Big corporations, sometimes with more than hundred years in business, start to embrace blockchain in their daily business operations. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Maersk were quick to implement distributed ledger or at least begin to study the advantages of it.
What’s blockchain for business?
A chain of blocks is just a piece of cryptographic art, a code that structures information in a way the humanity has never used before. A piece of information that’s being loaded to a computer is really being loaded too many computers sometimes scattered across the globe. This information cannot be altered as it’s connected with other pieces of data like wagons in a train, and it’s kept by many computers (more than two with the sky being the limit). So, trying to change any part of it will require changing it in the whole blockchain, on all the machines in a network, which is merely impossible.
But why a business that’s been successful for decades or centuries needs blockchain?
Just imagine: transportation of a container from Africa to Europe requires the involvement of minimum 30 persons with 200 communications between them. A bill of lading is fulfilled by one specialist, then a container is loaded, then transported by a truck to a port where it is handled by customs officers, supervisory authorities; upon the inspection, it’s transferred to a container ship.
A supply chain is rather long, with the participation of many people speaking different languages and using different formats of communication, from a word document to e-mails and messengers. No surprise that the shipping industry needs a lot of intermediaries like insurance companies, ship surveyors, tallymen and so on.
Even with these parties involved, information is often missed and altered, including criminal cases. That’s why a Danish sea giant Maersk, No. 1 in container shipping in the world, starts to embrace blockchain in its operations, other logistics companies are following the suit.
Blockchain is most useful in businesses that are dealing with a lot of counterparts and need to tie them up by unified standards of information exchange. For example, banks are daily swapping great amounts of assets like money, gold, bonds, shares etc. There is a “supply chain” here which is as complicated as in the logistics industry – clearing houses, depositories and other entities needed to ensure smooth transactions and securing interests and prevent missing of information.
Many of these intermediaries will be reduced with the introduction of a blockchain platform that enables it possible to pass assets through smart contracts with securing it in stone. A Swiss bank UBS is now designing the platform which has already been joined by many other institutions and companies from across the financial sector.
More blockchain in photo industry means fewer scandals and pain
Another important application of blockchain can be seen in an industry that deals with a product which can be replicated limitless and altered, first of all, we mean photography. Photo stocks and creators are now facing some problems which they don’t know how to handle, i. e. securing copyright and tracking usage of images. A few powerful startups like IPStock are coming onto the scene with own ideas of how to solve these problems. Though existing stocks can also join the revolution.
Which problems can be solved with the help of blockchain besides securing ownership rights and payments to the creator?
We think the most important challenge here is ensuring that images are properly understood. Yes, we mean an understanding, not just using. There are two aspects here: having the right description of what’s pictured and the possibility to find an original version of a photo to see which alterations to it had been made.
The right description:
An Arabian photographer Abdul Aziz al Otaibi took a picture of a boy lying in between graves of his parents in Syria. That was not the graves and the boy wasn’t an orphan, neither the photo was taken in Syria, which al Otaibi pointed out when publishing the picture on Facebook. But Internet users shared this as an orphan with his late relatives.
Blockchain makes it possible to attach a description to a photo and find the original version of it in seconds thus reducing the space for misinterpretations to zero.
The original version. In the Soviet Union, political moguls would fall out of favour from time to time. So there was a need to doctor photos to remove them from the pictures featuring the Soviet’s leader Joseph Stalin with them.
There are a lot of examples of it on the Internet, so historians have still some difficulties in restoring the real political landscape of the country. If the blockchain technology had existed half a century ago, there would have been much fewer possibilities to having the history retouched. That’s right for many cases of manipulation of public opinion with the help of photoshopped pictures or for cases when mere slovenliness took place.
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