Whether it’s digital identity, voting, real estate, government, energy, healthcare or financial services, blockchain technology offers tremendous potential. And that potential, promised for so long by blockchain proponents, is starting to be realized.
As an example, Dutch startup Circularise, a decentralized information storage and communication platform, has just received €1.5 million ($1.8m) of funding via the EU’s Horizon 2020 program. Its goal? To track the lifecycle of plastics to help eco-conscious companies assess their environmental impact and refine recycling processes.
This particular concept isn’t new, of course. Californian software company VMWare is working with Dell to collect ocean-bound plastics, relying on an enterprise blockchain to track packaging materials. Recycling firm RecycleGo, meanwhile, recently joined forces with DeepDive Technology Group to develop a new product using Hyperledger Fabric, one they hope enables them to map the entire history of every single plastic bottle.
Conglomerates Investing Big in Enterprise Blockchain
Blockchains have proven to be incredibly useful for companies seeking to track materials across supply chains, with transparent, immutable audit trails helping organizations achieve environmental targets – many of which are set by the government.
It’s not just plastics, either. Many conglomerates are investing heavily in blockchain to bring about efficiencies in their operations. From Amazon and IBM to BMW and Facebook, the latter via its much-hyped Libra cryptocurrency, major names are becoming highly active in the industry.
Cypherium, a smart contract platform that enables enterprise use cases for all industries, is one of many entities that stands ready to assist companies keen to add another use case to blockchain. Created by former software developers at Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Tencent, the general-purpose blockchain doubles as an instant ledger that processes real-time transactions and a trusted database connecting isolated data islands. Crucially, it is capable of integrating with business applications, legacy transaction systems, and parallel blockchain networks.
Cypherium just announced the opening of its crowdsale registration portal, enabling participants to make a claim for Cypherium Tokens (CPH), which function as gas for executing smart contracts and transacting on-chain. Interestingly, Cypherium is one of the first blockchain companies to develop blockchain applications alongside Google, as popular crypto YouTuber Mr Kristof noted in a recent vlog.
Can Enterprise Blockchain Satisfy Regulators?
Another project, Concordium, has a similar ambition. A regulator-friendly, business-oriented blockchain, it too supports easy-to-deploy smart contracts and plans to launch its mainnet early next year. Its USP is an ID layer at the protocol level, meaning enterprises can comply with legal or regulatory orders to identify counterparts to transactions on the network.
Concordium is nonetheless advertised as pro-privacy, since users can transact in private without broadcasting their operations or financial information on a public blockchain. In other words, while external observers cannot possibly match transactions to specific accounts, Concordium can deanonymize users if a government requests it.
Naturally, that last caveat is unlikely to pass muster with the pro-privacy libertarians who constitute a large percentage of crypto token-holders. Regardless, satisfying regulators is something that may have to happen if enterprise blockchain is to see true liftoff.
Commercial blockchain adoption, spurned by heightened interest from institutional investors and tech-focused grants programs, is likely to increase in the years to come. Enterprise-grade platforms like Cypherium, Concordium, Corda, and Hyperledger Fabric, meanwhile, will continue to capture the interest of curious firms enticed by the many possibilities of blockchain.