technology Blockchain – It’s your move

Blockchain is here. And it’s here to stay. The evidence is overwhelming. So if you’re a business analyst or IT professional who’s been watching from the sidelines, hedging your bets, it’s time to step up to the start line, says Martin Maya of Amatis.

But easier said than done

That blockchain is on an upward trajectory is clear, and it’s gaining momentum. Take the skills gap for blockchain professionals for example. A 2020 LinkedIn survey puts blockchain at the top of the list of most in-demand workplace skills. In fact, developers with certified blockchain skills are currently offered 50% more than the average software engineer.

This is because the benefits of a well-designed blockchain are no longer in doubt. More and more businesses are learning to take advantage of it, and new applications are being discovered and implemented all the time. The possibilities are incredibly exciting. This technology is changing the business landscape, and I’d estimate that ten years from now, a good quarter of global economic infrastructure will be running on blockchain-based system.

And why not? After all, who wouldn’t want a shared, tamper- proof ledger? A database that brings greater transparency and traceability to business processes? That removes barriers to information flow? That makes contracts smarter, cuts out intermediaries, increases speed, increases reach, avoids disputes, reduces costs? That builds trust between organisations, democratises wealth creation, and helps speed up innovation?

Today blockchain is finally recognised as far more than the cryptocurrency its reputation was originally built on. The applications are endless, from voting mechanisms and real estate processing, to the tracking of music royalties and supply chain monitoring. In fact, blockchain can benefit any situation in which a group of people or organisations has a need for mutual trust.

Martin Maya

Let’s take a topical global issue as an example: the Covid-19 pandemic. With the use of a blockchain, a group of 11 pharmaceutical companies is sharing models and research results to speed up the development of a vaccine. And they can do this without sharing the data itself or losing credit for their input. How? Because blockchain is infinitely more secure than the computer systems that preceded it.

Shouldn’t we all be on track for blockchain?

That depends. Could your organisation benefit from shared data with multiple parties? Are there intermediaries in the business processes? Are any of the interactions time-sensitive? Do they require verification? If the answer to any of these is ‘yes’, then you probably should.

Nobody said it was easy

But if your organisation or industry could benefit from mutual trust and has not yet stepped onto the blockchain track – even though it probably should have – it’s not alone. Because it’s not easy to get started. Getting to the starting blocks can be the hardest part of any project, and with blockchain it’s particularly difficult to know where to begin. A recent PwC survey found that 24% of respondents that had “little to no involvement” with blockchain, gave their reason as “uncertainty over where to start”.

Few people, developers included, could comfortably find their way to the starting blocks, never mind off them. That’s because, before anyone can launch into a blockchain project, they need a clear understanding of what it is strategically that they are hoping to achieve. And only from there can they even begin to ascertain whether blockchain is in fact the right technology for them.


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