The Volkswagen emissions scandal may be over but thousands of tons of nitrous oxide from their vehicles are still in our environment. The hidden VW defeat device let 500,000 of their automobiles pass U.S. government emission tests from 2008 to 2015. Over 150 people may have died from the increase in air pollution.
The scandal, which broke in 2015 has cost Volkswagen over 27.4 billion euros in fines and penalties. In September 2018 their own investors sued them for 9.2 billion euros. To prevent this from happening again VW is documenting software embedded in their vehicles on the blockchain. Innovative technology could be their best hope for regaining the world’s trust.
Blockchain is a powerful tool when used for the right business case, explained Yury Cherniawsky, COO of blockchain development firm Openledger. “Yes it’s good to be transparent so everybody can see what you’re doing.” But in other situations, “There are people you may not want to see what you’re doing such as your competitors. You must be cautious.”
Using Blockchain for Supply Chain
Openledger is a market leading blockchain development firm established in 2014. CEO Ronny Boesing and Bitshares founder Dan Larimer created the Openledger exchange on top of the Bitshares blockchain. It became the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency exchange.
Openledger is now a leading provider of enterprise and government blockchain solutions. “There are many more uses for blockchain than cryptocurrencies,” articulated Cherniawsky. “Different areas of an enterprise including supply chain management and logistics can use blockchain.”
The company is working with several Fortune 500 firms to add value through heightened blockchain security. Cherniawsky cautioned, “Sometimes blockchain can be too secure or have too much transparency, such as with health records.” But it can provide significant benefits when used right. An example is an Openledger client in the manufacturing sector with supply chain challenges.
Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Blockchain
A Fortune 500 manufacturer approached Openledger in 2018 with a problem. They needed to identify the state of their product during shipment. They tried traditional methods such as phoning and emailing drivers and tracking the data on Excel spreadsheets. But these approaches created downstream problems.
Their client had the idea of using I.T. sensors in their trucks to make automated settlements with smart contracts. With the help of GPS they hoped to automate administrative functions such as invoicing when a truck nears its destination.
This solution could give their client other advanced capabilities. They could track product temperature during shipment. Buyer and seller could identify the source of a problem if a product was defective. This could be crucial information if sensitive medicines were being transported.
The tracked information would be immutable, too. The transparency of blockchain would reduce conflict and build trust. Cherniawsky suggests you take the following steps if you want to innovate with blockchain.
1. Make Sure Blockchain is Right for You
You should confirm that blockchain is the right solution to your problem. There are several criteria for assessing its suitability. Cherniawsky suggested you start by asking, “Do we need to trust somebody?”
Further, he added that, “If there are ten or more stakeholders who need to access your data then blockchain is most likely is for you.” You can protect a large set of data from prying eyes while making it accessible to the right people. Working with digital assets this is another indicator blockchain is a good choice.
2. Find a Good Advisor
A good adviser can tell you if you’re on the right path and using the right approach. The opposite could also be true, advises Cherniawsky. “Your firm may not be a good candidate for blockchain adoption. It’s not something everybody should use.”
You should not be implementing a blockchain because it’s a hot technology. It must be the right use case. You should find an advisor who’s professional enough to tell you the truth. This should be someone with real world experience implementing blockchain. Granted, the technology is new so that’s not an easy task.
3. Engage in a Discovery Process
The next step Cherniawsky recommends is to perform a discovery or investigation. “You should have experts looking into your business,” he emphasized. This includes how you interact with your stakeholders and types of transactions. For example, the speed of your transactions may be very important.
Your discovery step may involve implementing a proof of concept or prototype that proves real value behind blockchain adoption. Some of your business processes must change. Relationships or even contracts with partners or suppliers may need revising. You must uncover all these unknowns.
4. Begin with a Trial Project
A final step Cherniawsky proposed is to begin with a trial project. He said Openledger is working on a new standardized blockchain SaaS solution that shortens your adoption time. You can amend or adjust their software to match your specific business case and get started in weeks instead of months.
He continued, “Our new blockchain solution work in the cloud. Or, you can install it onsite if you feel you need a higher level of security.” Their solution lowers your costs since you won’t have to change your current I.T. ecosystem.
Get Started with Enterprise Blockchain
Blockchain can give you a significant competitive advantage for the right business case. Soon it will be a standard practice in many industries. Openledger uses their years of technical experience to help enterprises and governments innovate with blockchain.
Yury Cherniawsky recommends you find a good advisor and make sure blockchain is right for you. Then engage in a thorough discovery process before getting started with a trial project. You can learn more about Openledger or request a free consultation here.