Understanding the essential value of blockchain

Organisations across all industries and sectors are awakening to the value of next generation blockchain technology

Sean Ford
By Sean Ford on 05 May 2020
Understanding the essential value of blockchain

As the world continues to embrace new means of economic exchange, established businesses, start-ups, and government organisations are turning to blockchain to transact in a manner that is more efficient, secure, and transparent. While many have started to embrace advanced blockchain platforms, traditional business in every competitive sector and industry are recognising the critical strategic role that blockchain can play as part of their efforts to build and sustain advantage in an increasingly digital and borderless economic reality.  

While many see the transformative potential of blockchain, technical limitations, complexity and a degraded user experience have hampered the broad adoption of this technology by traditional businesses in the past. With the introduction of the next generation of blockchain platforms like Algorand, enterprises are now able to firmly embrace blockchains as not only viable, but also critical to creating a sustainable competitive position in the future. The adoption of this new technology and the solutions that can be created on open source, public blockchains has expanded dramatically in the past year.

Algorand, in particular, is gaining momentum and adoption due to its unique technical approach that delivers speed, instant economic exchange, and immediate and secure transaction finality. The public blockchain protocol was created by a team of world-renowned scientists including cryptography expert, Turing Award winner and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Silvio Micali. The foundational platform is the first public, open ‘pure proof-of-stake’ blockchain that provides the security, scalability, and decentralisation needed in today’s global economy. 

With the goal of enabling enterprises of all types to embrace decentralisation in a manner that improves and future-proofs business models, Algorand has seen a number of innovative and high-profile use cases in its early days. 

Monerium is the world’s first authorised provider of licensed e-money for blockchains. Using Algorand’s protocol, it allows clients to develop blockchain-based financial services, such as cross-border settlements, using any fiat currency of choice such as the euro or US dollar. Monerium holds clients’ deposits of fiat currency and releases them in digital form for use on a blockchain, creating effective cost savings by removing intermediaries and enabling new complex payment types.

With early adoption by those already focused on decentralised finance, traditional financial organisations and central bank digital currency initiatives, Algorand has a wide swathe of enterprises building next generation blockchain solutions that leverage its public platform. 

One such project is with software creator FlexFinTx, a company which uses our blockchain platform to facilitate the recording of over 400 million digital identities across Africa. Hundreds of millions of African citizens currently struggle to get credit or formal employment as they are unable to prove who they are. Using just a mobile phone, these people can create a digital identity or FlexID that is designed to be tamper-proof and ­self-sovereign. No organisations can access a user’s information without gaining their permission first, and the user has full control over their data. 

Algorand Inc.’s technology has also been used for environmental protection in a new project called PlanetWatch. The first blockchain spin-off to come out of physics research centre CERN, this will monitor global air quality using an immutable ledger based on the Algorand blockchain and internet of things. PlanetWatch will aggregate data gathered from air quality sensors onto the blockchain, and subsequently reward contributions to the ecosystem by distributing the PlanetToken to sensor owners.

SIAE, the sixth-largest copyright collecting society in the world, will  be partnering with Algorand to develop a new open ecosystem for copyright management. Their collaboration will allow the evolution and strengthening of tools and services and create new accessible solutions to further improve efficiency and intermediation activity.

Algorand’s platform is also being used in tele­communications. IT research organisation Fondazione Ugo Bordoni (FUB) recently signed a collaboration agreement with the company to experiment with innovative applications and services of blockchain for citizens, businesses and public administrations, for example in 5G, artificial intelligence and digital networks. 

The scalability of Algorand’s platform has also piqued the interest of software company OTOY, which is using it to democratise computing rendering power and redefine content creation and delivery. In migrating to a blockchain solution that can support OTOY’s expanding network’s user base and core functionality, the firm is able to provide the transparency and scalability needed to improve its business model.

The common theme of these use cases is an understanding that blockchain can create value in unlimited ways for businesses in all sectors of the economy. These pioneering companies and institutions have seen a future world that in many ways mirrors the shift we have seen in the past to cloud-based computing and storage. Companies that take a leadership position, and invest in transformation now, will be far better positioned in the future to create enduring value from new and unforeseen opportunities otherwise unavailable in a world of today’s legacy systems and processes.  

Sean Ford is chief operating officer of Algorand Inc.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issues delivered directly to your inbox.

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