Bitcoins have been in the news for a few years now. In addition to legal payments for some services, bitcoin has also been a favourite mode of payment for ransomware attackers due to its anonymous nature. While Bitcoin exchanges have cropped up all over including India, the technology behind bitcoins, the blockchain has been a subject of interest for researchers and corporations.
Blockchains take single-point intermediaries like banks in the current payment system out of the equation. It’s peer-to-peer in nature and this makes it really powerful.
This image from Financial Times explains the working of blockchain in the simplest form –
Blockchain is the distributed ledger and each transaction is recorded as a chain in the encrypted form which makes it hard to fake / crack the payments.
The blockchain’s potential was quickly understood and large corporations like Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, investment arms of telcos Verizon, Orange etc. are investing heavily and even providing some offerings based on blockchain tech.
In the Telecom Space
Today communication networks like GSM setup involve super complicated setup and authentication procedures.
This entire to and fro process could be simplified with a blockchain approach. Handshakes and switching between providers in the upcoming e-SIM era could be simpler. Smart contracts is another power use of blockchain technology which banks are keen on using. Services like Ethereum are already in the space –
Blockchains also offer tremendous value for the Internet of Things (IoT) future. For telecom operators, implementing blockchain could help simplify the networks, billing mechanisms, roaming and cross-operator functionalities like mobile number portability. MNP in the current form might cease to exist when e-SIMs start being available in mobile handsets. Switching operators would be a much simpler process now.
- Dubai’s du announced plans to revolutionise healthcare in the UAE using pioneering blockchain technology. Du’s pilot will introduce a safer common system for instantly sharing and verifying electronic health records (EHR) between hospitals and clinics.
- Orange invested in Chain. Pierre Louette, Orange’s Deputy CEO who is also responsible for Orange Digital Ventures then said: “We believe in the disruptive potential of the blockchain and becoming a key partner and investor in Chain will help us to learn faster and launch trials around this technology. We are seeking to carve out multiple use cases in our range of businesses to improve our services and propose new ones to our customers”
- Verizon Ventures invested in Filament, a company that is focused on building IoT applications for industrial settings
It’s only a matter of time that Indian telcos start exploring blockchain backed systems. Already, RBI has initiated a study to explore the usage of blockchain tech to reduce the usage of paper currency.