Blockchain is an advanced technology, but that doesn’t mean it has to be impossible to use. In fact, implementing blockchain often starts with ensuring you have a valid use case. For example, you may want to digitize your business’s assets, processes, or transactions. You may also be interested in building trust with independent organizations by leveraging immutable transaction and asset records.
Whatever your established need for blockchain, the next important step is figuring out how to get started. While many technical aspects will be specific to your use case, a few high-level considerations can guide your strategy. These considerations start with defining the requirements that will meet your company’s needs.
Define Your Requirements to Discover the Ideal Blockchain
Defining your project requirements is essential as it will help you narrow down the potential blockchain technologies available to you. A few requirements may include location, use case, performance, and security. Let’s look at some questions your team might ask when analyzing your requirements:
Where will content be hosted? Determining if your tools will be self-hosted or hosted on external (cloud-based) servers will impact the amount of computing power available to you. Also, with externally hosted systems, you won’t have as much flexibility in system configuration.
What is your use case for blockchain? For example, if you’re interested in the tokenization of physical goods, the blockchain technology you choose will need to support tokenizing real-world assets. Or, if you would like to digitize your processes, you may need access to features such as smart contracts.
What are your performance requirements? Blockchain can speed up processes that require verification, especially when two independent entities are working to establish trust. However, blockchain technology requires advanced infrastructure, and teams must ensure that they have the hardware in place to run blockchain tools while keeping up with performance requirements.
What are your security requirements? One of the core features of blockchain is that data in the chain cannot be manipulated. This can be a problem if security requirements for your industry require you to delete data after a certain time period.
These questions will give you a good place to start when analyzing your blockchain requirements. Other factors your team may want to consider are the blockchain’s ability to scale and adapt to new needs, its update frequency, and if others in your industry are using the tool for similar uses. Additionally, you’ll need to choose a consensus algorithm that meets the needs of your project.
Teams must consider how they will commit changes to the chain, in other words, which consensus algorithm they will use. This choice is important because network reliability cannot always be guaranteed, and your consensus algorithm should be designed to deal with this reality. Your algorithm will be responsible for committing transactions to the database, designating node leaders for distributed tasks, and synchronizing state machine replicas.
Popular consensus algorithms include Proof of Work, practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance, Proof of Stake, Proof of Burn, Proof of Capacity, and Proof of Elapsed Time. Your consensus algorithm is key to ensuring contributions to the chain are legitimate and will require sufficient computing resources to serve as a deterrent for dishonest individuals. After defining your project’s requirements, including the consensus algorithm you’ll use, it’s important to discuss how you’ll onboard new users.
Onboarding New Users Onto Your Blockchain Solution
Without a proper onboarding plan, companies risk losing users at the most critical stage of the process. As with mainstream applications, onboarding starts with an understanding of your users. Persona research is key to predicting how users will interact with your application and choosing an onboarding process that works for them.
Understanding your users is important because their role will impact the onboarding process. For example, if you’re using blockchain to verify different steps in the supply chain, your users may be the employees of your business partners. They will be attempting to use your solution while working, and that needs to be factored into the onboarding design. Consider the following questions:
- How will using your solution impact their work?
- What do they already carry with them that could be used to do the job (scanning tool)?
- How will you train employees to use the solution?
Answers to these questions don’t have to be complicated. Consider training. If it’s an application, it’s possible to design the application to guide users through its main features. During brainstorming and design, user testing can be leveraged to ensure that your assumptions match your users’ reality.
Blockchain is an indispensable tool for digitizing your company’s assets and processes. By clearly defining your company’s requirements, choosing the right consensus algorithm, and onboarding users correctly, you’ll help take your blockchain solutions from idea to reality. Our team at Coherent Solutions can help you work through the essential planning, designing, and building steps for your blockchain tool. Talk to one of our experts to get started.