What is Blockchain Technology and What Does it Mean for Relocation?
Blockchain technology in its simplest form is a form of record-keeping. The digital world records information. Then, recipients store this information in a database. Specifically, the components of blockchain technology include:
- Block: digital information
- Chain: public database
What is a Block?
Blocks include three specific pieces of information:
- Transactional data such as date, time, dollar amounts
- Identity of transaction participants, using unique digital signatures (not actual names)
- Hash: a unique identification code stored in a block to distinguish it from other blocks
What is a Chain?
Chains are public databases:
- Transactions are publicly recorded
- Public network is based on user trust through a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network
- Digital information is distributed but it is not duplicated
- Consensus process ensures adoption of longest chain available (discouraging multiple chains)
How Does Blockchain Technology Work?
Basically, blockchain technology lets multiple users add to recorded information. The process is governed by agreed-upon principles. The information is shared over a decentralized network. There are specific requirements for this technology to work as designed:
- Private key cryptography provides authentication for users; possession of the key is ownership
- A distributed P2P network oversees the authorization for block activity
Blockchain technology means the basis for transactions no longer relies on trust. Instead of trust, the decentralized network confirms the identity of participants and their ability to perform the transaction.
Real World Examples Using Blockchain Technology
Because blockchain technology is a form of record-keeping, various industries use it in many different ways. For example, an airline can use it to help prevent scheduling conflicts. Transportation companies can use this innovative record-keeping system to manage cargo shipments. Retail companies can use it to track products from source to most recent warehouse or store location.
For industries that rely on information verification, blockchain technology can offer several advantages throughout entire processes:
- Data storage that does not require dependence on other organizations
- Improvements in programs that reward loyalty by recording activities to a specific chain
- Lower costs to develop and maintain trusted relationships in sales
- Smart computer programs that can execute contracts without assistance or interference
- Speed of transactions can increase dramatically with no need for transaction confirmation by a middleman (banks, credit card companies)
What Does Blockchain Technology Mean for Relocation?
There are several relocation processes where blockchain technology might have an immediate and positive impact if participants adopt it as an acceptable practice. Processes that impact multiple parties and that rely on documentation, information, and verification are ideal blockchain technology candidates, including:
- Home Purchase and Sale (recording deeds, executing contracts, verification of identification, authorization for transaction)
- Household Goods Moves (initiation of relocation, contracts, authorizations required to proceed, process tracking, delivery confirmation)
- Expense Tracking and Reimbursement (initiation of service, documentation of expenses, authorization to approve reimbursement, verification of accounts, deposits of funds)
Ultimately, the entire relocation process from start to finish could be managed within blockchain technology. The more that P2P networks replace disparate systems, the greater reduction there is in expensive verification systems that revolve around trust. Innovation in data and record-keeping in relocation will allow for greater speed of transactions. As a result, processes will become easier for participants who can leverage this data for information and verification.
What Should Employers do About Blockchain Technology?
Employers should stay informed about the use of blockchain technology as it relates to processes in their relocation program. As new opportunities arise to leverage this innovative solution across various relocation processes, employers may be able to gain many benefits including speed and ease of transactions throughout the transferee or new hire’s relocation.
GMS’ team of corporate relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients understand how to leverage new technology for their relocation programs. As a result, our team can help your company learn how blockchain technology can improve the speed and ease of your relocation program’s processes.
GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com, created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation™ technology platform.
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Contact our experts online to learn more about blockchain technology and relocation, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.