Blockchain and the Future of Auditing

Blockchain and the Future of Auditing

BBlockchain technology has a far-reaching impact on the auditing profession, with new methods being researched every day to incorporate blockchain in auditing. With the many advantages of the blockchain technology, it promises to be very useful in auditing. Since blockchain is an open record of transactions made between two parties, it allows the auditor to monitor them more conveniently. No changes can be made in blockchains, keeping them in check and dependable.
This also means, all the recorded transactions can be verified by the auditor without putting much effort, making it less time consuming, and thereby cost-efficient.
Another help that blockchain provides is during the checking of data. Traditionally auditors deal with a huge amount of data, because of which they are unable to check the entire record. For this, they apply random sampling methods, but with blockchain, this task is reduced to mere usage of coding after which the auditors are able to check each and every transaction.

You must have heard about blockchain technology, the new talk of the town. Blockchain has been received quite well by almost every sector of the economy. With bitcoins becoming all the rage, blockchain (the technology behind) too attracted people’s attention.

Blockchain in simplest terms, is a list of distributed ledgers that continue to grow and record transactions made between two parties. The recorded data is in the form of blocks that are permanent and cannot be tampered with. But perhaps the popularity of blockchain lies in its core feature where the data is not stored in one place, instead is shared between computers by a peer-to-peer network, thus making it more secure and decentralized. To make changes in a particular block, you need to either bring changes to all the blocks in the chain network or add a new block with the alterations. Since the blocks move in a chronological manner, the data is visible in a progressive manner too.
The commercial acceptance of blockchain has led businesses to experiment with it in different sectors of the economy. One such sector, where the popularity of blockchain is increasing with time is the finance and audit sector.

Blockchain and the future of auditing

The interest of business firms in blockchain has given an edge to auditors to explore the technology more. In future there could be a possibility that a software is created that helps the auditors do
away with the manual work that consumes most of their time, like data collection. The increased role of blockchain does not mean a decreased, or no role of auditors in future, instead it can be seen as a change in their current one. This also means that the traditional way of auditing will not be replaced by blockchain, but only be modified.
The future of auditing looks bright with blockchain, but there are still certain considerations that need to be taken care of. One major roadblock in this regard is the technological limitation that we face as of now. What also need to be taken into consideration are the trade regulations, which would require amendments once blockchain becomes integral to auditing. International laws would have to be passed once people across the globe come together in this network based system.
Though we are making progress each day, there is still a long way for blockchain to take over the auditing sector.

Walmart Marches Onward with Blockchain, Digital Transformation

Walmart Marches Onward with Blockchain, Digital Transformation

Blockchain has the ability to extend transparency even in food supply chains. Every year, contaminated food kills 400,000 people. The lack of traceability from farm to fridge makes it difficult for companies to identify the perpetrator, resulting in more people getting sick. Owing to this, Walmart has decided to build a food traceability system using Blockchain Technology.

blockchain-technology-in walmart

Applying blockchain to a package of mangoes, Walmart tracked the fruit to its original source in two seconds, something that could otherwise take weeks. The world’s largest retailer will be using IBM’s Blockchain Platform to track food throughout the complete supply chain to confirm quality in an
efficient manner.

Similarly, the two corporations formed a syndicate over the summer with many different major players within the grocery and consumer packaged goods (CPG) spaces—Unilever, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Kroger, Dole, Driscoll’s, McLane, McCormick and Golden State Foods—to classify areas of improvement and ultimately create the food supply chain safer.

Retailers are focused on digital marketplaces and preventing counterfeits, the top five blockchain opportunities that retail organizations are pursuing are:

  1. Blockchain-enabled marketplaces
    Trust in the intermediary (marketplace) is replaced with trust in the underlying code and consensus rules. Blockchain technology lets this verification be undertaken at a negligible rate, even at scale.
  2. Preventing counterfeit products
    With the ability of blockchain to track the origin of each part of a final product, it is possible to have an audit trail that is visible to all relevant parties. This ensures the authenticity of goods and reduces counterfeiting.
  3. Inventory and pilferage tracking
    End-to-end visibility from suppliers to retailers ensures transparency and authenticity where multiple suppliers are involved.
  4. Tracking returned goods
    Blockchain systems help retailers ensure returned goods are tracked back to their suppliers, along with contracts to better manage returns.
  5. Loyalty program management
    A blockchain-enabled loyalty program can be used to create a single wallet for loyalty rewards, providing convenience to customers and improving trust when multiple businesses are involved in the same program.

