Blockchain is best known as the enabling technology behind the digital asset and payment network Bitcoin. This technology is enabling businesses, industries, and public organisations to almost instantaneously make and verify transactions, streamline business processes, save money, and reduce the potential for fraud.
However, this only scratches the surface in terms of the capabilities and what is possible when innovative businesses tap into the true power and potential of Blockchain to be more responsive to market changes, disruption and changing customer expectations.
For instance, Cape Town-based company, The Sun Exchange, plans on employing Blockchain to create smart contracts, which will allow anyone, anywhere to own as well as earn money (Bitcoin or local currency) from solar panels. People are able to purchase solar cells and then go on to lease them to schools and businesses located throughout Africa.
Another example is Avenews-GT, which is an ecosystem for the international and local trade of agricultural produce. The company aims to empower farmers by enabling them to participate in the global market.
The business provides a digital trading platform based on blockchain technology and consequently, enables verified agri-businesses, farmers, and commercial agri-buyers to transact directly with each other locally and globally, to reduce distribution costs, create financial security and increase supply chain transparency.
Making Blockchain accessible to every organisation on the planet
This kind of technology is not the exclusive abode of large corporations with huge budgets, and Microsoft is focused on making it simpler for companies of any size to benefit from technology powering the digital transformation revolution.
Microsoft Azure Blockchain provides a platform for organisations of all sizes to collaborate by experimenting with new business processes and contracts to streamline everything from supply chains to trading in capital markets.
Azure Blockchain makes the benefits of a distributed ledger ecosystem available to your business and these benefits extend far beyond the financial services and technology sectors. For example, in the public sector, a secure, distributed ledger can provide more openness and transparency, and for industries such as the healthcare sector, blockchains eliminate all the cumbersome, costly third-party verifiers such as health information exchanges by directly linking patient records to clinical and financial stakeholders.
So while Blockchain is a fundamental technology behind the hyped cryptocurrencies, it is capable of much more – from changing existing business models and creating innovative businesses through to supporting applications based on Blockchain.
Through Azure Blockchain many more organisations will be able to capitalise on this technology and disrupt industries through their innovative applications of and uses for the technology.
By Michael Glaros, Senior Program Manager with the Microsoft Azure Blockchain engineering team