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Enterprise Blockchain Solutions: The RSK Enterprise Cloud

In 1982, David Chaum proposed a decentralized method for mutually non-trusting counterparties to achieve and maintain consensus over transaction records. Leveraging primitive cryptographic methods and securing the network using physical vaults, Chaum’s intuitive idea involved a threshold secret sharing protocol. At the time, the innovation went mostly unnoticed, except within certain niche circles.

Adopting Chaum’s proposal as a fundamental principle, Satoshi Nakamoto conceived Bitcoin in 2008. Secured with a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, among other factors, this marked the first stable implementation of a groundbreaking technology. The decentralized, cryptographically encrypted architecture for peer-to-peer (P2P) interactions, immutable data storage and transparent processes opened unprecedented avenues for individuals, institutions and industries.

Traditionally, the centralized model of global enterprises presents manifold problems, both for business owners and their clientele. As a promising alternative, blockchain technology is facilitating unprecedented transformations across sectors, covering finance, education, healthcare, etc.  Against this backdrop, this article discusses enterprise blockchain solutions and how they are shaping the future of businesses and governments around the world. In doing so, it also highlights RSK’s contributions in this regard, discussing in detail the various aspects of the RSK Enterprise Cloud.

Index

Traditional Enterprise Ecosystem: Problems and Concerns
Blockchain Technology and Global Enterprises
  Finance
  Healthcare
  Digital Identities
  Supply Chains
  Real Estate
Enterprise Blockchain Platforms
  R3Corda
  Hyperledger Fabric
The RSK Enterprise Cloud: Combining Platform & Ecosystem
  Fostering Innovative Ways of Doing Business
Nuclearis: Transforming the Nuclear Industry with RSK’s Enterprise Blockchain Solution
Conclusion: A Word on Future Possibilities

 

Traditional Enterprise Ecosystem: Problems and Concerns 

Ranging from stock trading firms to social media marketing companies, traditional enterprises are heavily data-centric, with centralized management of multiple data silos. Considering the hierarchical, top-down architecture of these organizations, the responsibility of ensuring the smooth functioning of business processes ultimately lies upon a few shoulders. Similarly, power is vested in the hands of a few. Apparently, this allows for streamlined enterprise infrastructure, although the ground reality underscores some pertinent concerns.

By virtue of their very structure, centralized enterprise processes face efficiency and performance bottlenecks. To sustain the hierarchization, traditional enterprises are bound to involve multiple intermediaries, each of which represents a potential point of failure in the system. For instance, a particular signatory holding back the authorization of a shipment can delay the entire supply chain of that consignment.

Data ownership is another aspect of paramount importance for enterprises. Presently, a majority of enterprise data is stored on centrally located servers. On one hand, this siloed data structure obstructs easy and spontaneous communication between enterprise verticals. In turn, this curbs the collaborative potentials of the organization as a whole. On the other hand, enterprises have to spend exorbitant sums to store their data, as well as to maintain and manage their servers. Moreover, despite mammoth security costs, centralized data servers are essentially prone to breaches, hacks and breakdown. In combination, these factors result in substantial overhead costs, apart from risking the privacy of the enterprise’s clientele.

The functioning of enterprises is also heavily dependent on various forms of contracts and agreements. Traditionally, the involved counterparties and overseeing authorities are required to act in good faith—that is, the domain is significantly trust-maximized. This fosters the heightened possibility of corruption, manipulation, censorship, and so on. Understandably, the cumulative effect of the aforementioned factors on the enterprise’s bottom line is quite considerable. 

Blockchain Technology and Global Enterprises

Faced with the above problems, global enterprises are increasingly turning to blockchain technology. Primarily, this is in relation to the secure and seamless management of their complex data structures. As a distributed ledger technology, blockchains enable immutable data storage over distributed networks, rather than in centrally located servers. Moreover, cryptographic encryptions and peer-to-peer solutions minimize the involvement of intermediaries in enterprise processes, thereby cutting costs and inefficiencies at various levels. 

Implementing blockchain technology also widens the enterprise’s scope for asset issuance. Instead of solely relying upon traditional stocks, equities and bonds, enterprises can offer a range of unprecedented methods to accrue investments. In turn, this reduces the barriers to the entry of small, medium and alternative investors. Furthermore, enterprises can also transact and trade their blockchain-based assets, as well as assign a variety of innovative use-cases for B2B and B2C scenarios.

As a whole, blockchain allows for greater autonomy in enterprise processes, which is a necessary precursor for enhancing inclusivity and adoption. In this context, let’s briefly discuss the impact of blockchain technology on some of the major sectors. 

