Blockchain may seem like a new technology, but it actually made its public debut in 2008.
Because it is essentially a database that is stored in multiple locations, updated instantly and continuously, all the records in a chain are public and verifiable. It has recently been mentioned in the news as a potential technological solution to the Irish border issue after Britain leaves the EU.
Whilst it is understandably synonymous with Bitcoin, it has the potential to be used in numerous industries. IBM has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in projects involving blockchain, including dispute resolution systems and cloud-based security frameworks. They are by no means alone when it comes to large multinationals making significant investments.
New Blockchain Applications
The new breed of blockchain platforms that are programmable, such as Ethereum, mean that the technology can be applied to wider fields. Second-generation blockchain technology such as ‘smart contracts’ – digital agreements formalised in code – are just some of these new developments.
There are a number of ways that telecoms could utilise blockchain, and it presents a number of opportunities. Telecommunications systems are often made up of numerous different databases, from customer complaints through to subscriber and number identity.
Telecoms companies could use blockchain to improve internal processes as well as to provide digital value-added services. In terms of internal processes, billing, eSIM provisioning and number portability databases are just a few that could benefit from hybrid blockchains. Blockchain could be used to replace databases that currently require costly integrations – and it can provide cheap but secure subscriber authentication. The extremely low transaction costs enabled by blockchains make it an attractive proposition for micropayment-based businesses, including those selling music, mobile games and gift cards. Blockchains could help businesses involved in direct carrier billing – again via a reduced micro-transaction cost. Blockchain-based identity management could enable secure authentication across devices, apps and organizations at a fraction of the cost of existing systems.
Organizations that are looking to transition to IP-based networks should consider the potential benefits of blockchain-based solutions. These solutions could make their internal as well as customer-facing processes more cost-effective. VoIP wholesale solutions such as those provided by www.idtexpress.com could benefit from blockchain technology.
IP-based networks could be combined with blockchains to enable cost-effective, resilient and transparent transactions and processes.