Blockchain, the technology behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin, has been shaking things up in the tech world lately. The potential blockchain tech has to impact the world as we know it has technophiles in certain circles talking about a ‘4th industrial revolution’. Blockchain tech is predicted to disrupt a myriad of sectors from finance, to healthcare, to logistics. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Maybe, but not yet.

The fact is that apart from cryptocurrencies (note it’s less than 10 years since the invention of bitcoin) we have yet to see a large scale adoption of any blockchain application. So what’s all the hype about? The blockchain, in essence, creates a decentralised ecosystem where there is complete transparency and trust in a secure environment. Although the tech is still in its infancy, large corporations like Walmart are evidently already thinking about its potential, filing a patent for a blockchain application described as a ‘smart package’ delivery tracking system.

It’s true that in theory the opportunity to simplify processes and transactions using this new technology is attractive but it doesn’t come cheap. The blockchain requires fast, frequent processing of data (that’s how the security is achieved) which in turn relies on huge amounts of energy. This brings into question major issues for performance and scalability potential – let alone the impact on the environment ( another story altogether).

“A blockchain can be a powerful solution, but organizations should use it only when they have challenges that aren’t addressed well by existing technology” Bernard Golden VP of Cloud Strategy at Capital One

Blockchain works when there are lots of participants using the same application, which is why it’s been such a successful platform for crypto-currencies – but, again, there is not yet an example of blockchain tech being successfully used for large-scale application outside of crypto-currencies and at this point it’s anyone’s guess who will be first out the gate.

Nonetheless, we are aware of the rumblings at the beginning of this “4th industrial revolution” and we see that the blockchain has enormous potential to cause a fundamental shift across a great range of industry sectors. We’ll certainly be ready for it when it happens. Until then, SmartConsign are committed to utilising technologies that are the right fit for our customers’ specific needs. Right now, that means continuous focus on innovation and keeping a discerning eye out for new technologies that are user-friendly and easily adopted by all of our stakeholders.

SmartConsign is a parcel delivery software designed to simplify shipping logistics that help to improve productivity and performance. Used by resellers, e-tailers and carriers it’s the first and only company to standardise all label formats, this along with a variety of cutting-edge features makes SmartConsign the ideal collaboration tool for professionals in the logistics industry.