Finance

Cross-border financial transactions are a major source of concern for the traditional banking sector. Especially, this affects enterprises that operate in sizable market shares, courtesy of long processing time and high costs of transferring funds to entities located across geographical regions. 

Furthermore, the centralized financial ecosystem is significantly exclusive, meaning that small and medium enterprises often cannot avail a variety of traditional financial services. Arguably, the system reeks of unfairness and bias in favor of giant corporations. Stringent, yet opaque, regulatory frameworks also mean that SMBs often face losses due to otherwise avoidable compliance issues. 

Leveraging blockchain-based peer-to-peer transactions can relieve enterprises of the aforementioned problems, while also fostering inclusion through decentralized or open finance. In comparison to the centralized counterparts, blockchain-based transactions have minimal settlement time, especially in the context of cross-border payments. On the other hand, enterprises can use smart contracts to embed regulatory principles into their processes, thus eliminating the possibility of non-compliance and consequent losses. Minimizing the involvement of facilitating intermediaries also has significant cost benefits. 

Healthcare 

According to estimates, businesses in the healthcare sector face annual losses worth billions of dollars due to medical insurance fraud. Arguably thus, determining the authenticity of patients’ data is a major concern for administrators in the sector. That apart, the shortcomings regarding the inter-communication between data silos also affect healthcare enterprises. 

Data stored on blockchains is time-stamped and immutable, which makes them effectively tamper-proof. Therefore, implementing blockchain technology can empower enterprises in their drive to validate medical insurance and healthcare records of their clientele. The decentralized framework also enables secure and seamless access to medical data, which can boost research in the sector while also preserving the patient’s privacy and autonomy. 

Digital Identities

The increasing digital transformation of business processes is raising unprecedented concerns regarding the issuance, presentation and validation of digital identities. Unlike physical, paper-based IDs, ordinary digital identities are stored and presented over centralized networks and are thus prone to the typical problems mentioned earlier. In fact, even paper IDs retain the risks of forgery and manipulation. 

Together, these identity-related issues can present a wide range of undesirable scenarios for global enterprises, ranging from resource misallocation, acquisition of fake products, legal tangles, and so on. Further, enterprises also have to spend huge sums to secure the user identities stored in their databases, and often fail to do so despite the efforts.

Blockchain-based, self-sovereign identities (SSIDs)—stored and presented in a decentralized manner, similar to digital assets—have immense potential for enterprises. First, they are impossible to replicate, which automatically eliminates risks associated with forgery. Second, SSIDs are essentially trustless, meaning that there’s no need to trust the issuing authority for validating the counterparty’s identity. Instead, SSIDs are algorithmically valid, which also minimizes arbitration costs for the involved enterprise.

Third, enterprises can leverage blockchain-based identities and domain names—similar to the ones provided by RIF Identity—to send and receive payments in crypto-assets. These addresses can also be used to host decentralized websites, which are censorship-resistant and have minimal downtime. In all, blockchain-based digital identities can make enterprises ready for the future, that is Web3.0. 

Supply Chains

In the context of global trade, every enterprise is simultaneously a producer and a consumer. However, traditional supply chains are notoriously opaque, meaning that enterprises often cannot ascertain the origination and/or authenticity of raw materials and intermediary goods. This is especially true of consumer and retail sector businesses, which have complicated supply chains. Corruption, monopoly, lack of choices and quality issues are some of the major outcomes of the traditional supply chain industry. 

Again, the transparency and immutability of the blockchain ledger can resolve these issues. Blockchain-powered supply chains log the progress of goods from origination to consumption, thereby ensuring minimal manipulation and optimum quality. In turn, this can also strengthen an enterprise’s market reputation and customer loyalty.

By implementing smart contracts, enterprises can also achieve better predictions for their supply chains, which could lead to better resource allocation and management. This can ensure a desirable demand-supply curve for the enterprise while reducing losses faced due to shortages and misapprehensions. The process of onboarding new suppliers can also be smoothened and de-complicated using combinations of several decentralized solutions. In doing so, the achieved transparency shall also foster greater social responsibility on the enterprise’s part, enabling them to work only with non-exploitative suppliers and agencies. 

Real Estate

Presently, real estate is one the most valuable asset classes in the global economy. Since assets in this sector are predominantly of high value, only certain categories of investors can participate in the real estate market. Apart from excluding many, this also means that real estate projects often face difficulties in accruing adequate investment. This is especially true of commercial real estate properties, where high demand pushes the prices even further up the sky, so to say. 

