Not every one
The truth is blockchain is not the solution for every project that needs a database. A 2018 study out of China showed despite the plethora of blockchain-related projects entering the market, 92 per cent failed – and did so in an average of just over a year.
As the US NIST report concludes, blockchain “is still new and organizations should treat blockchain technology like they would any other technological solution at their disposal--use it only in appropriate situations”.
An example of a global project not using blockchain is the recently announced Trade Information Network, a transformational trade information exchange hub based on open architecture that acts as a trusted registry of purchase order and invoice flows across the end-to-end supply chain.
The TIN, in which ANZ is a participant, tries to solve the lack-of-standardisation problem currently in global trade finance. It has the potential to be the first inclusive global multi-bank, multi-corporate network in trade finance, aiming to achieve a utility much as SWIFT does with payments.
The Network in this case acts as the trusted intermediary for the database as it is owned by the industry, operates for the industry transparently and uses open architecture and standardised connectivity.
The project assessed a blockchain solution but decided the tech was not yet ready, on the back of speed-to-market and scalability concerns - particularly around handling high volumes of transactions across more than 100 countries. The network will have the option to move to blockchain when the technology matures.
To blockchain or not?
Many companies fall into the trap of admiring the blockchain technology before admiring the problem they are trying to solve. It’s vital to understand what the end goal is and assess what the options are before starting the work on any project where blockchain is being considered.
While some projects will benefit from blockchain technology and this has a lot of potential, others do not necessarily need it and are better off using existing good old databases and technology solutions.
Maria Bellmas is Associate Director, Trade and Supply Chain Product at ANZ