In a new survey released by business software information firm Capterra on Tuesday (April 24), small businesses (SMBs) revealed their interest in blockchain technology — though not enough to make the leap into adoption.
According to the report, 54 percent of SMBs said they are either evaluating, using or planning to use blockchain, saying it is beneficial to their business, but not necessary.
“Blockchain may not be a necessary requirement right now, but it should also not be discounted for future consideration,” said Capterra Senior Analyst and Content Manager Tirena Dingeldein in a statement. “It is predicted that blockchain will have a significant impact on small businesses in the next 10 years.”
SMBs may not be driving enterprise blockchain adoption, but large enterprises could be the force that pull their small business partners into using distributed ledger technology. This week’s rundown of the latest news in blockchain comes from some of the biggest names on the market, including Amazon, Walmart and even Grammy-winning recording artist Pitbull, with several of these firms’ initiatives having broader implications for SMB customers and partners.
Also making an appearance in this week’s Blockchain Tracker are players interested in wielding blockchain for regulatory purposes, including an effort to use the technology for GDPR compliance in the U.K..
Amazon’s latest initiative with blockchain involves Amazon Web Services (AWS), which now enables users to access AWS Blockchain Templates to build their own Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric cloud-based networks. The tools act as frameworks for secure blockchain networks for easier blockchain enterprise app development and deployment.
“AWS Blockchain Templates allow you to focus on building your blockchain applications instead of spending time and energy on manual setup of your blockchain network,” AWS said in its announcement last week.
Walmart, one of Amazon’s largest rivals, wants to deploy blockchain for its own operations as it explores using IBM-run blockchain technology to manage its supply chain, according to Bloomberg reports. The move would require Walmart suppliers of product and other food items to use blockchain technology for more efficient tracking and management of these perishable products.
Walmart began testing IBM blockchain tech in 2016 but said it is ready to use the supply chain management solution for its live foods business. Vice President of Food Safety and Health at the retailer, Frank Yiannas, said this week at the MIT Technology Review’s Business of Blockchain conference that it could reduce the time it takes to track products in the supply chain from six days to two seconds.
Pitbull, born Armando Christian Pérez, is perhaps best known for his music, but the Grammy winner is also a serial entrepreneur, and his latest venture wants blockchain to support the music industry.
Reports in CNBC this week said Pitbull announced the launch of Smackathon, a blockchain coding competition encouraging coders to use Ethereum to address challenges in the music industry. That could include artist royalty payments, playlist curation and beyond, the publication said. The hackathon event is partnering with Zeppelin, which operates the OpenZeppelin platform for developers.
“We’re not only looking to invest, but we’re interested in helping bring the ideas to market, grow them and make them a reality, if possible,” said Manny Medina, founder of Medina Capital and EVP of eMerge Americas, which is co-producing the hackathon event with Pitbull through its annual conference in Miami Beach.
The world’s second-largest stock exchange, Nasdaq, recently vowed it is “all in” on blockchain, according to Head of Blockchain Product Management Johan Toll. He told reporters at TheStreet that Nasdaq wants to use blockchain to facilitate its own transactions and support third-party marketplaces.
Nasdaq is in the midst of several collaborations involving blockchain, reports said, including one with Citigroup to develop an integrated payment system to facilitate securities trading. The company also created a proprietary blockchain platform enabling shareholders to vote on company matters, including acquisitions and board elections.
National Bank of Dubai
One of the Middle East’s largest banks, National Bank of Dubai, announced it has successfully implemented a blockchain-based solution to prevent check fraud. The tool prints a Quick Response (QR) code on each check, then records that check data onto a blockchain platform. Dubbed Cheque Chain, the solution is in its first month of deployment, reports in Cointelegraph said.
Working with R3, Finastra said this week its blockchain lending platform designed for financial institutions is now live. Fusion LenderComm is now available as an app on R3’s Corda platform, the company announced at the LSTA Operations Conference.
“The successful completion of the Fusion LenderComm pilot — which included some of the leading syndicated lenders in the world — demonstrates strong momentum towards gaining critical mass for a global marketplace for syndicated lending and loan trading,” said Simon Paris, Finastra’s deputy CEO, in a statement. “We’re excited to be able to bring this to the wider market today. Our continued investment in technologies such as distributed ledger reinforces our commitment to working alongside other innovators, to bring our clients leading-edge solutions that solve their most pressing operational challenges.”
Market research company YouGov wants blockchain to facilitate GDPR compliance, according to AdExchanger reports. GDPR rules come into force later this year in Europe and impose new data storage and security requirements for companies of all sizes. As a research and market analysis firm, YouGov holds troves of data, although it also aggregates and sells personal data to ad technology firms and publishers. According to reports, YouGov is looking at blockchain to ensure compliance to GDPR.
“The blockchain, being visible and public, shows a receipt for the information used,” said YouGov CEO Stephan Shakespeare in a statement. “That lets people know their permissions are being respected.”
The company designed a blockchain tool that alerts individuals when a third party is using their personal data, reports said. The system also records that alert in a public ledger. Blockchain could also facilitate automated consent notices as users take YouGov surveys.
California is the U.S.’ latest state to explore a blockchain bill that would aim to promote innovation and use of a distributed ledger.
Senator Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat and representative for San Fernando Valley, has introduced a bill in California’s state legislature that would “establish a secure method to issue and transfer corporate share certificates,” a press release said.
The legislation was presented to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.
“Blockchain represents the future of the financial industry, government contracts, stock certificates and more,” the press release said. “Several U.S. states, as well as countries all over the world, have embraced blockchain technology as a more secure way of doing many kinds of business.”