IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Crowdfunding, education and the diamond trade: How blockchain is revolutionising business

Public blockchains are great for cryptocurrencies, but to get real value you need to go private

All technological breakthroughs aim to challenge the status quo, yet there are few proving to be as disruptive as blockchain. Its value to business is something of an accident, as it was originally designed as a means of verifying Bitcoin transactions. You'd be forgiven for thinking blockchain and cryptocurrency were synonymous, as the technology continues to be overshadowed by the platforms it was built to support.

A great deal of the early uptake of blockchain has been with cryptocurrencies and the financial sector, particularly with public blockchains, the largest of which is the Bitcoin network. These are open to anyone and have proven ideal for cryptocurrencies wishing to attain mass adoption.

However, private blockchains offer the same immutability and faster transaction speeds of a public blockchain, but provide greater oversight and opportunities to set permissioned access. These types of blockchain have the potential to be significantly more useful outside the confines of currency and are already beginning to reshape how businesses operate.

Diamonds

Blockchain is able to give each diamond a 'digital identity'

Although it may not be the first industry you'd associate with cutting edge technology, the ability to track the history of transactions with complete transparency is proving massively important for the trade of diamonds. In order for a diamond to be traded legitimately, both buyers and sellers must be able to chart its identity', the journey from a rough stone to the first cut and polish, otherwise stolen diamonds can slip through the net.

Startup firm Everledger, founded in 2015, recently partnered with IBM to deliver the first blockchain network to give a digital version of this identity to a traded diamond. This is having profound effects on the sourcing, trade and insurance of diamonds, according to CEO Leanne Kemp, whose company has processed over 1 million diamonds to date.

At IBM Interconnect earlier this year, Kemp explained that a shared ledger allows insurers and banks to access detailed and immutable records that are in sync for every participant on the blockchain. Transactions of every diamond on its network can be traced back to their original source, which is proving invaluable for police agencies trying to stamp out the sale of blood diamonds' procured from war-torn regions.

Insurance in particular stands to benefit massively, as, due to a lack of available data, there's often a "black hole" when it comes to the legitimacy of claims. This has resulted in an average loss of 15 per person per year in overheads, a total close to 35 billion per year lost to fraud, according to Everledger.

"The relationship that insurance companies and banks have with objects is vastly changing," said Kemp. "We understand that to bring together the identity of an object and enable the insurer to understand the risk of the object that they are insuring is something that's foreign to them today."

Featured Resources

The Total Economic Impact™ Of Turbonomic Application Resource Management for IBM Cloud® Paks

Business benefits and cost savings enabled by IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ of IBM Watson Assistant

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by Watson Assistant

Free Download

The field guide to application modernisation

Moving forward with your enterprise application portfolio

Free Download

AI for customer service

Discover the industry-leading AI platform that customers and employees want to use

Free Download

Recommended

Best business tablets 2022
Hardware

Best business tablets 2022

27 Jul 2022
CMO job description: What does a chief marketing officer do?
Business strategy

CMO job description: What does a chief marketing officer do?

9 Jun 2022
CFO job description: What does a chief financial officer do?
Business strategy

CFO job description: What does a chief financial officer do?

9 Jun 2022
What does a CISO do?
Careers & training

What does a CISO do?

12 May 2022

Most Popular

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security
Sponsored

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security

8 Aug 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

29 Jul 2022
The benefits of a hardware update for SMBs
Sponsored

The benefits of a hardware update for SMBs

2 Aug 2022