Among other benefits, blockchain technology enables the tokenization—simply put, digital representation—of real estate assets. Effectively, this turns real-world properties into crypto-assets, which can then support fractional ownership and peer-to-peer trading. This substantially enhances the liquidity of the real estate sector, thus making the sector more accessible for alternative investors. 

 

Enterprise Blockchain Platforms

Having discussed the implications of blockchain technology for global enterprises across sectors, let’s briefly discuss two of the popular enterprise blockchain platforms. Thereafter, we shall have the ground prepared for our discussion on RSK’s contributions in the domain of enterprise blockchain solutions. 

R3 Corda 

R3 is a consortium of multinational financial tech corporations that came together to develop a distributed ledger platform known as ‘Corda’. It was built with the aim of becoming an all-encompassing public ledger, where companies and individuals can record their business transactions, state of affairs and debts accrued. 

As such, bookkeeping, contract negotiation and auditing are some of the most strenuous aspects of running an enterprise-level venture. In essence, Corda strives to bridge this gap, by offering a platform for financial enterprises where smart contracts govern the execution of real-world interactions. In other words, agreements under Corda are enforced by the code and not by courts.

Corda’s ecosystem comprises a set of network parameters, standards and governance protocols, which enables enterprises to build and deploy custom dApps to carry out their business logic. Instead of individually keeping records for transactions and contracts, members of the consortium can innovate and adopt better as well as cheaper bookkeeping solutions. In the long run, Corda’s implications can extend beyond the financial sector and into any domain that requires contractual arbitration. 

Hyperledger Fabric 

Hyperledger is a permissioned blockchain network, offering several identity management and access control solutions for global enterprises. These solutions may include supply chain cataloging, settlement of blockchain-based loans and reward programs among other use-cases. The Hyperledger Fabric was developed as an open-source project by the Linux Foundation in 2016, and therefore, is backed by a vibrant, enthused and passionate community of developers. 

The permissioned architecture is especially relevant for enterprises that deal with sensitive data that requires stringent verification. Healthcare, banking, supply chain and data  analytics are some of the industries where Fabric can play a crucial role. Above all, the platform enables enterprises to achieve seamless data flows through fixed and permissioned channels. 

Considering that all Hyperledger-based transactions are authorized and authenticated by two or more, privately connected counterparties, the platform is optimally secure for enterprise-grade interactions. Further, this aspect is strengthened by the implementation of robust access control mechanisms.

The RSK Enterprise Cloud: Combining Platform & Ecosystem

Deployed as a Bitcoin sidechain, RSK is a platform for smart contracts that combines the security of Bitcoin with Ethereum’s functionalities. Its two-way pegging mechanism is secured by a merged mining protocol which enables rapid transaction settlement, among other benefits. Based on this structural and functional framework, RSK is on a journey to lay the foundation for a fully-decentralized, fair and inclusive business environment. 

The platform offers several solutions—built by the RSK Infrastucture Framework or RIF—aimed at facilitating robust, self-sufficient, and unified Web3.0 processes. Innovating enterprise blockchain solutions is one of the primary focuses of the developers in the RSK ecosystem. Leveraging the technical stack developed at RIF and in collaboration with Grupo Sabra, IOV Labs has developed Extrimian, which is a robust enterprise blockchain solution with manifold usability. The solution combines a robust platform with a diverse ecosystem, together known as the RSK Enterprise Cloud.

In simple terms, the RSK Enterprise Cloud is a holistic offering that enables businesses to build, deploy and manage scalable blockchain-native applications and processes. Designed to be the next generation of cloud networks, the ecosystem can be leveraged for conducting fully-decentralized, hassle-free and seamless enterprise-level interactions, in both B2B and B2C scenarios.

Fostering Innovative Ways of Doing Business

In sync with RSK’s wider vision, the enterprise cloud introduces unprecedented business avenues. Against such a backdrop, this section outlines some of the major benefits of the solution. First, enterprises can augment their existing IT environment using RSK’s full-stack, commercially deployable software development kit. The solution will enable enterprises to adopt blockchain technology while preserving certain aspects of their legacy systems. In doing so, enterprises can access closed, permissioned networks, as well as open, non-permissioned ones, depending on their requirement.

Second, RSK’s enterprise blockchain solution simplifies the process of developing shared business applications. Traditionally, the procedure is resource-intensive, long and rigorous, involving highly cumbersome checks and audits to determine the credibility of the partners and other participating entities. On the contrary, RSK is working towards fast-tracking this process while maintaining the required degree of security thus generating substantial value for global enterprises. Moreover, this catalyzes innovations by inspiring a collaborative enterprise culture.

