Blockchain, the technology underpinning the digital currency revolution, has attracted much attention in its own right due to its astonishing adaptability. Across a wide range of industries and systems, blockchain is being researched and developed to add more efficiency, security and operational improvements. Now the largest mining company in the world is also adopting blockchain. Using the Ethereum blockchain, BHP Billiton are looking to improve efficiency and accuracy in their supply chain, along with adding an easier to use system for partners to track material movements throughout the system.
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Perhaps the most amazing thing about blockchain has been its adaptability. Since the emergence of Bitcoin just seven years ago, we have seen the digital currency itself go from strength to strength, and an entire industry appear around it. New ideas and new approaches to digital currency have blossomed from that initial launch, but it is the underlying technology, blockchain, that has really captured the imagination beyond the digital currency industry itself.
It seems like every week new applications for blockchain are being researched or implemented, from the financial sector with banking transactions and insurance to art identity verification and container tracking. The ways in which blockchain can improve efficiency and security in multiple market sectors is astounding, and testament to the robust and innovative technology itself.
A recent announcement by BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, only ads to this, as they put forward their new supply chain efficiency drive will be based around blockchain technology. In fact, the proposal uses the Ethereum blockchain to record the movements of wellbore rock and fluid samples to provide better and more secure real-time data regarding deliveries. The system, according to the company, will not only improve internal operating efficiency, but also enable easier and more effective collaboration with partners in the future.
The system has been developed in conjunction with blockchain startups BlockApps and Consensys, and will allow both the company itself and the vendors they use throughout the supply chain, to track live data of material movements. While introducing new technology into an existing system is often seen as a risky endeavor, BHP believe that the improved user experience and data access will improve the entire process and make management, both for BHP itself and its partners, much simpler.
Large multinationals are notoriously risk averse, and the largest mining company in the world adopting blockchain is a major breakthrough simply because it displays a level of confidence in the technology that is simply not there in endless trials or small scale use in other areas. It is a statement that blockchain really is the future, and signifies a real turning point for the digital currency industry in terms of legitimacy.