As 2017 draws to a close and will be remembered as a successful year of many pilots and proofs of concept in blockchain technology, Hugh Halford-Thompson, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of BTL Group, provides the latest BTL Insights to explain why businesses are so excited about the technology.

Over the past two years BTL Group has been working with enterprise clients and learnt what it really is that they really want from blockchain. Its potential to restructure the way certain businesses processes is now clear, but what is also clear is that we have only just scratched the surface and the blockchains can totally restructure businesses or whole industries.

Below are three applications of blockchains that have gained the interest of our clients:

  1. Processes and Systems on Blockchains (in part 1)
  2. Breaking Down Silos (to follow in part 2)
  3. Restructuring Industries (to follow in part 2)


1. Processes and Systems on Blockchains

Blockchains can help with transparency, redundancy, ease of development and automation of various workflows. Some of these benefits can be achieved with traditional systems, but when building on blockchains there are several important advantages:

  1. Networking

    Networking and dealing with requests can be complex for developers. When programming on blockchains it’s already taken care of as the nodes stay synced up with each other automatically.

  2. Redundancy

    Blockchains make redundancy as trivial as choosing the number of servers (nodes) to host the chain on. If any part of the network falls over, the distributed nature of blockchain ensures systems keep running.

  3. Backups

    Blockchains ensure the data is replicated to every node automating the backup procedure in any live application. If more backups are required, more servers (nodes) can be added.

  4. Audits and log files

    Creating, managing and in particular, troubleshooting log files can consume significant amounts of effort. Blockchain-based systems have the backup, audit and logs “built in”, the history of blocks in the chain contain everything that has happened and can be viewed or replayed at any time.

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Interbit Powered Applications

The advantages above apply to all blockchains. BTL’s blockchain development platform, Interbit, was designed from the ground up with enterprise capabilities in mind. Interbit is a development platform that combines multi-connected blockchains that allow scalability with modern industry-proven design patterns that address many of challenges. Other blockchain projects have been prohibited by the scale and privacy issues that have prevented them from progressing beyond tests and pilots into mainstream production. Below are just a few of the relevant design choices that matter.

Familiar Development Tools and Skills

Adopting any new technology can be hard. When considering an implementation of blockchain beyond a simple pilot or proof of concept, the training of maintenance and support staff is imperative. With BTL’s Interbit, everything is built in JavaScript and follows Redux design patterns. As a result, most businesses will already have teams of people who are familiar with the technology. Additionally, Interbit offers standard APIs that support integrations with other systems.

Testing on Live Data

Interbit speeds up development of applications and systems as tests can be built on live data. Maintenance of a separate test environment isn’t required and tests can be run with real business data.

Privacy

Interbit’s patent pending multi-chain architecture achieves data separation and privacy by segregating data into multiple securely connected blockchains. So it’s privacy on demand when required, ensuring there is no risk of data being shared where it shouldn’t be.

Scalability

Blockchain scalability is limited on a per chain basis and although the limit may increase it will always be there. Interbit’s chain-connecting technology allows for multiple blockchains to run in parallel. As a result, horizontal scalability is achieved in the same way that current systems scale across multiple servers.

Interoperability

Interbit’s chain-connecting capabilities enable the development of blockchains that selectively share data with other blockchains. This means an application (smart contract) running on one deployment of Interbit can directly access data on another separate deployment of Interbit.


Conclusion to Part 1

When building software internally companies have many choices. Blockchains provide huge advantages for many systems by reducing the technical effort required to build, maintain, and support applications.

In part 2 of this BTL Insight I will discuss some of the new possibilities that are enabled by Interbit, but that were not possible before blockchains appeared.