Helen Souness, CEO at RMIT Online, writes for Women Love Tech about why we need to embrace blockchain. Here’s her story.
In recent months, “blockchain” has become something of a buzzword in media and social feeds due to its links to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It’s been hailed as the disruptive technology that will change the nature of business across several industries by improving security, visibility, productivity and more.
And it’s just getting started.
According to Forbes Magazine, blockchain is today where the internet was 20 years ago. Imagine if more businesses had embraced the potential of the Internet earlier – where could they be now? As blockchain technology continues to develop, it’s important to understand what blockchain is and where its potential implications lie within your industry.
In simple terms, blockchain is a distributed, decentralised, digitised ledger. There are several key benefits to embracing blockchain now, and no doubt there will be many more to come.
Businesses shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the incredible potential of blockchain, thinking that it’s too complicated, but rather they should embrace it. I’m no expert in the technology behind it, nor do I have to be, but I know what it can do. Here’s three reasons to consider adoption of blockchain in your business today.
Blockchain technology lends to transparency and democratises access to data without compromising security.
On the public ledger, data is held in an interlinked network of computers that makes it near impossible to change data and prevents monopolies of information. All transactions or changes made on the chain are recorded and able to be viewed by all.
Blockchain technology can be leveraged to heighten the security and maintain the integrity of data, too. Again, changes made to databases are immediately recorded and shared with all users on the chain, and the database remains secure even if a few users on the chain are compromised.
Adopting blockchain now could improve your business’ strategic position.
Blockchain will have its ‘dot-com’ moment, and when it does, where do you want your business to stand?
Just as early adopters of the internet were thinking ahead of the curve, businesses that strategically implement blockchain could find themselves far ahead of their competition and moving towards major improvements in overall business performance and efficiency.
Its potential is limitless.
The potential for disruption is nothing short of incredible, extending far beyond the ‘Bitcoin bubble’ and associated crypto Gold Rush we’ve seen lately.
There’s no doubt blockchain technology will benefit any business predicated upon trust, including insurance, investing, money transfer services, healthcare and even real estate. I’m particularly excited to see how those of us in the higher education sector will embrace blockchain! For example at RMIT Online we recently announced we will be running a trial with our credentialing partner in the States, Credly. We will be putting the credentials (or qualifications) of our students for our short, future skills courses onto the blockchain.
The use cases of this data storage are endless. Blockchain can conceivably be used to provide proof of ownership for those in developing countries who don’t have access to records. It can also be used to authenticate digital voting, if we ever go down that path, as well as real estate transactions and the trading of stocks.
There’s a great amount of talent and capital being poured into the development of blockchain to push the technology towards acceptance and adoption.
At RMIT Online we realised we couldn’t ignore the global demand and curiosity surrounding this emerging technology. We started to work with our industry partners last year to co-create a Developing Blockchain Strategy course that could adequately introduce Australians to this technology while also showcasing real-life applications; it’s not enough to explain the complexities of a new technology like blockchain without delving into when and how to use it — the “why does this matter?” bit.
The future of blockchain in business isn’t just about Bitcoin becoming a normalised payment method at your local cafe where you get your morning flat white. It has potential that is only just begun to be realised and I for one am very excited to see how we can all use it to benefit our businesses and society.
About Helen Souness:
Helen was appointed to the role of CEO at RMIT Online in August 2017. Helen is leading the RMIT Online team to support a growing community of learners to successfully navigate the world of work by offering directly relevant, accessible and flexible educational opportunities online.
Helen Souness is a senior leader with a career that spans more than 20 years of commercial experience working in digital strategy, marketing and product across market-leading enterprises including Seek, Lonely Planet, Envato and Etsy. Helen has operated in General Manager, Managing Director and Board Director capacities for Envato, Canteen, Etsy and Sendle. Most recently as MD of Asia for Etsy, Helen’s team tripled the size of Etsy’s Australian seller community and entered new Asian markets.