The blockchain is coming

BY Richard Summerfield

In recent years, many industries have been turned on their head by disruptive new technologies. According to a new report from EY, the blockchain is the latest development with the potential to revolutionise business practices across a wide spectrum of industries.

The report, 'Blockchain reaction: Tech plans for critical mass', identifies the blockchain’s potential uses and the threat it could pose to existing business models and practices.

“To date, blockchain has transformed only people’s thinking,” said Channing Flynn, EY’s global technology sector leader, tax services. “We don’t yet even know all the questions blockchain technology will raise, much less the answers. But waiting for the technology to take hold is too late. Now is the time to start defining the questions and influencing policy that will lead to answers.”

Cyber security could be hugely affected by the rise of the blockchain. As Paul Brody, EY’s Americas strategy leader technology sector, notes: “Blockchain shifts cyber security from depending on one to depending on many, and a large volume of people are much more trustworthy than any one individual.”

Furthermore, the blockchain has the potential to transform many industries, particularly those that rely on trusted intermediaries or that currently require strong central authorities to carry out transactions. It could replace those institutions with algorithmically based trust among peers, similar to the Bitcoin system, the most pre-eminent cryptocurrency, which has begun to flirt with the fringes of the mainstream.

Should the blockchain be fully embraced by organisations, however, it could do so much more. According to EY, the technology has the ability to disrupt business models and processes, as well as supply chains and customer relationships throughout the global economy.

With this in mind, companies that were slow to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the dawn of the mobile era and cloud computing need to embrace the disruptive and transformative elements of the blockchain. Failure to do so could see them pay the price down the road.

Report: Blockchain reaction: Tech companies plan for critical mass

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