Blockchain technology—basically a process of recording and linking transactions together—
was born from cryptocurrency. When the latter debuted online, the thing that made it special, the thing that set it apart was the blockchain. So, why is this important to retailers and others who may not even use cryptocurrency?

This technology created a digital “open ledger” that allows for absolute transparency—it tracks and makes public all transactions from end-to-end, providing total accountability. Cryptocurrency used it to keep users anonymous while providing stark transparency for transactions. Brands and companies are now using it for data security and supply-chain transparency.

In other words, it’s something of a game changer.

Walmart, the largest brick-and-mortar retailer in the world, announced that it was mandating the use of the blockchain for any and all suppliers of fresh, leafy green produce. This use of the blockchain removes any confusion about the responsibility for contaminated foods and allows the company to isolate the source in real time, decreasing overall process time from days to seconds. Walmart’s use of blockchain is also providing consumers with a new level of transparency—one that’s fully digital, traceable, and convenient.

JPMorgan Chase created an alliance that, to-date, has recruited more than 75 international banks to its roster. The purpose of the alliance is to test a pilot program that uses the blockchain for cross-border transactions. The new blockchain-based system will potentially resolve processing errors and compliance issues almost immediately, greatly increasing the speed at which these transactions are done.

Cross-border transactions aren’t the only thing to which the banking giant is applying blockchain—the company also recently announced that its own in-house blockchain, Quorum, is being tested with “tokenizing” assets such as gold. This would essentially digitize the valuable metal into an easily moved direct-representation currency, and potentially make financial middlemen (like an exchange or broker) obsolete.

While cryptocurrencies have been struggling with stability, blockchain has become the next big thing in digital accountability and security—especially as some of the biggest companies in the world embrace it as a solution to the continued fallibility of current security standards in favor of something that holds the promise of being faster and more reliable.

Blockchain Transparency is a topic in our quarterly report, which you can download here.

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