While blockchain technology can be tough to regulate, it is making small strides into mainstream use.
Some countries are timid about venturing into blockchain due to its tough-to-regulate persona. As such, this has traditionally made it difficult to take mainstream and implement in an impactful manner.
However, there are signs that blockchain is making strides toward mainstream use.
The latest companies to push forward on this effort are credit card company Visa and superstore Walmart.
Late last year, Visa shared news of its intention to develop a blockchain-based payment method, the Visa B2B Connect. Through this venture, Visa is hoping to make global B2B payments for financial institutions both fast and secure. In partnership with tech company Chain, Visa will be utilizing Chain Core to conduct financial transactions on blockchain networks.
While Visa said in its release that it plans to do a pilot launch of B2B Connect in 2017, no specific date has been set.
What may be the kink in the Visa B2B Connect blockchain-based offering is expertise in the area. Reports that the credit card company is still looking to hire blockchain engineers with Ripple or Ethereum expertise have started to circulate within the past week.
Earlier this month, we reported on Walmart’s patent filing that indicates its plans to move forward with a blockchain-based drone delivery service. Dubbed “Unmanned aerial delivery to secure location,” this patent shared deep-rooted details about how the retail giant is planning to implement this offering.
Specifically, Walmart is planning to use blockchain to help track and identify packages out on delivery. While this technology also has the power to monitor things like temperature and courier authentication, it’s likely that this is another move in the war to compete with eCommerce giant Amazon.
Just last week, Walmart fanned the Amazon flames by telling the tech companies it works with to stop using the eCommerce company’s cloud services.
In blockchain news this week, we’ve seen a lot of action.
German-based software company SAP’s Chief Strategy Officer, Deepak Krisnamurthy, commented on the technology with CNBC at the World Economic Forum’s annual June meeting. He said, “We believe blockchain will complement our supply chain. We have the largest supply chain product in the enterprise software industry, so having blockchain supply chains connect with SAP supply chains is going to be value-creating for our customers.”
Krisnamurthy goes on to say that the use of blockchain will also enable SAP to automate a lot of processes, such as letters of credit and smart contracts.
Meanwhile, IBM is building out blockchain technology that’s set to be used by seven of Europe’s largest banks. This week, IBM shared its intent for developing a blockchain-based technology for its work with these banks in an effort to enable an easier way for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to trade in the enterprise.
Wiebe Draijer, chairman of the executive board at Rabobank, one of the banks participating with this blockchain venture, commented to CNBC about its push in the hyperledger space. He said, “There are many many tests, and every bank and every FinTech is experimenting with use cases of blockchain. We are moving a step further with seven banks, putting together an application based on blockchain, where we facilitate small- and medium-sized enterprises when they export. And the blockchain technology is very powerful and supports that proposition.”
As it seems blockchain is on the precipice of entering into mainstream use, it’s likely that it still has a long way to go in terms of education about the technology and developing solid use cases for future implementation.