In the early days of the internet, people were hesitant about using it for business. In fact, many shunned away from using it as a business tool because, like with any new tech, they did not know where it would progress to or just how useful it would turn out to be. Fast forward to 2018 and the internet has become a tool no business can afford to ignore. Now, blockchain tech has entered the scene, and with it, that same hesitation and questions businesses were facing back in the 70s and 80s.
In the last three years, blockchain technology has witnessed explosive growth, threatening to disrupt every sector across the globe. According to a report by Statista, the global blockchain technology market will be worth over $2.3bn by 2021. While it is normal for businesses to shy away from any new technology, there comes a time when they must embrace it or miss out on the benefits of getting in on the ground floor of innovation. The big question now is whether this is the time for businesses, especially those operating on smaller budgets, to adopt blockchain.
Blockchain is already becoming mainstream, as is evident by the fast-growing adoption of cryptocurrencies and exploration of the technology by industry giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. While cryptocurrencies are yet to become universally accepted as a unit of account or store of value, the massive growth it is experiencing is a good sign.
Money is Money
Innovation ensuring instant fiat to crypto transactions is growing by the day which means that businesses can now accept digital currencies as a mode of payment. In fact, big companies such as Microsoft, Virgin Galactic, Tesla, Mint.com, and Shopify are already taking Bitcoin payments. Online service providers such as Reddit, OkCupid, Wikipedia, Steam and Bloomberg online newspaper are not far behind in the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment.
Due to the high level of volatility witnessed in the cryptocurrency industry in the last few months, some of these companies have dropped Bitcoin from the list of their accepted currencies. Even so, there are hopes of full adoption given that solutions are already in place to address the volatility which is preventing cryptos from joining the mainstream.
It is these options that small businesses, especially those with most of their operations online, should explore. As blockchain continues to advance, there is no doubt that more and more people will start using cryptocurrencies in day-to-day transactions.
Benefits of Blockchain Tech
Because of its immutable and distributed nature, the technology eliminates the risk of having customers’ payments details stolen by hackers. Also, the technology maximises value for both the business and its customers by eliminating transaction costs. Traditionally, a third party such as a bank is involved in facilitating business transactions and in return usually charges a commission from both the customer and the business.
Businesses should also explore blockchain big data solutions. Up until now, big data was a right reserved for those companies with pockets deep enough to afford it. However, with the advancement of blockchain, the possibility of implementing a big data strategy at little cost is becoming a reality, opening up the possibilities of using big data analytics to small and big businesses alike. Blockchain platforms geared towards big data and market analytics are allowing all types of companies to tap into high-quality data for marketing insights at a fraction of the costs usually incurred.
Endor, a platform steered by engineers from MIT is an excellent example of a blockchain project seeking to enable businesses to tap into big data analytics at minimal costs. The project aims to build what it calls “the Google for predictive analysis” which is a platform where businesses can ask predictive questions in plain language and get highly accurate automated insights. Likewise, the platform will make it possible for data owners to securely share their data with other businesses and get rewarded in the process.
Small businesses with innovative solutions can also explore the ICO sector when looking to raise capital. Unlike bank loans or the IPO, an ICO have little qualification requirements and can raise millions when done correctly. However, this is a sector that can be manipulated and abused easily, and so businesses must be cautious to uphold all the laws of their state and should take steps to ensure that they do not break them.
There are many other ways that small businesses can benefit from the blockchain without spending huge amounts of money. Therefore, setting aside the natural hesitancy when facing the new and unknown, there is no reason businesses should not explore the technology. Those that will be able to get in early enough will be able to ride the wave in a way similar to how the early adopters of cars, telephones, cell phones, computers, and the internet did.
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