Blockchain Implementation Strategies

February 7, 2019

Jacob Kostecki

Blockchain Implementation Strategies

So you’ve heard of Bitcoin and have even sent some fractions of Bitcoin to friends to pay them back for the grocery shopping they did for the 4th of July barbecue. Maybe you even know that Bitcoin, as well as all other cryptocurrencies, are made possible thanks to a distributed database structure called blockchain, part of wider concept of distributed ledger technology. And after knowing and experimenting with this knowledge, now you would like to implement a blockchain-based technology solution in your company or organization.

This article will outline the core steps necessary to bring such a project to life in a corporate or formal environment.

The Steps of A Successful Blockchain Implementation Strategy

Understanding What Blockchains Are And What They Aren’t

The first step you need to take is to understand what blockchains can do and what they can’t do and what the benefits of building blockchain-based systems are. Although blockchain technologies are the future, the technology has plenty of limitations and it’s important to make sure you are aware of them.

Applicability

Blockchains are tools. They work for many things, but not all things, so you need to determine if using blockchains adds or detracts from the purpose of your system. If an immutable ledger of transactions adds value to your use case, for example to certify a custody chain of a document, then great. If you’re using blockchain to increase database processing speeds or to keep things more ephemeral maybe it’s not the best idea.

Develop A Proof-of-Concept

A proof-of-concept is a sand-boxed version of your application that uses real-world inputs and actual data to prove that the use case you are considering is real and that the application you want to develop is useful and possible. Proof-of-concept development is rarely elegant and certainly isn’t decisive, so think of it more as a group of engineers riffing on several concepts and arriving at one that seems like it’s the best fit.

Perform A Beta On Real-World Data

Developing a real world beta is the next step. This version is no longer sand-boxed and is used by internal or external users in real time. This application can have limited capabilities, but it has to work for a given group of people.

Production Project

This is when we go into full blown production, opening up the application to mass adoption and users.

Not For The Faint Of Heart

Implementing blockchain-based solutions in an enterprise or established organization setting takes some courage. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First of all, the technology is yet not proven, both from a usability perspective as well as in terms of scale. There have been too few projects and too few real work production implementations to know that the technology can be used by millions of users.

Second of all, there is a very limited supply of talent available to work on these projects. Very few people have experience building blockchain applications and those that do have very limited enterprise software experience.

There is also a third reason which many people consider to be the biggest barrier for blockchain projects in the enterprise and that is the issue of governance and its core component, consensus. Blockchain projects are in essence community-driven endeavours that require certain majorities to drive decisions. This often goes against the top-down management styles adopted by most corporations. Using blockchains to codify governance structures that are not in alignment with the core essence of the space makes project implementations all the most difficult.

Addressing governance first and then codifying it in the blockchain implementation usually serves people best.

This Is Just The Beginning

Bitcoin and the original public blockchain has been around for a decade. Comparing that to the adoption curves for most other technologies shows us that that is a very short period of time for such a world-changing technology and that at least several more decades are needed for the world to really start using these networks. Compare that decade to the 2-3 years that enterprise blockchain programs have been around and you’ll know that we are at the very beginning of the line.

 

If you are interested in discussing how blockchain-based technologies can be implemented in your organization please feel free to contact us at MLG Blockchain.