How blockchain can benefit Thai businesses
Technology offers help with verification of transactions and protection of data in an age of rising privacy concerns.
It is high time that businesses started to embrace blockchain. The enabling power of this disruptive technology can no longer be ignored. Businesses that have been among the early adopters say their peers could also reap immense benefits by incorporating it into their operations.
Admittedly, it's not hard to understand why many people have trouble grasping how blockchain works, not to mention how it could be incorporated into a wide range of business activities. Most people still associate blockchain only with cryptocurrency, and unless they are crypto investors themselves, they are put off by the impenetrable fog of tech jargon that surrounds it.
But blockchain -- or distributed ledger technology to give it its generic name -- goes beyond just cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Blockchain products are now emerging that can help enable data transparency and protection, support fractional ownership or ownership of any asset of value, optimisation of business operations, identify verification, and interoperability of devices that underpin business or bureaucratic processes.
AUDIT LOGS AND DIGITAL ID
Businesses, for example, can unify their data infrastructure by enabling privacy audit logging through blockchain. Blockchain protects records and information throughout the audit trail, which records evidence of transaction activity or information on occurrences within a specific time. Integrating the audit trail in business databases limits fraudulent activities, and encourages transparency.
When transactions are made on a blockchain-based audit log, records of those transactions are extractable as proof that they were made. This is also applicable to other industries.
Another booming blockchain product is digital identity verification. A digital ID is created for each user to engage in an online activity. This system makes user documentation faster, easier and cheaper when compared with manually entering user information.
A blockchain-based ID verification system is best suited for large businesses, especially in the retail industry where providers deal with a great number of consumers. In addition to recording orders and locations where goods are to be delivered, delivery notifications will be confirmed through the blockchain audit log, and the history of transactions made during the course of delivering the goods made available for confirmation.
Another ID verification system is self-sovereignty. This system gives users the power to choose which information they wish to provide, and can be erasable anytime. It responds to the growing desire of people to protect their privacy, and is in line with new legal structures such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
THE FUTURE OF BLOCKCHAIN
The quest for more innovations to better everyone's lives has been a hallmark of the IT-powered revolution of the last three decades, and the emergence of blockchain has demonstrated that.
There could be three implications attached to integrating blockchain technology into more activities. First is the possibility of a decentralised token currency, which will convert traditional currencies and assets into tokens.
Second is the possibility that the operational efficiency of governments can be made more transparent, and the protection of citizens' data such as identity cards and birth documents will be more properly managed.
Third, anything of value can be digitised -- the name of the owner of a house can be recorded on a blockchain -- transfer of ownership can also be done on the blockchain conveniently and cheaply without the need of intermediaries.
On top of this, asset ownership can be fractionalised -- costs can be shared. Furthermore, these digital assets could be exchanged for other digital assets (or coins) via decentralised exchanges in the future.
Blockchain technology, however, is not limited to businesses. It is applicable to other industries and government institutions. Organisations that have not yet heeded the call of technological transformation are headed for potential disaster if they cannot adjust to the pace of innovation that technologies such as blockchain represent.
For those that are uncertain about how to adopt a blockchain strategy, a growing number of companies with expertise in the field are taking root, ready to advise on making the next transition from the physical world to the digital world.
Jirayut Srupsrisopa is the CEO of Bitkub Group, an integrated blockchain technology developer and digital asset company.