This is the first in a series of articles on how the blockchain can or will be applied in the real world to help you position your business for the future.
Blockchain has many applications, but what about at Thanksgiving? You may have a hard time believing these two are all that relevant to each other, but let’s imagine you have an app on your phone for paying for things like groceries, gas and your cable bill. And what’s more, this app is built on a blockchain platform with instant settlement of payment. Here’s how it could work:
It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and somehow you haven’t found time to get to the busy grocery store. You use your phone to order the Thanksgiving turkey and fixings from your local grocery store’s app (which is already connected to your wallet) to be delivered to your office. Your personal transaction is broadcast to a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, which is a distributed application architecture that can be as simple as two computers connecting and sharing resources or as complex as a multi-protocol application with relationships between systems over the internet. While your funds are being verified, the groceries are being gathered for delivery.
It’s 1 p.m., and you’re informed by the front desk that your delivery has arrived. Now the transaction is posted to your wallet. With your blockchain-powered app, your Thanksgiving turkey and fixings are tagged with a digital key that correlates to the supply chain of origination of your food (similar to how USPS tracks packages).
The next day, you’re playing a game of euchre with your mom, dad and uncle following the Thanksgiving meal when your stomach starts to churn. You look over to the couch and see your aunt is looking a little green as well. You and your mom focus on beating your dad and uncle in euchre (#priorities) while your aunt checks out the local FDA app to see if she bought potentially tainted food and brought it to Thanksgiving dinner. She’s in the clear and starts asking others to check their phone.
With your uncle yelling, “Best two out of three! Two out of three!” you check your phone and see that the sweet cherry pie wasn’t so sweet after all. You already have a notification on your phone that others are reporting an issue (in this scenario, the FDA has created a rule to automatically push out notifications via grocery store apps to buyers if there are reported issues of potentially contaminated food greater than 5% of all buyers). You promptly scramble to throw out the pie while reviewing the medical remedies suggested by the FDA (which we will spare you the examples of here).
The next day, you are fully recovered and contemplating whether the deals on your phone are good enough and if you need to go shopping on the most despairing shopping day of the year. You see you have received a full refund of your cherry pie purchase from the grocery store along with an additional $25 deposit from the pie manufacturer and coupon for another free pie. You think, “Oh goody, a free pie, just what I need.” Then you remember how good their key lime pie looked yesterday and decide that is exactly what you need and well worth the trip on this Black Friday.
Regardless of your Black Friday plans, below are the following lessons learned about blockchain:
- Each transaction can be traceable to that level. Imagine the possibilities for avoiding food contamination like the sweet cherry pie example, for staying informed on travel delays due to transportation issues or for not having to track receipts for your oh-so-favorite local IRS agent.
- When set criteria is met, notifications can be sent to parties of interest to take appropriate action.
- Data analytics will be available to individuals, companies and governments to interpret historical information, such as number of recalls over the previous three years, and make decisions, whether increasing restrictions or production monitoring.
- Euchre is a trick-taking card game commonly played with 24 cards that is popular amongst Thanksgiving dinner tables within the Midwest.
Here at Wipfli, our blockchain practice is one of the newest in our suite of services. From audit, tax and advisory services for the cryptocurrency community to blockchain development for technology start-ups, our blockchain group is equipped to solve the business challenges many are facing today to plan for tomorrow. Want to know more? Contact us.
We wish you a happy — and healthy — Thanksgiving.