With blockchain technology gradually entering the mainstream, many small and large businesses are working to incorporate this innovative technology into their strategies and processes.
While it’s easier for established corporations to integrate the blockchain into their systems, how can small businesses make use of this technology with their limited resources? And how can it benefit them?
What is blockchain technology?
As Forbes defines it, blockchain technology is a distributed digital ledger that stores data or information of any kind, including cryptocurrency transactions, NFT ownership or DeFi smart contracts.
The blockchain works as a “chain” made up of individual “blocks” of data – hence its name. As new data becomes periodically added to the network, a new “block” is created and added to the “chain.”
Key features of blockchain technology
Blockchain technology possesses a number of unique features that make it attractive for both small and large businesses.
For one, blockchain technology cannot be corrupted. With the interlinking of each block in the chain, the network becomes more and more secure, as each node must verify and confirm the legitimacy of the new data before it can be attached to the ledger. This process promotes transparency for all parties and makes it immune to exploitation.
The blockchain is also a form of decentralized technology. This prevents control of the blockchain network from one single governing authority or person, supporting its resistance to corruption.
These two benefits of blockchain lead to less failure, zero scams, transparency, an authentic nature, decentralized control and eliminates the need for a third party.
How to incorporate blockchain technology for small business
Contrary to popular belief, incorporating the blockchain for small businesses is attainable.
Here are three ways small businesses can utilize the blockchain.
1. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payments
Adopting cryptocurrency as a form of accepted payment has risen in both demand and popularity over the past few years.
While small businesses will need to plan and test cryptocurrency payment systems before the official implementation, the pros outweigh the cons in the long run. This process includes setting up and purchasing a digital wallet and merchant gateway or a combination of services needed to accept the cryptocurrency.
However, once this is set up, the new system will allow businesses to directly deal with customers, substantially reducing transaction costs. Embracing cryptocurrency payments will also help address the issue of fraudulent chargebacks, as blockchain payments are permanent and irreversible.
2. Cloud storage
The cost of cloud storage can significantly add to a business’ budget. In 2019, Canadian businesses reported spending an average of $27,000 on cloud computing services, an expenditure that represented just under 1% of their average revenue.
However, expanding blockchain uses in business to include storage applications allows small businesses to store data in a safe and secure place at a reasonable price.
3. Smart contracts
Smart contracts are programs stored on the blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. They are often used to automate the execution of an agreement so that all parties can automate the workflow and be immediately certain of the outcome.
With its many practical applications, smart contracts can be used for commercial leases, agreements with vendors or suppliers or employee contracts. Through these contracts, small businesses gain a new level of protection and security, which also leads to lower costs with the removal of the middleman in legally binding agreements.
Applying knowledge into practice with blockchain technology courses
For many small business owners, the blockchain and its related facets can be overwhelming, especially for a beginner.
University Canada West recently released a new micro-credential course, Mastering Blockchain, Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency, which provides learners with the knowledge, strategies, tools and skills needed for using blockchain, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in a business environment.
Using a digital pedagogical approach that integrates theory and practical application for small businesses, learners use blockchain tools, techniques and platforms to gain an understanding of this technology.
Graduates of this micro-credential course will be qualified to write the Global Blockchain Professional (GBP) exam from the Foundational Technologies Institute.
For individuals interested in a more managerial approach to the blockchain, UCW also offers the Blockchain Project Management Certificate Program, which focuses on preparing learners to understand the blockchain, project management and how to apply the principles of project management to blockchain and cryptocurrency projects.
UCW offers a total of nine micro-credentials, including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Certified Digital Marketing Professional, Social Media Marketing, Data and Web Analytics, Online E-Commerce, Introduction to Supply Management and Logistics and Introduction to Project Management.Published September 9, 2022.