Blurring the lines between digital and physical

Walmart continues to feature new, convenient features to its mobile app, with the goal of saving the consumers’ time and money and improving the shopping experience. Current common options embrace its own digital payment platform, Walmart Pay, which aims to speed up the checkout
process and a popular price matching tool, Savings Catcher that encourages consumers to trust the prices at Walmart.

One recent upgrade is allowing shoppers to quickly order refills and manage their prescriptions within the app and setting up “express lanes” in stores for customers who have placed orders via the app. For the pharmacy service, the upgrade helps support a high-traffic part of the business and makes the app stickier to more customers.

Walmart is also innovating on the back-end operations and in the process of building the world’s largest private cloud, with the capability to process 2.5 petabytes of data per hour. At its HQ, the firm created the “Data Café”, a high-tech analytics hub staffed with analytics experts that other teams can consult. Data processing time has reduced from weeks to minutes and allows teams to more quickly generate insights and respond to the market.
Through this investment, Walmart strengthens its data analytics capabilities and captures value by becoming a more nimble player with a stronger understanding of its business and ultimately leading to higher sales and operating efficiencies.

The value created with blockchain technology includes: higher accuracy than paper trailing and manual inspections due to constant cross-checking, broader accessibility, therefore, multiple companies will simply access or share data, higher security and shorter time needed to trace back to a source of contamination. The value captured is potential monitoring cost savings and supply chain efficiencies and stronger consumer confidence and sales for Walmart if the company can reduce outbreaks and increase response time when issues do arise.

Although the technology and testing are in their early stages, the initial results are promising and Walmart is gaining a first-mover advantage to engage these technologies in this novel way.

Blockchain in Native Advertising

Blockchain in Native Advertising

Instead of relying on advertisements that disrupt the online experiences of their target audiences, native advertising allows marketers to create “in-feed” and inherently non-disruptive promotional content that supplements the online experience of a user, such as promoted tweets on Twitter, suggested posts on Facebook and sponsored content on Buzzfeed or Mashable.
Content marketers are increasingly turning to native advertising because it is known to be building trust and engagement with prospective customers than traditional display advertisements.

The blockchain is a record-storing innovation, which enables users to contribute information to a chain, which is a kind of a “digital ledger,” before it gets locked by other computers in the network. The entire blockchain system is secure, non-auditable, transparent and efficient.

The combination of these factors develops trust and promotes confidence at every level without having to know the person at another end. The blockchain is essentially a database that exists in multiple duplicates on different PCs.

These PCs follow a shared system, implying that there is no single, centralized database or server, rather the blockchain database exists within a decentralized system of machines, each serving as a hub on that system.

A survey by Facebook and IHS Inc. found that native ads can form up a calculated 63% of mobile display ad spending by 2020. Furthermore, the research found that media buyers will spend $84.5 billion on mobile ads. Native in-stream ads will account for $53 billion in digital ad spending by 2020. This proves beyond any doubt that native advertising is the next big thing in advertising and marketing. Consumers are tired of disruptive advertisements and their attention spans are diminishing rapidly.

To revive consumer interest, marketers have no choice but to use “inbound” marketing strategies, like native advertising, which by virtue of it seeming like part of the story, is natural to the point of being indistinguishable from the main content.

How Blockchain can benefit Native ads?

  1. Customized Native ads

The design of native advertisements can be customised so that users can better interact with customers and obtain incentives.
Native advertisements are an advertisement type presented by specific media in a more relevant way based on the material from advertisers. The goal is to include some elements in the form of native advertisements based on blockchain ecosystem and let users better understand that an advertisement is from that ecosystem, so that they can engage more proactively.

2. Native Advertisements feed

Advertising is content. Through combining advertisements with different types of content feed, applications will keep users for longer. Information traffics native advertisements basically lead new forms of advertising to switch from single advertising format to content feed.
Native advertisements feed provides personalized recommendations based on user feedback, including both content and advertising. There are various navigation categories, such as news, video, food order, clothing, and cosmetics, etc. Users can switch on their individual content feeds from the chosen categories of interest. In each of the chosen categories, users can browse news or videos, order takeout or purchase desired advertisements. The system will give a personalized recommendation based on user feedback and users can also comment on given content and advertisements.

Blockchain technology holds excessive possibilities for every marketer with an interest in native advertising. On the one hand, native advertising in its many forms is growing very rapidly. On the opposite, blockchain applications are rolling out on an everyday basis. Platforms that combine one with the other offer great opportunities to get ahead of the competition.

Conclusion:

In case, you are looking to understand blockchain and its implications in your business sector in more detail, drop us an email on [email protected] or schedule a free consultation with our team of blockchain experts who can guide you through the blockchain implementation in a specific use case.

