Blockchain technology has moved to the center of the cross-industry tech discussion. Blockchain solves the fundamental problem of facilitating trusted transactions among parties who may be unknown to each other without the need for an intermediary. If blockchain emerges at anywhere near the scope and pace some predict, it will most likely change the way transactions are conducted across the Internet. For a service provider focused on generating revenue by providing infrastructure and facilitating billions of transactions, blockchain’s impacts and opportunities have to be on the radar. Here are three ways service providers may be able to profit in a blockchain environment.
It has often been argued that service providers are inherently trusted given the nature of their customer relationships. Because a commonly cited use for a blockchain is to record secure transactions publicly among parties, the infrastructure on which these transactions are conducted and memorialized must be highly trusted. Service providers can play a trusted provider role in blockchain technology’s nascent days as an enabler for new blockchain-based services.
Digital transactions cannot be executed without connected devices. As primary providers of connectivity and connected devices, service providers will likely facilitate innumerable blockchain transactions. As with any enabling technology in the digital era that’s had momentum, access to ready resources has fueled innovative development. Service providers have large scale relationships with their B2B customers who are now examining their own Blockchain strategy or contingency plans. Service providers can fuel the B2B ecosystem with access to Blockchain and network virtualization tools via API. These can enable B2B customers to develop dynamic, high-trust applications for end users like smart cities, banks, real estate brokerages, insurance providers and logistics companies.
Service providers, mobile operators in particular, provide services that have value after the fact. Unused minutes, texts, gigabits and loyalty points all have lasting value after they are purchased and until they are consumed. A blockchain can enable a service provider’s customers to interact with each other to exchange that value in a trusted way. Those blockchains could catalyze marketplaces that would bring consumers, businesses, distributors, manufacturers, collectors, resellers, logistics providers and other supply chain participants under one trusted roof. Blockchain technology would enable them to record and memorialize their peer-to-peer transactions, but service providers would provide the high-value BSS capabilities that facilitate and execute the transactions themselves.
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