Is blockchain all hype? In the last eighteen months, the biggest blockchain news outside of Bitcoin has been the numerous (and disastrous) ICOs that have come and gone. A study conducted by Boston College of Massachusetts found that more than 50% of all ICOs fail in the first four months. Nevermind the 80% that were altogether scams (according to Satis Group). Coupled with the bursting of the cryptobubble and the ensuing ICO winter, you’d be fair to agree with the skeptics who say yes, blockchain is all hype.
However, the reality is that ICOs, cryptocurrency and their ilk represent one small silo of what distributed ledger technology -- the very root of blockchain -- is capable of. Recruitment, supply chain, and logistics are three industries I can think of outside of cryptocurrency that have implemented, or present practical use cases for, blockchain.
I’ve worked in the staffing industry my entire career and am committed to creating the best technology to improve the hiring process for jobseekers and hirers. While the smart contract is a popular application for blockchain in recruitment, there are broader possibilities. An estimated 60 million people in the US change jobs each year and research states that at least 80% of those candidates lie on resumes and during the hiring process. References and past employment tenures are a common place for applicants to twist the truth. This may be why half of all hires fail in the first 18 months.
A public blockchain record of employment would offer a solution to this problem by creating a central repository for all of the relevant career information we have. College degrees, past work experience, awards and references could all be stored and verified on the blockchain for reference and amendment by future employers. There are questions about privacy that such a system raises of course, but blockchain’s security and modus operandi makes it one of the safest networks on which to store sensitive information. Candidates can control who has access to their information.
A blockchain employment record could be considered similar to a credit history. When you apply for a loan at a bank, you aren’t granted that loan based solely on the strength of your pitch to the loan officer and application. You’d only get approved if the bank ran a credit check and verified the information on your application.
Why wouldn’t an employer want to do the same to avoid making a bad investment in a dishonest applicant? Businesses can lose 1-2% of their annual revenue in the time it takes to bring a new hire up to speed. The last thing they want to do is repeat that process continuously due to unqualified hires. Think of work histories stored on the blockchain as a boon to honest candidates who may have been passed over for a dishonest hire who didn’t work out. This “trust ledger” builds more transparency and fairness into the hiring process.
Blockchain’s greatest untapped potential may be in the global supply chain logistics market; experts have outlined exactly how blockchain can improve the supply chain. Generally, the advice boils down to a few central points based on a chain reaction from increased automation.
As more players in logistics embrace blockchain, there will be increased blockchain-based automation. Increased automation means information and records can be input, shared, stored and verified more quickly and efficiently. It’s thought that around 10% of all invoices contain mistakes which echo down the supply chain. With increased automation, discrepancies may be spotted and corrected before their detrimental effects can reverberate too far down.
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