Blockchain-as-a-Service For Enterprises
Jun, 27 2018 | Enterprise

Ever heard of blockchain? Maybe. Maybe not, but you must have heard of Bitcoin, only that you may not fully understand Bitcoin let alone get the hang of blockchain.

Blockchain technology has been around for about a decade, and while it is improving different sectors, many laymen still can’t see blockchain beyond cryptocurrency. Fortunately, the blockchain community is always pushing the agenda that blockchain technology has many uses that will improve retail, healthcare, agriculture, cyber security, politics etc. While it won’t be a bad idea to utilize blockchain for other purposes besides cryptocurrency, the major hindrance is the complexities surrounding blockchain. The programming language is new and complex, and as such there are not enough programmers who can write blockchain codes. Another challenge is the cost of setting up blockchain as it requires enormous facilities to run — the energy consumption of blockchain is scary. As matter of fact, Quebec, Canada recently turned down the requests of some cryptocurrency mining companiesto set up their mines in the city because of the enormous energy consumption.

All the complexities making blockchain for enterprise a challenge were taken into consideration by blockchain experts and this led to the creation of a viable solution, that is blockchain-as-a-Service.

What Is Blockchain-as-a-Service?

Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) is the term given to the vendor-offering of blockchain backend as an infrastructure for developing blockchain-based products. It’s just like SaaS or PaaS. Business owners can choose to pay BaaS providers instead of setting up private blockchain infrastructure. Hence, business owners who need blockchain technology but lack the expertise and capital to set up private blockchain infrastructure will have the option of hiring BaaS providers. What a BaaS provider does is provide an ecosystem of connected nodes as a backend for blockchain-based enterprises which will enable the enterprises to build or access blockchain applications.

Big brands such as Microsoft, IBM and Amazon are providers of BaaS.

 

Why Use BaaS?

Most of the benefits that come with using blockchain technology are automatically available when using BaaS.

Test Run Blockchain Technology

There’s obviously a huge buzz surrounding blockchain right now. Last year, the value of bitcoin climbed up to being worth $17,000 per bitcoin, and this got even the skeptics/critics and novice to start asking questions. In 2017, Gartner declared that blockchain was the second most search word. Now, everyone is interested in learning more about blockchain and how it can benefit their business. However, as a business owner, you know you don’t need to dump all your old utilities and infrastructure that you’re already used to and have developed your business on, but you also want to see for yourself how blockchain can improve your business. This is where BaaS comes into play, you don’t have to dump your SQL completely nor do you have to build a blockchain infrastructure from scratch. You can use blockchain, more like a safe test run of the technology, by paying any trusted BaaS provider to provide blockchain infrastructure for you, while you ask your IT team to review the technology.

BaaS Is Cost-effective

If after test running blockchain technology via BaaS, and you think it will improve the process of doing business, you may find it too expensive to invest in on-site blockchain infrastructure. What do you do in this case? Well, you just continue to pay a BaaS provider while you keep expanding. It is safe to say that the energy consumption is enough reason to leave the provision of blockchain infrastructure in the hands of a big cloud computing company. Another advantage of BaaS is that you can decide to pay for blockchain-based supply chain if that’s the only thing you need or pay for blockchain smart contract. You have choices and this will no doubt reduce the cost for you.

Smart Contract

PwC illustration of Smart contract use cases

The smart contract is one of the most important features of the blockchain, business partners can reach an agreement on a blockchain instead of using the services of a legal professional. Smart contract is a digitized automated bind between two parties or more, it ensures that all the parties in the agreement fulfill their part in the agreement before they can benefit from the agreement. So, think of it like the legal agent that holds stakes, serves as escrow, audits, and reward parties according to their agreement. It does this without error as blockchain is an inalterable ledger; once an information is stored on it, it cannot be changed or modified except all parties involved agree and modify it at once. This will require millions of computers to be accessed at once, given that all the people who attempt to access it have the smart contact private key. It’s safe to assume that that is impossible.

Ethereum is famous for its smart contracts, many cryptocurrencies and blockchain-related companies are set up on the Ethereum platform. The EtherScript is so reputable and trusted that Microsoft Azure developed it BaaS on it.

Supply Chain Optimization

Blockchain optimizes supply chain because of its features which include traceability. This is especially useful for B2B as blockchain improves the tracking of goods, product process assurance, account auditing, etc. That’s not all, blockchain traceability also makes it easy to carry out quality assurance, since the supply chain is built on blockchain technology. The cryptography of the supply chain will be able to trace an irregularity all the way to the source, thereby making it easier to detect bad products on the supply chain, unlike a traditional supply chain that’s at the mercy of fallible humans. TE-FOOD is an example of a blockchain-based company that uses Hyperledger to provide tracking, data management, and supply chain of fresh foods and livestock for companies and consumers.

Blockchain Distributed Ledger Has Many Benefits

In case you didn’t know, blockchain is an encrypted distributed ledger of many connected networks of chains, therefore any information on it can be accessed by all permissioned members. This invariably makes it a good technology for the B2B sector, as it will make sharing of documents seamless. While the ledger is accessible to all permissioned members, it is not susceptible to error and the information on it cannot be compromised. This is because of blockchain stores information chronologically, it requires all parties involved to save data onto the block, upon approval from the parties, the data automatically convert into encryption and it cannot be altered except permissioned participants agree to modify the block at once. Therefore, blockchain ensures the security of data.

Some BaaS That Are Well Accepted In The Blockchain Community

● Quorum: this is a JP Morgan open-source BaaS interbank payment solution for processing private transactions on a permissioned blockchain. Quorum, just like the mother company is a financial BaaS.

● R3: this is an open-source BaaS built on Corda, it was created to make transactions seamless and cheaper. The R3 technology is interactive such that different blockchain-based e-commerce or enterprise built on it can interact.

● Lisk: if you’re a JavaScript developer who makes decentralized applications (dApps) then Lisk is for you.

● Ardor: although Ardor only started in 2018, it has an edge over other BaaS providers, as it is a public BaaS. It is built on NXT blockchain which is made up of connected blockchains known as “child chains” that function separately while hosted on the mother chain managed by Ardor.

● Hyperledger: IBM’s open-source BaaS, Hyperledger, is focused on creating secure networks of blockchain for customers to build, deploy and run while providing shared ledger.

Bottomline

The blockchain is no doubt one of the best technologies in recent decades, now while many business owners are joining the bandwagon to adopt blockchain technology, it might be best take things slow. Not slow in the sense that you take a nap while everyone is improving the process of doing their business, but slow in the sense of choosing to seek the opinion of experts first. This is why blockchain consultancy should be first, see an expert in the field, talk to the expert about your business. Find out whether you need BaaS, and which one is best suitable for your enterprise.

MiMundo is a technology first company based out of Valencia-Spain and Lisbon-Portugal helping numerous startups and enterprises to solve the complex business problem at scale. Our focus on business problems instead of technology solutions separates us from other technology providers. Our rich and deep domain expertise in E-commerce, Loyalty, Transports and Logistics, On-Demand, Online Education, Arts and Media, Health care, Fin-tech, Supply Chain, Gaming helps us to define scalable, fast, secure and optimal solutions for industry-specific use-cases. We are working on disruptive technology like Blockchain, Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, IOT, Virtual and Augmented reality. We can connect over a call for 30 minutes free consultancy or you can visit our website https://www.mimundo.io