“I’m intrigued,” I said, waiting for the rest of his story during a zoom meeting with this gentleman from Houston.
Cornelius (as we’ll call him in this feature) looked around nervously before continuing as if someone might be watching us. “Well … I collect European Art for tens of millions in value but am unable to sell anything due to the Covid-19-related economic constraints.” He paused and then continued with a frown. “I need to inject capital into the business for a strong post-pandemic recovery,”
I carefully considered what he had just told me and asked, “How much do you know about NFTs?”
“I’m not sure what you mean,” he said. “A non-fungible token,” I clarified, and then we spent the rest of that zoom call discussing how blockchain, and more specifically, NFTs, might help him.
It’s no secret that blockchain has already started changing the way we do business, but the extent of how blockchain will impact the business world of the future continues to become clearer.
This article will share how blockchain-powered digital transformation is helping businesses thrive across multiple industries. These examples might inspire you to explore opportunities in your own business.
1. Build transparency into your supply chain.
One of our agriculture industry clients needed more control over their supply chain to ensure that quality standards were met. The company began with a small farm in Brazil and, after seeing the success of using blockchain to track their produce from farm to table, decided to expand their service across South America.
They saw an increase in trust from customers who had previously not known about the company’s practices before they were introduced to blockchain technology. The company is now working on expanding into other parts of the world. Blockchain offered them the opportunity to examine every stage of their process to see where more transparency could be applied.
Transparency appeals to people’s sense of fair play. If we don’t know what happens behind closed doors, we always wonder just how ethical the company is when interacting with us. Blockchain offers companies in any industry an opportunity to be 100% transparent with their clients or customers.
2. Make anything tradeable with non-fungible tokens.
Cornelius needed to make his art more affordable, so we developed NFTs available through an invitation-only marketplace. This approach created an air of exclusivity and enabled buyers to purchase fractional pieces of the works from his collection.
An NFT is a digital asset that may represent ownership of real-world objects, and the tokens can be stored on and move across multiple blockchains. NFTs are being heavily considered by companies as an alternative way to sell tickets and merchandise at concerts and sporting events — both online or offline.
NFTs are used to tokenize items for them to be accessible, tradable, fungible, verifiable and persistent. Unlike units of a centralized currency, which can represent anything and everything (i.e., currencies like dollars or euro), “digital assets” like NFTs are specific representations of something unique; in this case, it was ownership over an item such as artwork.
3. Keep hackers at bay with blockchain cybersecurity.
Online travel booking platforms can utilize blockchain when making flight reservations for customers. They can deliberately slice up their flight transactions into smaller pieces and sort them onto various nodes within a chain as opposed to keeping all these records stored on one server. This approach might reduce the chance that any single hacker could infiltrate the system and access personal data on millions of people.
Businesses benefit from using blockchain as a secure, immutable and distributed ledger system. Its innovative safety methodology has the potential to substantially increase the security of privileged information. Blockchain allows consumers to have more control over their own information, which can lead to greater protection from fraud.
The technology also has the potential for significant cost savings to businesses by reducing transaction times and costs while increasing accuracy, transparency, reliability, accountability and security in a digital marketplace.
4. Automate tasks with smart contracts.
When one of our travel-insurance industry clients needed to automate a certain process, I advised smart contracts that would be triggered when a flight is canceled, for instance. Then the smart contract would automatically make a payment to the policyholder, thus bypassing the traditional claim process. Smart contracts are agreements written in code that enable transactions between two parties to be executed when a set of conditions are met.
The use cases for smart contracts are endless, including bill payments, financial trades like stocks and bonds, property title transfers or voting rights. One day we might see our governments operate on blockchain technology with citizens verified using biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition instead of IDs.
Smart contracts automate tasks in a business and save money by not needing intermediaries. A smart work platform allows companies to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. Blockchain smart contracts can be executed without third-party authorization, which can reduce human error.
Evaluate the use of blockchain in your business.
Let’s go back to Cornelius. About halfway into our meeting, he reached over and pulled out two pieces of art. One was an oil painting depicting early 19th-century French life and another was an abstract sculpture made up of bronze rods intertwined together. He asked, “What do you think of these?” I said, “The painting is beautiful, and the sculpture looks like an old Celtic design.”
I am not sure what he thought of my response, but he did accept my idea of NFT-fication of his art. In the end, he was able to raise the critical funds for his business, and I learned a little more about European classical art.
So, ask yourself this question: Do any of these use cases resonate with my specific business and industry needs?