A McKinsey report estimates that blockchain could save businesses at least $50 billion in B2B transactions by 2021.1
Three weeks ago, I received a text message from my mom, asking how to invest in the alt-currency, Stellar Lumens. At the time, I had no idea what Stellar Lumens was, nor why my mom was texting me about it at 3 a.m. I decided to do a little research, mostly because I was curious as to why my mom was staying up so late. One thing led to another, and I ended up taking a deep dive into the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Sure, I had heard all the buzz around Bitcoin, and how blockchain is the technology behind these currencies, but I had no idea how potentially transformational blockchain is. So, I texted my mom back, “Mom, have you heard about blockchain?” and she responded hastily with, “Obviously, it’s the new internet.”
So, what exactly is blockchain? Don & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution describe blockchain as “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”2 What makes blockchain unique is that it transfers power and control from the big guys to the many little guys, providing a decentralized and transparent method for transactions. The value prop is that by cutting out the middle man, we can ensure that all our transactions are secure, fast, and less expensive. I can’t vouch for my mom saying that Blockchain is the new internet, but consensus states that it will cause significant disruptions across industries. A McKinsey report estimates that blockchain could save businesses at least $50 billion in B2B transactions by 2021.1
So, it’s a good thing for companies, right? I mean, as a B2B marketer, I think that’s wonderful, but I was curious to see if there were any Blockchain use cases focused on improving society. Luckily for us, there are many! Today, organizations in health care, real estate, as well as governments are exploring or have already implemented blockchain solutions. However, one application really resonated with me, i-voting, or online voting.
Voting is the foundation of democracies across the world. However, a fair election is often undermined by voter fraud, polling intimidation, limited access to polling stations, and cybersecurity threats (both foreign and domestic). With i-voting, citizens will be able to vote online or from their mobile devices, thus eliminating these barriers to entry. Even better, citizens can vote and then change their vote up until the election deadline.
Needless to say, Blockchain technology is the basis of i-voting, and can make the election process more transparent than it currently is, while allowing greater participation and privacy for all voters. According to start up Follow My Vote, “by casting votes as [blockchain] transactions, we can create a blockchain which keeps track of the tallies of the votes. This way, everyone can agree on the final count because they can count the votes themselves, and because of the blockchain audit trail, they can verify that no votes were changed or removed, and no illegitimate votes were added,” they explain on their website.
As B2B marketers, it is critical that we are educating ourselves on the leading technology trends, and how they impact our client’s businesses. Sometimes we need to go to a higher level and see how these technologies can impact society. Blockchain doesn’t just benefit the alt-currency traders, or the bitcoin miners, but, instead, can help eliminate corruption, protect civil liberties, and increase transparency and trust in the world around us. Trust me; blockchain is worth doing some late-night research over.
And yes, I did end up learning how to invest in Stellar Lumens… my mom showed me how.
- McKinsey & Company: Blockchain Technology in the Insurance Sector. 2017
- Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott: Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World. 2017