Third, the enterprise cloud will ease the process of building decentralized governance protocols for organizations. The proprietary ‘Governance-as-a-Solution’ (GaSS) platform covers mechanisms for determining voting rights, protocol updates, admittance of new members, etc. Consequently, the cloud will assist enterprises intending to shift away from the centralized, hierarchical architecture to a decentralized, fair and community-oriented framework.

Fourth, the enterprise cloud offers a ‘Blockchain-as-a-Service’ (BaSS) solution, aimed at easing the drudgery of conducting mundane operations such as client onboarding, inventory checks, etc. Automating these processes using RSK’s solution will significantly impact the enterprise’s bottom line. Furthermore, it will free up human resources for more intuitive tasks such as app development, while the platform handles the “boring” operations.

In the context of the foregoing discussion, it’s necessary to mention that easing the adoption of blockchain technology is one of RSK’s primary mottos. The principle is backed by the realization that most existing enterprise blockchain solutions are difficult to implement, which ultimately restricts several businesses from making their much-needed blockchain transformation. 

Nuclearis: Transforming the Nuclear Industry with RSK’s Enterprise Blockchain Solution 

One of the primary motivations behind the development of Extrimian was the persistent notoriety that plagues the global energy sector. Ranging from oil resources in the Middle East to radioactive material from DRC and Central Africa, the sector often sources its raw materials from questionable sources. Consequently, maintaining the authenticity of the source materials, especially in the case of a high risk field like nuclear power, becomes a matter of utmost necessity.

In general, nuclear resources are sourced from different geographical locations, meaning that they involve multiple regulatory requirements. Implementing blockchain technology embeds compliance mechanisms into the nuclear supply chain, apart from imparting optimum transparency in the domain.

Headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and built on top of the RSK blockchain, Nuclearis resolves several needs of the industry, including processes, equipment and devices. By creating on-chain solutions, the platform authenticates various aspects of nuclear material using RSK’s distributed consensus, while the use of smart contracts makes the procedure trust-minimized and self-executing. On one hand, Nuclearis eases compliance auditing, while on the other, it eliminates the opacity of nuclear supply chains. In combination, this results in greater transparency and better businesses practices. 

Presently, there are over 400 nuclear power plants, each of which are prone to the aforementioned malpractices and can result in irreversible disasters. As a potential solution to this problem, the RSK-powered Nuclearis platform is truly transforming the global nuclear industry. In other words, the RSK Enterprise Cloud is facilitating the development of Nuclear Tech, which has manifold implications in relation to the safe and sustainable utilization of nuclear resources. 

Conclusion: A Word on Future Possibilities

We have discussed the various aspects of enterprise blockchain solutions, their advantages and how RSK is contributing in this regard. However, even today, there remain certain fundamental obstacles to the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. So, one might rightly ask: What is holding blockchains back from realizing their full potential? 

The biggest factor, in this regard, is the scalability concerns existing with most, present-day blockchain environments, especially the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum. That apart, developing blockchain solutions often involves a steep learning curve for developers. 

To resolve this crisis, RIF has developed libraries which ease the process of developing blockchain solutions. In fact, the solutions under the RSK Enterprise cloud also take ease-of-access into account. In the longer run, such assistance, coupled with language-agnostic blockchain development platforms, will definitely inspire greater innovations in the domain of enterprise blockchains. 

In today’s fast-digitizing world, the adoption of blockchain technology is emerging as an inevitable phenomenon. Traditional enterprises are increasingly realizing the need to implement decentralized frameworks and processes, primarily as a solution to a range of arbitration and identity related concerns. Privacy and data security are also playing crucial roles in the process. Consequently, global enterprises across sectors are exponentially adopting blockchain-based solutions. 

Collaborating with Grupo Sabra, IOV Labs is contributing to this change with RSK Enterprise Cloud. The solution is designed to ease the development and deployment of enterprise blockchain solutions, primarily by enabling secure, decentralized and seamless multi-party conversations. Considering the sensitivity of enterprise data, the offering is strengthened with robust security and privacy mechanisms, apart from offering effective and layered access control protocols for end-users. 

The RSK Enterprise Cloud is most definitely a step-forward in IOV Lab’s journey towards laying the foundations of a fully-decentralized Web3.0. In doing so, the platform is shaping the future of enterprises, enabling them to conduct business in a matter that is both competitive and user-centric. Moving forward, this will inspire greater adoption of blockchain technology, not just by enterprises but also by governments and individuals.