While Blockchain seems to encompass more and more scenarios, throughout the decade the IT industry will certainly find new ways to harness its potential. Experts from IBM, Oracle and Red Hat give us their vision on how this model can permeate various work and collaboration scenarios.
Generally, the concept of Blockchain is associated with cryptocurrencies – BitCoin in particular – and financial movements. But for technology itself, the Blockchain operating model, can become one of the main engines of the so-called Digital Transformation.
Specifically, and quoting David Uribe, Oracle CTO: “To talk about the evolution of the software offer from the impact of Blockchain, we must first understand what Blockchain is and how it works: Blockchain is a distributed journal, and in constant growth, in which the daily transactions of different processes are recorded. Blockchain was created to solve problems of mistrust and security since being a distributed book makes each person who belongs to the network have access to a backup copy of the information stored and registered daily.”
According to the Worldwide Blockchain Spending Guide, published by IDC last quarter, on a global scale, the use of Blockchain has become a trend that will reach US$6.6 billion this year, an increase of 50% compared to 2020, even with the Covid 19 pandemic happening.
This same study argues that Blockchain will affect the market for 10 technologies, in hardware, servers, external storage systems, network equipment, IaaS, software, the platform for Blockchain, security, as well as the services associated with business and IT.
In 2020, according to IDC, global spending on Blockchain was around US$4.1 billion, up 50% from 2019 and it suggests that by 2021, prominent value chains in the industry, enabled by Blockchain, will have extended their platforms to all their ecosystems, thus reducing transaction costs by 35%.
Thus, we asked the question: How will the software offering evolve from the impact of Blockchain?
David Uribe, CTO Oracle Colombia and Ecuador; Jaime Bejarano, General Manager of Red Hat for Colombia and Ecuador; and Martín Hagelstrom, Executive of Blockchain for IBM Latin America, give us their opinions.
David Uribe, CTO Oracle Colombia and Ecuador
What does Blockchain facilitate and why does it make it so secure?
The answer is simple: By having a replica of the information distributed among the different participants, the information is prevented from being changed, making it immutable. In terms of hacking, this is extremely positive, especially if one considers that for security reasons any information that is hacked in a single copy will be incompatible with the others and will prevent you from accessing and changing the information throughout the network.
The above, in addition, is also one of the main characteristics that differentiate this technology from traditional software. Well, if we see how the software worked previously, we can see that it saved the information in a single copy and could not be shared or accessed by another person.
That is why Blockchain begins to gain popularity in the cryptocurrency sector because if users need to pass money to another person, this transaction is controlled and monitored and there is no need for an intermediary since each transaction is reflected with Blockchain on the network.
The same happens with supply chains, since they record the process step by step: from its creation to the distribution process, allowing the sharing of shipping details, cold chains, product quality, distribution places and dates on which every action was carried out.
Another important point to highlight about Blockchain is the fingerprint or ‘hash’ that each block has and that allows it to be integrated with other blocks. That is, when the first block is born, it is created with a specific fingerprint that, to be compatible with other blocks, must be replicated in the creation of each of the blocks that are created from then on.
Hence the requirements that must be considered when creating or using Blockchain. These include:
- That it complies with a Blockchain standard. At Oracle, for example, we use Hyper Ledger Fabric.
- There cannot be a single participant who has the truth. There must be multiple versions of the truth that are spread across multiple participants.
- There must be a consensus mechanism for the news that is happening in the chain.
- It must ensure that it has the least possible human intervention, so the business rules of the chain must be written in programming languages. This is achieved with technologies such as the IoT, which directly send the information to the book and save each process or event.
- Business rules must be agreed upon by all parties and are agreed upon as a contract and must be written in a programming language so that it is the machine that performs those business rules and not a human being, to the most possible extent.
- The immutability of information: what is written is written.
- It must meet the demands of scalability because Blockchain is a technology that is constantly growing.
- You must comply with the security requirements related to enrollment keys.
And each of these requirements makes this technology so attractive, safe and efficient today. But what stands out the most and what differentiates this from other software is that it is impossible to change the information, erase data or make the collected data mutable.