How Open Financial Tools & Services on Blockchain are an Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

How Open Financial Tools & Services on Blockchain are an Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

Outside of all the consistent value speculation and novelty of cryptocurrencies, a compelling trend towards an additional open finance system this movement is that the enlargement of the infrastructure and regulation needed to facilitate a transition toward open financ tools.
Parallel with the emergence of cryptocurrencies is that the stress on open financial tools, either built directly on blockchains as open protocols or hybrid services for digital assets offered by commercial entities ingratiated with legacy systems. These assignments expand on thoughts of cryptocurrencies by building clear and open financial instruments for creating and tapping into the facility of digital assets.

Fintech Trends to watch in 2019
(Fintech Trends to watch in 2019)
(Image Source: https://www.cbinsights.com/research/report/fintech-trends-2019/)

Financial services perspective

The financial services sector one in each of the primary industries to explore blockchain and is recognized globally as a business with high potential to be actually wedged by blockchain technology.
At a practical level, decentralized and distributed ledger technologies have the potential to fundamentally redesign the ways in which financial institutions interact with each other, regulators, and their customers. Historically, use cases for blockchain technology in financial services include open finance, customer on-boarding, regulatory reporting, and cross-border payments. Moving forward, revenue-generation use cases for crypto-trading services, loyalty programs, securities- lending services, and others have started to come into focus.
While global institutions begin to spin up blockchain-focused teams, and internal investment increases, it is important to note the emerging disruptors in this space. As discussed in our earlier examination of enterprise organizations vs. emerging disruptors, new blockchain start-ups are not constricted with legacy technologies, operating systems, or business models. Many incumbents are taking note, and some of the biggest names in the financial services space are currently investing heavily in and acquiring blockchain capabilities.

Still, blockchain is not without its challenges:

● Scalability is a key issue to deal with as organizations look to explore the numerous potential blockchain solutions out there to them.

● Security is an important consideration: 84 percent of respondents indicated they believe blockchain-enabled solutions will be more secure but remain unclear as to what new threat matrix may develop.

● Consortia creation and collaboration is imperative to enable the financial services industry to unlock the true potential of the technology. According to our global survey, 45 percent of respondents said they would look to join a consortium and partner with others to develop and reap the benefits of blockchain.

Importance of blockchain’s financial tools and services:

  • Financial tools and data privacy: The pace at which innovative technologies are hitting the crypto market is incredible, and entrepreneurs are making the most of this to enhance the growth of their company. Bitcoin Profit System, for instance, has a simple trading interface that allows entrepreneurs and investors to participate in various trading options even if they are amateurs in this sector.
  • Integrated financial services: The growth of open financial tools built on blockchains is open to hybrid services for different digital assets provided by commercial entities that are integrated by secure legacy systems. An open financial system will only exist if there are proper innovations and infrastructure in the related spheres.
  • Improved regulations, identity standardization, and increasing regulation: Traditionally, entrepreneurs had to play the guessing game whether their investment will be safe or not. Data privacy and security was a primary concern back then. However, the open financial system along with its tools and services are making the process much easier. Standardization and improved data security are the orders of the day now.

Blockchain tools have shown a demonstrable shift within open financ services from efficiency and cost savings toward a broader portfolio of blockchain applications designed to include new revenue streams. It is clear the financial services industry is at the tipping point of critical change and those who understand both the opportunities and challenges will emerge as winners.

Blockchain and Intellectual Property (IP) Law

Blockchain and Intellectual Property (IP) Law

A rapidly growing ecosystem of companies is looking at how blockchain technology can be used to improve the administration and enforcement of IP rights across multiple jurisdictions. The Blockchain and Intellectual Property Law field is numerous and could impact both the governance of IP rights and the IP industry itself.

Blockchain for registered and unregistered rights could arguably be used to provide proof of creation, existence, ownership and/or first use, to register IP rights, to facilitate the administration and management of IP rights on a global scale, thereby potentially contributing to the emergence of “global IP chains” and to enforce IP rights and fight counterfeits in a more efficient way.

While applications of blockchain technology could help to alleviate some of the challenges that rights-holders face, the technology will not solve all issues. But one thing is certain: the disruptive nature of the technology, the multiplicity of potential applications emerging, and their practical and legal implications deserve the attention of regulators and legislators.

