Rebecca Hofmann, Manager of Innovation, Equinor Chairman, OOC Blockchain Consortium
Blockchain technology has been around for over ten years, gaining its infamous origin in cryptocurrency. Looking beyond Bitcoin, companies are wondering could this technology be the answer to creating a more seamless and integrated way of doing business. With new business models like Uber and Airbnb, companies are more open than ever to look for creative ways to add value to their organizations. So, what is all the hype? Blockchain is, through my experience, more than just a technology. It is also an instrument for industry collaboration helping to benefit all connected parties.
Blockchain is a digital tool that is showing the potential and possibilities for companies to tackle an area of inefficiency that they have not been able to address appropriately before now. Companies have control over their internal processes, but the reality is that no company does business alone, and there are many external interactions in business that are extremely cumbersome, manual and inefficient. Thus, wasting time and money.
Blockchain has unique characteristics and combined with other technologies can break down internal and external silos in a business.
Blockchain technology has the potential to have multiple parties interacting seamlessly, with a central source of truth where business activities may be securely and transparently self-executed, recorded in real time with no central point of failure
This allows companies to focus more on what increases revenues and less on today’s friction-based way of doing business.
One of the largest potential benefits of blockchain is a central source of truth where all interconnected parties on the blockchain can have visibility and transparency into activity as business occurs. This could result in less disputes, reconciliation and being able to catch inconsistencies in a timelier manner. Blockchain can create self-executing tasks which could then govern parts of joint operating agreements or perform supply chain performance contracts through smart contracts. There are many potential use cases for this technology.
Current roadblocks to blockchain
1) Education - understanding what this technology is, what it is not and how it can be used
2) Organizational change management - a new mindset embracing emerging technology is needed within all levels of an organization
3) Regulations – need to partner with government agencies as blockchain brings transparency along with making the process of auditing easy and seamless.
4) Digital Standards - building the digital language to work on a new digital highway
Collaboration is the key
The way we will accomplish a seamlessly integrated way of working for the future will be through effective collaboration. As companies continue to look for creative ways to establish additional value, it’s time the way of thinking changes to reflect this in how we work.
Industries have started to embrace this concept and several consortiums have formed around the world. Equinor is involved in three consortiums: VAKT, a post-trade platform for oil; Energy Web Foundation, transactive electric grids; and the OOC Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium, focused on upstream/midstream use cases to explore the technology’s potential and leverage learnings to drive industry adoption.