W. Martín Hagelstrom, Blockchain Executive for IBM Latin America
Blockchain and new technologies are transforming industries in Latin America
By 2050, the world will need to feed more than 2 billion people. To help manage this scenario, IBM is working hand in hand with organizations in Latin America to transform agriculture and food in the region with Blockchain, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and the latest weather forecasting models from The Weather Company.
According to the OECD and FAO, it is estimated that agriculture in Latin America will grow by 17% in the next decade. While more than half of this growth will correspond to an increase in crop production, the amount of food that is lost in the region only at the sale level could feed more than 30 million people, in a region that today has 39 million undernourished people.
In turn, according to the World Health Organization, 77 million people contract foodborne illnesses each year in Latin America. With complex supply chains and a lack of transparency in food handling, the market is saturated with products that may not meet all necessary quality standards and certifications, thus causing diseases that could be preventable.
In this context, IBM’s Blockchain technology is being used in different ways to reduce losses, fraud, decrease the spread of foodborne illnesses, increase productivity and place food on more Latin American dishes.
IBM Food Trust, the only Blockchain network of its kind, was established to improve the visibility and safety of food through a business model based on shared value for all participants in the supply chain. The IBM Food Trust network is available in Latin America and today includes a wide range of producers, processors, distributors and retail participants, including Walmart, Carrefour and Nestlé.
In Latin America, the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) in Ecuador is already using technology to improve this problem. SSP has joined the IBM Food Trust Blockchain network to provide traceability and transparency to shrimp from farm to fork, thus giving consumers confidence and security about the products they are buying.
AgreeMarket, the first AgTech (agro + technology) start-up in Argentina, developed an online platform to optimize efficiency in the commercialization of agricultural commodities such as grains, oilseeds, by-products and specialties in the global and domestic market. AgreeMarket is using IBM Blockchain technology to develop a network that ensures the immutability of the negotiations and contracts that are celebrated within the platform. Currently, the company has more than 130 clients.
New technologies, such as Blockchain, have the potential to transform any industry, especially sectors with multiple environments, companies and organizations. Working together with the entire ecosystem, including producers, suppliers and distributors, we can help alleviate the pain points of key industries to support the healthy and sustainable growth of the population, such as the food sector, and ultimately help generate a consumption responsible throughout the population.
Jaime Bejarano, General Manager of Red Hat for Colombia and Ecuador
Blockchain: The key in the transformation of security
In the last decade, people began to talk about one of the most important contributions of open source, Blockchain, but it was only until 2013, when its use was strengthened and widespread, with the financial sector being one of the main users of these technologies due to its benefits.
Blockchain or chain of blocks is a type of network whose distribution facilitates the development of technologies such as cryptocurrency and what is known as the Internet of Value. It offers the possibility of reaching very high-security levels if we compare it with other technologies, which is why its use is so desired.
Among the main uses we find:
Banks and credit card operators are using some Blockchain implementations like ether for payments.
Digital assets, information record and transaction tracking.
There are two types of digital assets: resources that represent a real asset digitized as financial security, the title to an asset such as real estate and those that have been digitally created and have value, such as a photograph.
It is important to note the characteristics that digital assets have
- Ownership: they belong entirely to the owner.
- Traceability: Your history can be verified
- Negotiation: They can be exchanged
- No replication: They cannot be duplicated.
The impact of technologies on payment methods has been so important that it is used in financial solutions that enable updated and new capabilities to face industry challenges such as:
Digital CVV: Generation of dynamic CVVs to avoid fraud.
Digital Wallets: To safely store credit cards or digital money.
Wearable payments: Use of wearables to pay, in some touchless situations.
Blockchain is transforming P2P communication models, in which the central entity that controls communications is omitted, and a distributed model is generated that allows these to be decentralized. Blockchain is the technological solution that has provided security capabilities, no replication, traceability, no transactional repudiation or membership, among others.
Unquestionably, although its use is still timid, there are many banking scenarios for Blockchain, as well as in other areas of the financial industry such as insurance, reinsurance, money desks, etc.
In conclusion, Blockchain technology offers an innovative platform for a new decentralized and transparent transaction mechanism in industries and businesses. The inherited features of this technology enhance trust through transparency and traceability within any transaction of data, assets and financial resources.
Despite initial doubts about this technology, recently governments and large corporations have investigated to adapt and improve this technology in various application domains. There is still much to know, explore and take Blockchain to another level.
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