There’s talk everywhere that blockchain will disrupt every industry and completely change how we do business. Blockchain is in its early stages, with mainstream adoption and integration still yet to happen. However, with the potential to change how ownership and transactions are verified or transferred, blockchain has shown the potential to enable new industry models and disrupt existing ones. Blockchain startups are eager to release the next advancement or niche down and disrupt a specific industry using blockchain technology.
But the fact is, you don’t need to disrupt an industry to serve it. Instead of looking for the unicorn idea that will completely transform the way we do business, look for more minor, more manageable ways to serve your industry or solve pain points.
The path forward is a lot clearer, but the odds of success are much higher. Let’s look at how blockchain can improve the processes and structures we already have to support existing business systems and provide more access, greater efficiencies, and more security.
Blockchain is touted to transform the way most things are done, and the hype surrounding blockchain’s disruptive potential is real. The anticipated paradigm shift has brought in startups and tech vendors rushing to figure out earth-shaking ways to use the technology to create real-world applications across numerous industries, from healthcare and mobile payments to financial services. Due to the natural resistance toward totally new stuff, it may be difficult for disruptive technology to attack traditional business models and offer lower-cost solutions that will completely overturn existing business models.
A better way would be for startups to use blockchain as a foundational technology and apply its many attributes to create smaller, easily digestible processes that would improve the current business process at a slow and steady pace as blockchain adoption gains momentum. The internet and client-server craze of the 1980s and 1990s serve as an excellent example that process automation is only valuable when it translates into tangible processes that noticeably improve business opportunities.
Similarly, blockchain startups should consider investing in more minor approaches that harness the technology’s ability to create techniques that help businesses improve existing and emerging opportunities. Some important aspects to consider include:
Look for blockchain use cases that reduce time and cost, thus enhancing efficiency. For example, Corda has collaborated with over 55 banks to create new structures for financial product settlement. Corda re-designed the existing settlement processes to enable the removal of redundancies and eliminate duplication in financial agreements.
Blockchain startups can capitalize on the need by decision-makers to implement blockchain smart contracts that increase the agility or flexibility of business processes and thereby increase the speed and ease of responding to changes. The field of self-executing smart contracts designed to execute activities once pre-set conditions have been met automatically has excellent potential.
With blockchain gaining traction and making its presence felt in different business processes, some examples of existing areas that blockchain tech vendors can target with potential for success both in acceptance and application include:
The supply chain is not only complicated and cumbersome but also a prolonged process that can take days between making a payment to the manufacturer or supplier and the customer or vendor receiving their goods. Agreements that require bankers and lawyers can add additional costs and delays, and it’s often hard to trace products back to suppliers, making defects challenging to eliminate.
The supply chain management field requires solutions offering real-time analytical systems that can efficiently manage the flow of goods and services or processes that involve converting raw materials into manufactured goods via supply chain networks. Startups can consider investing in blockchain-based apps that streamline the workflow and steer processes in the right direction.
Target industries involved in supply chain activities include farming, manufacturing, refining, packaging, and transportation. Potential tangible benefits for targeted industries include better inventory management, order management, logistics, shipping details, return management, and analytics and forecasting.
Identity theft is becoming a common type of online fraud at an alarming rate. Most people only become aware their identity has been stolen when the harm is already done. The rising cases of identity fraud are a good entry point for blockchain startups seeking to introduce tangible changes to concerned organizations. Governments and companies are hungry for a solution that offers a simpler, faster, and safer way for people to prove their identity.
Physical venues, websites, and businesses where proper identification is a necessity can all benefit from an interoperable and tamper-proof solution.
A blockchain-based personal finance solution would be among the most pleasing things anyone can consider deploying in the market. Millions of consumers are focused on their earnings and savings. A solution that helps users easily categorize and track their income and expense activities in real-time and gives them a better understanding of personal finance management would be a welcome help.
The tangible benefits of such a solution would be better transparency and traceability, reduced counterparty risks, enhanced security and safety, and decreased risks of error and reconciliation.
There’s more to blockchain than simple cryptocurrencies, as startups everywhere use its power and potential to become game-changers in different industries. While it’s good to focus on the many untapped frontiers, it’s a good thing to realize that there are many other existing processes that blockchain can make more effective and efficient.
Launching a blockchain startup can be highly profitable. Still, startups must study blockchain’s adaptability and flexibility to fill in small gaps here and there that standard models are struggling with. Instead of working to force a solution that’s not yet ready for the market that could lead to a dead-end, consider smaller bit-size solutions that are ready for real-life use.