08.22.2016
By Rob Daly Editor-at-Large

Blockchain Waits for Killer App

08.22.2016 By Rob Daly Editor-at-Large

As Wall Street waits for blockchain’s killer application to arrive, two of the technology’s largest commercial backers recommend just a bit more patience.

Meeta Yadav, IBM

Meeta Yadav, IBM

“I think we are off to a good start,” said Meeta Yadav, chief data officer, blockchain technology at IBM during a panel discussion at the Blockchain NYC conference in Midtown Manhattan. “In the near future, we will see some live blockchains in production performing functions like compliance.”

In the meantime, IBM and Microsoft have adopted similar approaches and implemented digital-ledger technology within their businesses to see where they can reap the quickest benefits.

The corporate treasury is one example, suggested fellow panelist Yorke Rhodes, global business strategist, blockchain & identity at Microsoft.

In one internal project, IBM looks to save up to approximately $100 million annually for its global financing organization, added Yadav.

“We are going to achieve that by reducing the time it takes to resolve disputes from 40 days to 10 days,” she said.

Rhodes estimates that finding the business value proposition for adopting digital-ledger technology is only going to grow over the next couple of years.

“If we can define that, which more of a role for a business analyst than an engineer, we could uncover hundreds of use cases,” he said.

Yadav felt comfortable that her organization is reaching that point quickly or has already passed it.

“The more data I have, the more plan requests I receive and it’s hard to keep up with,” she noted.

The vendors also agree that adopting open-source develop is the best way to develop blockchain technologies without reinventing the wheel. Both are members of the open-source Hyperledger project, which is managed by the Linux Foundation.

The community-led development model provides a more economical application of scare blockchain expertise.

“Technology engineers are expensive right now,” said Rhodes. “The US has a shortage of 200,000 to 300,000 computer scientists across the industry currently.”

 

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