Phillip Nunn comments on how he believes that blockchain technology will transform more than just the financial sector
Phillip Nunn has become a well-known, online influencer in the blockchain and crypto space and has travelled the world evangelising and talking on these subjects. Phillip has sat on the advisory boards of many ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) over the past 12 months and has helped structure and fund some of the biggest companies of the future.
I wasn’t surprised when I heard Forbes has described 2018 as the year that blockchain will ‘establish itself’. It is the fastest growing technology since the evolution of the internet. Cryptocurrency and bitcoin are shaking up the financial sector at a rapid pace, but I believe that the technology behind it, blockchain, can transform every sector.
Blockchain is described as a ‘decentralised database’, in other words, it is not owned by a bank, institution or a “middle man”.
Consumers and businesses spend billions of pounds a year on administration services which act as ‘middle man’. They are trusted bodies which manage our data and finances, but unfortunately many of us have still fallen victim to fraudulent transactions or data breaches following a break down in the process. Blockchain hands this control back to the consumer, eliminating the ‘middle man’ and consequently reducing the risk of data theft.
In fact, blockchain is owned by a network of people and is managed from personal computers so there is no need for a ‘middle man’. Information can be stored on a ‘block’ which has an encrypted ‘hash’ within it, a ‘hash’ provides a similar function to signatures when a cheque is signed. Each block is linked to one another through the ‘hack’, therefore if anyone attempts to change or alter the information it would disrupt the entire block, making it very difficult for anyone to attempt to steal the data. It is this safeguarding and security that is starting to convince businesses and consumers to opt for blockchain technology, in favour of choosing a third-party institution to manage data for them. Imagine what this could mean for the industry? It would be a huge shake up.
Encouragingly, companies all over the world are willing to review their current processes and procedures, to see how blockchain can improve the way they operate. Reuters recently reported the Chinese trading company Sinochem exported a Gasoline Shipment to Singapore using blockchain technology, the first time it has been used as part of the commodity system. The adoption of digital bills and smart contracts streamlined the transaction process, ultimately reducing the financial costings by up to 20-30%.
Now Sinochem has taken this first step, I suspect other energy companies will explore the blockchain market and continue to review how it could benefit their business. There is already speculation that BP and Eni have been experimenting with blockchain based trading platforms, a move that I believe could save the sector millions in transaction fees.
However, it isn’t just corporations, businesses and institutions which need to think about blockchain, the average consumer should too. People often associate blockchain with money, but there is so much more we can gain from it.
When we do our weekly supermarket shop for instance, we often have a variety of products to chose from; ‘Coffee grown in the depths of South America’, ‘Wine matured in the vine yards of France’, ‘Handmade chocolates by a Dutch chocolatier’.
In Shanghai, fashion companies are recording item information on a blockchain. When the consumer is purchasing the product, they can scan a tag attached to the item to view the “story”, tracing the product information back to its origin. The concept prevents the mis-selling of products by some of the world’s largest brands – simple and effortless for the customer.
There are so many ways in which blockchain can change the way we live day to day. Companies like Medicalchain are using the technology to offer individuals control of their own health records. They argue that creating an incorruptible medical record will empower patients to be at the centre of their own care and will support practitioners, nurses and clinicians with the life changing decisions on the future of a person’s health.
There is no doubt technology will evolve rapidly in the next few years and we’ll need to adapt and adjust to keep up. Companies, like 65-year-old Sinochem, are racing to be known as innovators using the smartest technology in their industry. Blockchain will shape our future, as a business owner, entrepreneur and father, I certainly do not want to be left in the dust.