Cloud technology multinational Oracle’s Blockchain Cloud Service provides a development platform for enterprises and State organisations to build their own scalable and low-cost blockchain networks, says Oracle cloud platform business development director and Europe, Middle East and Africa middleware blockchain lead Joost Volker.
Blockchain has the power to impact on almost all industries and has applicability to verticals – from transport, supply chain and logistics, energy, retail and ecommerce to financial services, telecommunications and the public sector, he says.
The service enables users to quickly integrate with Oracle and third-party applications they use, as well as other blockchain networks and Oracle platform services. It also enables users to provision blockchain networks, join other organisations and deploy and run smart contracts to update and query the ledger.
Blockchain systems are particularly relevant when companies enter new markets or establish new supply chains by providing a secure and transparent way of sharing information and transacting, says Volker.
“Blockchain provides better auditability of records in a shared environment and improves fraud detection and prevention. While blockchain cannot completely prevent such crimes, the difficulty in conducting fraud in a blockchain environment raises the level of trust participants have in such networks and the validity of transactions and information they contain,” he explains.
Organisations and industry consortiums, including global shipping leaders, multinational manufacturers, food producers and energy marketplaces, are already using the Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service to help ease transactions, track goods through supply chains and reduce costs, he adds.
The Nigeria Customs Service used Oracle’s blockchain to build a trusted platform for the automation of Customs Excise Trade business processes and procedures.
“This technology is not just about improving one organisation, but will help build global trust for Nigerian businesses, provide irrefutable data on goods manufactured in the country and create a favourable environment for investment,” says Nigeria Customs Service general modernisation assistant comptroller Aber Benjamin.
The Oracle blockchain does not require the proof-of-work process that open blockchains use to secure blocks – which also uses significant computing power – and is suited for use by a host of smaller companies or for complex supply chains involving many smaller and larger companies. As a cloud-based service, it is also affordable and scalable, says Volker.
“Blockchain is a collaborative technology and, in the near future, we will see industries working together – for example, the food or agricultural sector partnering with financial institutions to drive shared value. Blockchain’s benefits go beyond the individual company or even the industry, with everyone standing to gain from its adoption,” adds Oracle Middle East, Africa and Turkey mobile and cognitive experience leader Craig Nel.
“Consumer products and manufacturing lead in terms of blockchain production implementations. These industries will pave the way for others to follow. We foresee that businesses will adopt transformational technologies such as chatbots, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, in combination with blockchain to perform seamless and secure end-to-end interactions,” he says.
Consumer demand will play a key role is driving adoption with consumers who are particularly interested in accessing lower transaction costs and being able to track food and deliveries, he explains.
“In addition, citizens are concerned by the level of fraud and corruption that take place in the public sector, and governments will turn to blockchain for improved transparency and trust,” adds Nel.
Accessibility to information and proof of its authenticity are key benefits of blockchain networks, providing visibility, transparency and traceability. It also supports sustainable economies, as a customs and trade or industry blockchain can increase tax revenues and improve trade, as well as help to counteract fraud and corruption by providing greater transparency and trust.
“Blockchains can help to create a better economic climate in countries and international supply chains. They are effective tools to facilitate controlled information sharing and transactions, as well as the transfer of information or value between participants,” concludes Volker.