The rise of private blockchains

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Discover how blockchain technology is impacting a variety of industry sectors due to its ability to improve transparency and fairness while saving businesses time and money.

Even though the original Bitcoin blockchain was designed to operate democratically without interference or influence from banks or central regulators, blockchain technology can still operate within closed parameters.

This means a bank or company could implement their own blockchain, and control which transactions are added to the chain. It will still be a secure system, but like the traditional banking system it will be based on trust of the decision-maker.

There are several major providers of digital platforms based on their own version of blockchain technologies, including Ripple, R3’s Corda and Hyperledger Fabric. These are permissioned systems which, in the case of Corda and Hyperledger, restrict access to transaction data to the parties involved in that transaction, rather than the data being made public in a public ledger like Bitcoin.

What companies are using private blockchains today and why?

Walmart has developed a blockchain system based on Hyperledger Fabric to trace the provenance of their products. The blockchain allows suppliers to upload certificates of authenticity to the ledger securely, bringing more trust to a system and enabling the company to trace products back to source within seconds rather than days.

After successful trials with two products, the company is looking to roll it out further. Like other private blockchains, Walmart’s traceability system does require its suppliers to participate in the system to ensure its veracity, but the company is large enough to impel them to comply.

De Beers has launched a ‘secure and immutable trail’ using a private blockchain called Tracr, to verify the authenticity and provenance of diamonds and ensure they are not “blood diamonds” from conflict zones.

Comcast has partnered with other industry leaders to launch Blockgraph, a blockchain-based system which allows advertisers to target viewers with specific adverts while maintaining viewers’ privacy.

BurstIQ's big data blockchain platform helps patients and doctors securely transfer sensitive medial information using smart contracts that establish the parameters of what data can be shared.

In April 2017, the streaming giant Spotify acquired blockchain startup Mediachain in an effort to create a fairer, more transparent, and rewarding music industry for musicians. Prior to its acquisition, Mediachain had developed several technologies that could aid in these efforts, including a decentralized, peer-to-peer database that connects applications to media and information about it, the Mediachain Attribution Engine, and a cryptocurrency that rewards artists for their work.

The all-in-one real estate transaction management software, Propy, leverages blockchain technology to streamline real estate transactions and mitigate the risk of fraud. Propy even offers properties that can be purchased using cryptocurrency.

Xage is the world’s first blockchain-enabled cybersecurity platform for IoT companies primarily in the transportation, energy and manufacturing industries. With the ability to self-diagnose and heal possible breaches, it leverages blockchain technology to manage billions of devices and protects industrial IoT operations against cyber attacks.

Shipping giant DHL is at the forefront of blockchain-powered logistics. One of the largest shipping companies to embrace blockchain, it uses the technology to maintain a digital ledger of shipments and protect the integrity of transactions.

And several banks and insurance companies, such as JP Morgan and MetLife, are using their own private blockchains to simplify, streamline and verify transactions and contracts that would previously have taken far longer and potentially been less secure.

Gift this article
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