There are real tangible benefits to a blockchain that a database cannot replicate.
There is a mantra among developers “You don’t need a blockchain, you need a database”. While this is usually true if you are writing conventional apps of yesterday, the next generation of collaborative systems require capabilities that siloed, centrally owned databases just can’t achieve. What benefits?
Zero Cost Migrations
Imagine trying out a new software with your real production data, and all you had to set up was entering in a key to view your data? If you’ve ever brought a new e-commerce or inventory system -or- tried to transfer data between two complementary softwares (ex. order management & logistics) you are well aware just how much work it is to export all of your data from your other systems, reformat it, and import it into the new system. When you store your data on a blockchain, that is all it would take. There is no need to migrate your data if the new system already has it in the correct format.
You’ll be able to make a lot more use of those zero cost migrations. With all of your software systems connected to the same blockchain, they will automatically. All of your systems will be looking at the same data, all of the time. The biggest software pain point we hear from customers today is the time they manually put into keeping their systems in sync, and the errors that happen because they aren’t. If your sales folks are making sales off the data in the inventory system, and it’s not tracking the sales being made by the e-commerce system, or the point of sale terminal you will inevitably sell the same lot to multiple customers, causing disappointment and additional work. Having an automatically synced universal source of truth removes all that work and mitigates errors.
You’ll finally get those efficiency gains that technology has always provided larger players who can afford to build custom integrations.
Zero Cost Resilience
What happens when all your photos are on Facebook and Facebook goes away? You lose all your photos. What happens when your database hardware goes down? If you don’t have active backups, you lose everything. The distributed nature of blockchain means that every player in the blockchain has a complete replica of the blockchain data. That means your data is already backed up and the failure of any node in the network cannot remove your access to the data. All that with no effort from you. No need to keep backups. No archive data storage costs. No single point of failure. Even if your e-commerce vendor goes out of business all your data is still there sitting in the blockchain waiting for your next e-commerce provider to access it.
While blockchains and databases each have their place, blockchains have clear advantages for the collaborative future of local food and regional food systems.
Want to help? Help spread a good idea, share below and sign up for our newsletter here. If you would like to be part of the collaborative to support a data standardization and blockchain effort for regional food systems you can sign up here. For specific questions, connect with Tony at firstname.lastname@example.org.