It’s Future in Enterprise Information Technology
1. There will be a continuous inflow of new ideas and new technologies that will be important and disruptive.
2. You will be so busy with your job that finding the time to review, understand and assimilate those new ideas and technologies will be very difficult.
It is because of these two dynamics that I (along with many of my peers not in Fintech) looked at the birth and growth of Bitcoin with amusement rather than deep professional interest. However, it now seems nearly inevitable that Blockchain, the enabling technology for Bitcoin, will be a significant disruptive technology for Enterprise IT.
More than 1,300 professionals made their way to New York City in the first week of May to attend “Consensus 2016,” a convention built around realizing the application of the Blockchain technology. This was not a gathering of fringe enthusiasts. In fact, the Governor of Delaware announced that he was directing his state to enable Blockchain applications to make it easier to do business in Delaware. Deloitte, a very large accounting firm, also used the conference to announce 5 new strategic partnerships focused on Blockchain.
Blockchain is essentially a distributed data base platform with a very hardened and continuously growing list of data records. It becomes a distributed ledger containing tamper-proof transactions. The block chain consists of blocks that hold timestamped valid transactions. Each block contains the hash of the prior block that effectively links the blocks together, forming a chain. The Bitcoin application was one for financial interchange but the platform itself is basically a giant network of connected computers that are all operating together to form a version of the truth, what has been called “a global trust machine.”
The platform can potentially be used for any number of applications where trust and identity are vital. Deloitte’s newly announced strategic partnerships are focused mainly in financial applications but Gem, a Blockchain solutions company, is working on applications in health care such as a Patient Wellness Application, Global Patient Identification and Secure Electronic Health Records. Just this past March 2016, the nation of Estonia partnered with Guardtime, a Blockchain company, to secure and facilitate interoperability for its nationwide Electronic Health Records system.
IBM had already offered a cloud-based Blockchain but also announced at the end of April that they released a framework for running Blockchain networks. This framework securely enables enterprise players in industries, such as financial services, healthcare and government, to conduct work on a Blockchain in compliance with relevant security regulations.
Microsoft formed a partnership with a New York-based startup called R3 CEV and will lead a group of more than 40 banks (including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley) in an effort to develop industry standards for Blockchain technology. The Hyperledger Project is another effort to develop standards. IBM, J.P. Morgan, CME Group, DTCC and others are contributors to that project.
It is actually exciting and interesting to see the traction that the technology is getting across different industries and the corresponding embrace from old and new technology companies. Blockchain is certainly something to keep our eyes on as it potentially settles into the fabric of Enterprise Information Technology.
Chief Technology Officer