Blockchain has become one of the most popular emerging technologies in the past few years. Within the context of innovations and advancements like artificial intelligence, internet of things, machine learning and big data, blockchain technology has cemented itself as one of the most widely adopted emerging technology, especially in the business arena. With the hype around blockchain technology, it is no longer uncommon to see many startups elect to implement the technology to bring their projects to life. In response to this new-found wave of blockchain enthusiasm, a unit within the US Department of the Treasury has offered a number of useful suggestions for aspiring blockchain-based projects.
The Bureau of Fiscal Service, a department in the US Treasury has been working on a blockchain proof of concept since October 2017. The department has taken it upon itself to release some useful tips for creating blockchain implementations based on the lessons learned from its own blockchain project. The department published an article on its website, detailing 5 important nuggets of information with regard to blockchain project implementation. At the core of its message was the need to determine if indeed a blockchain was necessary.
Just as online companies took over certain marketplace niches from the more traditional brick-and-mortar companies in the 90s and 2000s, blockchain technology seems to be on the verge of upsetting the balance of the business process. The first step as prescribed by the Bureau is to make sure that blockchain technology has the potential to provide a robust solution framework that can solve the particular set of problems. In order to know if blockchain is necessary for a project, the Bureau recommends a list of 5 important questions. These questions all revolve around testing the viability and efficiency of a blockchain architecture in terms of information flow, cost of trust, and the need for programmable, logical interactions like smart contracts. If the answer to at least 3 of the 5 questions is yes, then a blockchain framework is well worth a look.
With the hype surrounding blockchain technology, a lot of the time, projects might not carry out adequate swot analysis especially in the area of weakness and opportunity. Blockchain technology is too often regarded as the holy grail solution to every facet of the business process, even when it might not be best suited to the problem. In order to ensure this, the Bureau advices that projects should ensure their development teams are as diverse as possible. This ensures a more balanced approach to solving issues within the developmental process.
The Bureau of Fiscal Service also advocates for a thorough understanding of a particular business process in order to identify critical pain points, as well as things that are working well (“good points”). Doing this requires obtaining the input of a large set of stakeholders who are better positioned to unearth some of the more nuanced pain points that might not be immediately apparent. The Bureau also advised project teams to keep the investment and technical review boards in the loop at critical points in the development of the project as a way of facilitating the smooth implementation of the blockchain.