More advantageous, faster and safer cooperation relying on automation and on the involvement of several parties. This is what blockchain promises, furthering decentralized business and service models. But what is blockchain and how does the system on which it is based work in practice?

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a form of peer-to-peer communication in which computers are equally connected in a network. This enables very fast, decentralized storage and encryption of transaction data in a long chain of data blocks.

A major advantage is that data records can be exchanged via the system within a very short time and can be checked by all parties involved. Processes run faster - transaction costs fall sharply.

What makes blockchain so safe?

Validation and storage of transaction data is decentralized across the network, so there is no dependency on just one server. Transaction data is distributed on each node of the network in a chronological, transparent, forgery-proof and encrypted way. Cryptographic encryption links data blocks together along a long chain. This encryption and linking of information make transactions unchangeable, traceable and almost tamper-proof.

If the blockchain contains so-called Smart Contracts (stored contract codes), automated transactions or contracts can be concluded, and activities can be triggered based on conditions met. This is needed, for example, in the new distributed energy world where small quantities of electricity from a photovoltaic system could be sold on to neighbors.

Blockchain in practice

The most prominent example of a system based on the principle of the block chain is the crypto currency Bitcoin.

But there are also far-reaching applications, especially for business models. 

Energy

Cost-intensive market communication standards, e.g. replacing the change of supplier in energy sales

Logistics

In logistics, tracking the value flows of containers (e.g. pallets) in cross service provider processes or tracking quality in critical cold chain processes (Track'n'Trace).

Food supply

Enabling cross-market guarantees of origin in order to coordinate direct and indirect product recalls more quickly

Media

Manage small-scale billings for digital content (music, video, articles, ...)

Services

Digitally agree, conclude and manage contracts for B2B services.

Manage small-scale billing for new distributed business models with multiple parties involved (e.g. charging station management in eMobility)

The skills you need to increase blockchain potential in your business

Commercial awareness

in terms of both traditional and new, distributed business models 

Technical competencies

to work with existing blockchain technologies as well as operational options (in-house system operation or as-a-service), mode (private, consortium, public) and technical environment (cryptography, smart contracts, ...)

Professional expertise

to industry specifics that need to be considered natively in the blockchain

Integration expertise

with traditional IT

Cloud-native software design

for application development 

Experience

with consortia and cooperation networks

Questions?