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How close are we to a blockchain revolution?

How close are we to a blockchain revolution

Fujitsu’s approach to a potentially transformative technology

At Fujitsu, we believe we’re close. There’s a growing momentum behind the idea that the blockchain can be applied to many areas of both the economy and society. Blockchain is breaking free of its cryptocurrency origins. Yes, the blockchain is what makes a cryptocurrency work, but it can also be used for other purposes, from voting to signing contracts.

Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) enable cryptographic verification of identity or value. It’s a universal ledger that offers both transparency and longevity. It’s a way of consolidating agreement between individuals or entities that can be verified easily and securely. Because it’s decentralized it’s extremely hard to corrupt or hack.

It’s been called a ‘digitized consensus space’;[1] a place where distributed applications can be run, and smart contracts agreed and signed, and it offers certainty of exchange, certification of compliance to agreements, as well as an accurate way to distribute value in terms of either financial instruments or ideas and permissions.

Blockchain was created to ensure that a cryptocurrency could not be hacked and replicated. A lot of computer power needs to be put into what’s known as ‘Proof of Work’ to establish every Bitcoin and its true owner. And that’s the source of blockchain’s value to business and, possibly, government. It was designed so that any attempt to tamper with the ledger could easily be detected. A new research paper from PAC, Blockchain: The Opportunity Beyond the Hype, provides a comprehensive overview of the subject and is worth reading.[2]

At Fujitsu, we believe that the emergence of blockchain from the cryptocurrency space into other fields is a very positive development. We see a great future for DLT because it can be applied to a wide range of uses to deliver certainty and security for data of all kinds. Simply, blockchain can transform levels of trust in domains where it’s essential to speed innovation and commerce.

The way we think about data and how we store it can change radically. That’s vital in an era when data volumes are rising and how it can be analyzed and mined for value are improving exponentially. Some have called data ‘the new oil’ – but for a commodity to achieve its true potential it must be backed by a trust. Blockchain delivers it.

Financial services enterprises all over the world are looking hard at blockchain and DLT, and are working on proof-of-concept projects to work out how they can make the most of the opportunity. But we believe that the potential goes far beyond finance. And that’s why we are working closely with our customers to focus on real use cases that can yield benefits quickly. We believe that permissioned blockchain (either a private one, or as part of a consortium) should be where most work is done right now. That means transactions can be validated and processed by parties that are already recognized by the ledger, and helps them comply with various compliance needs (including money laundering etc.) which are only going to get tougher over the near-term.

Our laboratories started working on this technology a few years ago, and now we’re engaging with our customers in countries like Spain, UK and Belgium, to help them start on a journey to fulfilling the potential of blockchain. It’s not just about technology, it’s about how you can apply it to innovative ways of doing business and managing data to achieve a competitive edge. Our work as a premier partner and sponsor of the Hyperledger project proves what I was saying above: it’s identifying and addressing important features of DLT to establish a cross-industry open standard that can transform the way transactions are conducted globally.

That’s our approach: make blockchain work for all organizations so they can move forward on their digital transformation journey and innovate.

Read more about Blockchain, DLT and Fujitsu’s journey toward making them work as enterprise technologies here: http://www.fujitsu.com/global/solutions/industry/financial/white-paper-blockchain.html

[1] Radical Technologies by Adam Greenfield. Verso 2017
[2] Blockchain – The opportunity beyond the hype. 2017

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