Influencers from around the world will gather for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland next week, where leaders are encouraged “to develop a shared perspective on political, economic, and social topics to embrace positive change globally.” Talks will explore free and open source tools and practices as well as the underlying technologies, and one of the hotly debated subjects will certainly be blockchain.
Blockchain technology, which encompasses smart contracts and distributed ledgers, can be used to record promises, trades, and transactions. It allows everyone in an ecosystem to keep a copy of the common system of record, and nothing can ever be erased or edited. When transactions are processed in blocks according to the ordering of a blockchain, the result is a distributed ledger.
Open source collaboration
Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. Member organizations from within finance, banking, manufacturing, and technology are helping steer the project, which aims to provide the modular components that will allow enterprises to build the solutions they need.
Headlines frequently herald how blockchain technology will revolutionize financial services markets, but blockchain will also have a transformative impact on everything from the food industry to healthcare. While some companies are looking at blockchain’s future impact, the technology is changing our world right now. According to a Forbes article, blockchain is revolutionizing contracts, payment processing, asset protection, and supply chain management. And, a market intelligence report by BIS Research reports that blockchain-driven cost savings of $30 to $40 billion per year will be achieved in trade finance.
“Blockchain has the potential to be highly transformative to any company that processes payments,” Forbes noted. “It can eliminate the need for intermediaries that are common in payment processing today.”
The future is now
Meanwhile, blockchain technology is already impacting various industries. In the area of global food supply chain management, for example, Intel is collaborating with the Hyperledger community to implement a modern approach to seafood traceability. Using the Hyperledger Sawtooth framework, the seafood journey can now be recorded from ocean to table.
Dot Blockchain Media (dotBC) is using Hyperledger Sawtooth to build a music content rights registry that will help musicians express their rights and commercialize their art in an interoperable file format. And, as reported by HealthCareITNews, Change Healthcare just launched an enterprise-scale blockchain network using distributed ledger technology. This Intelligent Healthcare Network, built on Hyperledger Fabric, allows hospitals, physicians, and payers to track the real-time status of healthcare claims, thereby providing greater transparency and efficiency.
Given the potential impact of these and other efforts, Hyperledger is likely to feature prominently in talks at Davos. According to a recent Hyperledger post: “Companies large and small, IT vendors and end-user organizations, consortiums and NGOs — everyone took notice of Hyperledger in 2017 and made moves to get involved. This was evident in the ever increasing Hyperledger membership, which nearly doubled in size.” Hyperledger now has support from 197 organizations, which will allow the project to double the resources they can apply toward building and supporting the community in 2018.
Now is a great time to find out more about blockchain and Hyperledger. Case studies, a webinar, and training resources are available from Hyperledger.org. Additionally, Hyperledger incubates and promotes a range of business blockchain technologies, including distributed ledger frameworks, smart contract engines, client libraries, utility libraries, graphical interfaces, and sample applications. You can find out more about these projects here.