Video of the week - Blockchain: what it is and why it matters!

10 September, 2019

Blockchain's role in reshaping the way businesses are run is gradually being appreciated. While frequently associated with various cryptocurrencies, its significance runs much deeper than popular cryptocurrency investment. Yet it has limitations at this stage - for example, is it ready yet to introduce changes in the distribution systems? Perhaps not, but it is clear that blockchain technology will change the way we do business.

Blockchain is fast emerging as the priority technology for future exploration among airport and airline CIOs globally, attracting the most research attention in 2018, according to research released by SITA. It shows that blockchain offers multiple use cases ranging from passenger identification to ticketing, asset tracking and managing frequent flyers programs, all of which help the various stakeholders in the industry work better together.

One of the key benefits of blockchain technology is the ability to have multi-enterprise applications. These work across multiple organisations locking data immutably into the blockchain rather than having individual applications running separately and exchanging data on a case-by-case basis. This is how this technology can provide a 'single source of truth' to all stakeholders.

Elsewhere, the influence of machine learning, blockchain, and chatbots can provide corporate travel managers powerful communication tools for driving travel programme compliance. It is even suggested it could disrupt the financial services industry.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) last year singled out blockchain technology, and specifically Ripple, as having the potential to completely disrupt the world's financial system. Blockchain has "the potential to profoundly transform the way we trade, who trades and what is traded," it said, while singling out Ripple as being able to radically change how financial institutions move money.

"Ripple has ambitions to circumvent the correspondent banking model through its distributed ledger platform. It gives banks the ability to convert funds directly into different currencies in a matter of seconds and at little to no cost, without relying on correspondent banks," it explained.

A leading industry expert on Blockchain, ConsenSys, Managing Director, Lory Kehoe explored many of the key interfaces between Blockchain and the airline business at the CAPA Airline Leader Summit in the Republic of Ireland earlier this year during a keynote presentation.