IBM Institute for Business Value

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Fast forward

Rethinking enterprises, ecosystems and economies
with blockchains

Frictions framework

Information, interaction and innovation frictions challenge business efficiency


Participants in a transaction don’t have access to the same information. In the age of big data, that can put them at a disadvantage, potentially diminishing the value for their full ecosystem. Too often, information may also be incorrect or inconsistent, leading to bad decisions or delays while reconciling it.


The potential value of abundant data and information is greatly constrained by the technical challenges of storing, processing, sharing and analyzing it. As a result, much information is not collected or remains inaccessible


Technological risks to information, from hacking to cybercrime and privacy concerns to identity theft are on the rise. These incur growing costs, as well as damage to brand reputations

and sustainable

and indelible

and auditable

and transactional

and orchestrated

Distributed and sustainable

The ledger is shared, updated with every transaction and selectively replicated among participants in near real-time. Privacy is maintained via cryptographic techniques and/or data partitioning techniques to give participants selective visibility into the ledger; both transactions and the identity of transacting parties can be masked. Because it is not owned or controlled by any single organization, the blockchain platform's continued existence isn't dependent on any individual entity.

Secure and indelible

Cryptography authenticates and verifies transactions and allows participants to see only the parts of the ledger that are relevant to them. Once conditions are agreed to, participants can’t tamper with a record of the transaction. Errors can only be reversed with new transactions.

Transparent and auditable

Because participants in a transaction have access to the same records, they can validate transactions, and verify identities or ownership without the need for third-party intermediaries. Transactions are time-stamped and can be verified in near real-time. brand reputations.

Consensus-based and transactional

All relevant network participants must agree that a transaction is valid. This is achieved by using consensus algorithms. Blockchains establish the conditions under which a transaction or asset exchange can occur.

Flexible and orchestrated

Because business rules and smart contracts that execute based on one or more conditions can be built into the platform, blockchain business networks can evolve as they mature to support end-to-end business processes and a wide range of activities.

Blockchain attributes framework

Five attributes of blockchains are key to reducing business frictions

Transformation triad

Three ways that enterprises, ecosystems and economies can benefit from blockchains

A new science of organizations

Highly efficient distributed business networks will challenge our notions of traditional enterprise management

The tightening of trust

Modifications of contracts, compliance and certifications will redefine how trust is embodied in business transactions

A new nexus for value exchange

Efficient and accessible marketplaces built on the blockchain will accelerate the exchange of value and flow of wealth

To discover where blockchains can provide
the greatest gains for your business, ask:

How fast should I move?

First movers and early adopters can position themselves for quicker returns and sharper competitiveness by leveraging blockchain efficiencies. Identify the most compelling use cases, experiment in discrete areas and consider agile proofs of concept.

How fast should I move?

Success in blockchain adoption will depend not on who has the best technology or app, but who can build the strongest network. Recognize the need for global standards; explore the role of alliances and consortia in making blockchains scalable, open and Interoperable; and play for the long term.

How can I scale with new revenue models?

Although implementing new technologies may be daunting, understand how they can help your business profit and scale quickly. As business models are disrupted by blockchains, think through how you can make money in new ways. Understand how blockchains will extract further value from other technologies and Explore how new blockchain-based services and apps can complement and scale existing revenue models.

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