Did I mention Blockchain?

One of my own personal interests from a technology and a investment capacity for a while now, has been blockchain and the underlying technology behind it.  Notice that I say blockchain and not BitCoin (I have had way too many conversations where even my barber is asking me if I am investing in Bitcoin.. which to me, makes me see a massive bubble.. but that’s another story). I am well versed in the history of both but in many ways the concept of blockchain has moved well beyond its Bitcoin origins, into something can have a deep impact on operations and finances and more importantly solve fundamental business problems of transnational transparency and trust.  Or lets just say.. a distributed and immutable ledger.

I’ve been asked quite a times “This blockchain.. what is it really?”. We have to remember – even from a technologist point of view – we (IT People) are used to the old buzzword bingo of ever changing soundbites and words.  Yet to an Oil and Gas Drilling Manager or a Hydrocarbon Accounting Finance specialist – technology is just a means to get a job done – its not the mainstay of their job. And far to often they come at the blunt edge of the new Technology Adoption Life Cycle.

Of the few people who are even aware of the word blockchain, most only see blockchain as an extension of Bitcoin and do not actually know the fundamentals and more importantly – how this can apply to its core business – especially in Oil and Gas or Finance.

I am not going to go into whether Ethereum is a better option or if/when the Bitcoin bubble will burst (hence echos of 1637 and the Tulip Mania) but what problems can Blockchain help resolve for our industry.

The Economic Case

Oil and Gas is a complex industry – crossing many boundaries, from contracts, to legality, supply chain, land sale transactions and even hydrocarbon accounting.

Having transactions managed on a blockchain – which means that they are immutable – then the entire transaction is verifiable for all parties involved.

At the moment I am investigating real world use case scenarios based upon Distributed Apps (DApps) for how we can do concepts in blockchain with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) almost start-up mentality.  The primary focus of this is based on Ethereum and using a private blockchain – just so we can walk through the scenarios.

If you are looking for ‘how we can POC blockchain in our organisation’ – please do not go for a big bang approach.  Focus on feasibility studies.. one small started area and show business value.