If you thought we might have reached the limit in “as-a-service” offerings and didn’t  have anywhere else to go as far as what else we could do in the cloud, don’t give up so easily.

There is a new one coming down the line – Blockchain-as-a-Service – that will be particularly relevant to the Internet of Things. You may run across some companies already talking about BaaS as if this were something mature and ready. It isn’t yet. But soon.

First, a quick refresher about Blockchain. It is best known as the technology that underlies Bitcoin, but what we’re talking about here isn’t particularly concerned with financial transactions. Blockchain itself is actually a highly secure distributed ledger system that tracks everything related to a particular element. All the historical information is safely tucked away if needed for reference, but the most important current information is right there in the most recent block in the chain.

Quick example. If your bank account was a Blockchain element, every deposit, every debit, every fee would be permanently recorded for the entire life of that account. But the most important information – how much money do I have available right now – is front and center. No one can go back in and tamper with your account’s historical data, and consequently, that final block can always be trusted explicitly.

So how do we move from that to BaaS in a world of IoT?

Blockchain can enable an absolute and perfect record of any sensor on any network, from the birth of that element to its retirement. And every sensor can be tracked in a way that – even though billions of sensors are being built – you never have to worry about a serial number being duplicated and creating confusion.

It also gives you the authority to look at how these sensors are being used and aggregate their data for past or predictive analytics or for billing.

How BaaS will be delivered

Today, Blockchain transactions are typically done via the Internet. But while the Internet is global, it is also unsecure. A BaaS offering would build on Blockchain’s inherent security as well as offer many other advantages, and it would do that over highly dependable and highly secure carrier networks.

The service would give your company certain rights and responsibilities along with privacy, access, delivery, and other components. It would allow you to form Blockchain groups, which is something that is not easy to do via the Internet. A dependable network is pivotal to the important functions of authenticating at the end point and authorizing at a central point.

Larger companies, for example, buy all kinds of products and services from vendors on the purchasing side, and on the shipping side are selling a whole range of other finished products and services. BaaS would allow your company to create separate Blockchain loops for each of these, and be sure they never bleed over into each other.

As far as where we are with BaaS, there are good use cases already in motion globally, and in the next year or so you will start to see these expand and mature. Once developers become accustomed to the ways this will be used, and once the networks are conditioned to use them, you will see an explosion of use cases around Blockchain.

It is a good time to start giving thought to how you would put Blockchain to work in your enterprise. And it’s worth saying again that having a good network – not the Internet – for these vital functions will be a prerequisite for success.

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