Blockchain technology will radically change the way retail chains operate in the coming years, a PwC analyst told Shop.org attendees in Las Vegas, creating more transparency and data security shared between partners and commercial organizations.
"Blockchain is rewiring commercial and rewiring activities, from the back office to the front office," said Scott Likens, a new service and emerging technology leader at PwC. "Consumers want it because they understand that blockchain is important and different: if you lead or follow, start now, start small and think big."
Likens said there is a "big opportunity" for blockchain in the supply chain , because its shared records create much greater data security between partners and across geographies.
"It can unlock that potential," he said. "In the back office, it can eliminate intermediaries (data) .In loyalty programs, companies can create safe surprises by linking them to partners and driving costs away." He added that the blockchain will create problems for entities whose primary role is to broker of data.
Likens said Gartner estimated that the blockchain will create $ 3 trillion in value business by 2030, a figure he felt was conservative. "84% of executives say they do something today in blockchain," he said. "So look around your table and find out who that person is not involved."
He said that the blockchain was the sure foundation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
"Bitcoin was a smart way to test the safety of blockchain," he said. "It has never been beaten … Any fraud or theft (with cryptocurrency) happened outside the blockchain."
Compared to other hot technology categories, Likens said that blockchain is the new kid on the block, having been created about 10 years ago, while artificial intelligence has been present since then years & # 60;
"The challenge of IA before now was given, but now there is more than enough to fuel it," he said. "IA thrives in blockchain, the Internet of Things now gives you the opportunity to get more data from the physical world through device integration, so now IoT and blockchain become a compelling combination. They are not the brains to invest in. "
Having spent five years in China, Likens said the blockchain was adopted and implemented at a faster rate than the United States and Europe, with the momentum created by the government sponsorship.
"The government in China is very concerned about food security," he said. "Jack But felt that Alibaba could do a lot to solve it through a food safety net (blockchain) From vitamins to milk powder, what happens to them along a complex supply chain? How do you guarantee the authenticity? problems with counterfeit foods that the Chinese government wants to stop. "
Likens said that the commercial and government cooperation in China has shown that the blockchain is the only cost-effective way to guarantee the provenance and greater security of food and sanitary products from source to home. He added that consumers are willing to pay more in exchange for greater peace of mind thanks to guaranteed authenticity
Luxury retailers in particular are seeing benefits from the ability of the blockchain to counterfeit counterfeiting, said Likens.
"There is a tremendous moment in which to understand what happens to a product from the beginning to the end," he said. "Provenance tells the story of the brand in a different way, involving customers by demonstrating where it comes from. It can help pick up counterfeit products from the secondary market."
When asked how retailers can start blockchain, Likens warns that there may be problems with an unknown technology that involves sharing internal data.
"Create your own research and development lab and try to attract talents that can give her life," he said. "But how do you build it in an organization that does not have a nice simple way to lift it?" "Cross each area." You need someone who supports it and create real experiments, not just academic exercises. Use extra.A lot of (technology) is open source and free, the most difficult challenge is to find talent. "