Enterprise Blockchain – getting ready for prime time

“The experimentation phase is over. We will be seeing companies build up blockchain ecosystems to connect with a network of their suppliers, with the intent of solving broad business problems related to flexibility and efficiency,” said Arun Ghosh, Principal in Digital Enablement at KPMG, and authority on blockchain.

Enterprises today face multiple challenges in utilizing blockchain for their business. These range from problems involving the complexity of developing applications utilizing one or more suitable blockchain protocols, deploying complex networks across multiple cloud services and integrating the various parts including devices & sensors and with existing / legacy enterprise applications. These problems are further exacerbated when you consider the many challenges across application security, performance, data integrity & visibility for business insight and the overall governance of the business processes that utilize these applications. Is it worth the effort?

Blockchain is not a transformation technology for the enterprise. However, when integrated with business processes and systems it brings a layer of distributed trust to improve the quality of data shared between vested parties. The distributed nature of blockchain lends itself to near instantaneous propagation of changes in data thereby bringing efficiency and interoperability.

For over a year, The Fabric has been tracking the enterprise use of blockchain. We see permissioned semi-private (also knowns as federated) blockchain driving more value to the enterprise. Beyond Financial services, we see Life Science, Health care, Energy, Technology, Manufacturing industries ripe for adopting blockchain. Within these industries, we see the initial use case will be Supply chain – Tack and Trace and Proof of ownership – Record, and Verification.

Many consortiums are forming around leading blockchain platforms. We are tracking well over 30 consortia and  R3, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, Hyperledger, Ripple seem to be establishing themselves as the leaders. The game of shifting alliances is ongoing and as with any technology when the dust settles the top 3 leaders will be established.

This brings us to our hypothesis that interoperability between winning chains and integration with legacy business process system will be essential to reduce the friction of utilizing blockchain for business. Ripples release of Interledger is a start in addressing interoperability between chains however it is only limited to connecting financial systems. We assert that there is a need for a blockchain application platform as a service to accelerate enterprise adoption of blockchain.

The Fabric has closely collaborated with a team of blockchain experts over past several months and recently has co-created a new venture, Copper Wire Systems, with them. Copper Wire Systems’ mission is to Maximize and accelerate the value realization of Blockchain technology for enterprises. Copper Wire Systems offers an advanced blockchain application platform as a service, focused on enabling enterprises to easily deploy, secure, monitor, and manage blockchain-enabled enterprise applications that power modern, trusted, intelligent enterprise business networks. More on Copper Wire Systems at http://copperwire.io/