation, regardless of industry, as evidence shows. Businesses that could use the perks offered by enterprise-level blockchain solutions can look closer into one of the three providers listed. On the other hand, those that don’t need the whole blockchain to themselves, so to speak, can try Blockchain as a Service.
Still not sure how blockchain can help your business? Take a look at our video What Is Blockchain Great At? to learn more. If you still think you could benefit from learning more, feel free to sign up to one of our upcoming Principles of Successful Blockchain Deployments Webinars. Additionally, you can stay on top of trends through our This Week in Blockchain podcast, available on weekinblockchain.com, plus discussed every Monday at 12pm EST / 5pm GMT on Clubhouse.