Today I’m going to take you from a “newb” - that’s tech speak for total newcomer - to someone in the know when it comes to blockchain technology and your business.
Now what the heck is blockchain?
While blockchain was originally devised for the digital currency, Bitcoin, the tech community is now finding other potential uses for the technology. That means large and small businesses everywhere can reap its benefits too.
The best way I came across to describe blockchain is this: Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet. That right there now gives you a basic understanding of blockchain.
Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared — and continually reconciled — database.
This way of using the network has obvious benefits. For one, the blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, so the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable.
Secondly, no centralized version of information means that any hackers cannot corrupt it. Because the information is hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the internet.
These aspects mean that there is an increased security and transparency of information.
So how can small businesses take advantage of blockchain? Here are my top three takeaways for you:
1. Cloud Storage
Traditional cloud storage solutions such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud are typically extremely expensive and provide limited security and transparency.
With blockchain-backed cloud providers now popping up, they're assuring small business owners of data security at a lower price than the other more known centralized options.
2. Smart Contracts
Blockchain technology allows for “smart contracts” – or self-executing contracts – that permit the avoidance of third parties, like lawyers.
This means lower costs, while increasing traceability, accountability and security.
3. Payment Solutions
When you deal with a large amount of cash as a small business there are always potential problems right? From it taking the bank longer than expected to complete the action or identity theft, common frustrations are numerous.
Blockchain-backed payment solution platforms offer cryptocurrency an alternative to cash through the option to transfer funds directly, securely and instantly with practically no fees and no intermediaries.
And that's definitely a win.
So there you go: The top three ways small businesses can begin to take advantage of blockchain technology.
While it may seem like blockchain tech is still quite far off for you and your business, it’ll get more and more prevalent before you know it.
Leslie Youngblood is the Creative Director for Excelerate America, the fun, smart service for small businesses. Tell Leslie about what you think of blockchain by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.