Illustration-of-the-use-of-blockchain in-IP-assets-and-patents
(Illustration of the use of blockchain in IP assets and patents)
(Image Source: https://www.saama.com/blog/blockchain-drug-discovery-development/)

There are four primary types of IP protection: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Therefore, an IP protection strategy must include an understanding of the scope of each type of protection and how it can be applied to a specific innovation. Clients seeking the assistance of an IP attorney are usually able to identify the “property” that they would like to protect.

  1. Patents

A patent can protect a machine, process, or article of manufacture. A U.S. patent holder has the right to exclude all others in the United States from making, using, selling, offering for sale, importing, and, in some cases exporting, implementations of their claimed invention for the duration of the patent (typically, approximately 20 years). This is an exceptionally powerful right, granted by the U.S. government that is given to the inventor in exchange for the public disclosure of their invention. While patents are a flexible and powerful form of IP, they are also usually the most expensive and most difficult to obtain due to the fact that a relatively protracted application process is required. Owners of pending patent applications may mark commercial embodiments of those inventions as “patent pending,” which can provide some competitive advantages against potential copiers during the patent process.

2. Copyrights

Copyright exists in any original work of authorship (e.g., literary, musical, architectural, and pictorial works) that has been fixed in a tangible medium (e.g., a book, a photograph, a compact disc, or a digital memory device). The holder of a copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, prepare derivatives of, and digitally transmit the work, and may also mark works with a copyright notice.

Computer programs and databases are considered literary works as it relates to copyright laws. While it is useful to keep and maintain copyrights in software source code and database schema and contents, especially since there is little effort needed to obtain the copyright in the first place (e.g., original authorship and a fixed medium), the protection provided by a copyright is somewhat limited and primarily intended to prevent true piracy as opposed to mere imitation.

3. Trademarks

A trademark is a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, color, or combination thereof that is used to identify the source of goods or services bearing the mark. A trademark holder has an exclusive right to mark goods and services with the mark in order to put consumers on notice of their source, and the duration of a trademark that is continuously maintained and used by the mark holder is indefinite.

There are no significant software-specific considerations with trademarks. Trademarks should be considered for software application names or logos that an owner would like to distinguish from other applications.

  4. Trade Secrets

A trade secret is: (1) any information (e.g., a process, formula, design, instrument, pattern, method, or compilation of information), (2) that the holder has taken reasonable measures to keep secret and (3) that derives independent economic value from being neither publicly known nor readily ascertainable by proper means by those who can make economic use of it.

A software application should be evaluated early in its development to determine the extent to which it can be maintained as a trade secret. Where important software features are embodied in user-facing or clientside processes, relying upon patent protection may be the better option. Where features or databases containing important information are kept server-side, maintaining them with a high level of security, encryption, and access control may allow them to be kept as trade secrets indefinitely.

With the current influx of investment in blockchain technology, growing popularity across a wide variety of industries, and the recent upsurge of blockchain and intellectual property law, this space is poised for significant growth in the years to come. Many have likened Blockchain’s revolution to the early days of the internet, poised to be the very next iteration of disruptive technology. There are many firms looking to be at the forefront of adopting blockchain, from startups to Fortune 500 giants, and with the right investments in intellectual property, as well as smart partnerships, these organizations can position themselves for success in the promising new world of blockchain.

Want to know more about Blockchain and Intellectual Property law and its implications in your business? Request for a free quote to reach out to us on [email protected] and our experts will get back to you with the best solution for your business.

Blockchain in HR

Blockchain in HR

The demand for Blockchain in Human Resource (HR) is growing and is having its impact on the Human Resources function. While blockchain is widely associated with many forms of industries like, Music Industry, Tourism Industry, Banking etc, and many forms of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology is set to revolutionize how the HR and recruitment functions operate within the business.  No longer confined to cryptocurrency, blockchain’s capabilities can be extended to sectors such as logistics, fashion, healthcare, and even humanitarian causes. Various areas of hr operations are directly being affected by blockchain.

Manpower Recruitment
Manpower Recruitment is a time-consuming process and utilizes resources within the HR department, so much so that organizations hire third party agencies or recruiters to claim back the time.  All this comes with a price and incurs expenses and are counterproductive. Looking into Resumes will be easier, grades, certificates, work history and experience will be easily verified and visible to people with direct involvement.

Checking and Verification
It has been found that a majority of early adopters of blockchain in Human Resource (HR) sector currently use it to verify digital identities and this is because the data stored comes from trusted sources such as authorized institutes. Being able to verify individuals’ identities, background and work experience alongside real-time information relating to pay and claims will undoubtedly free up some much needed time to allow HR to focus on the more strategic goals of the business.

Cross Referencing
The process of employee referencing has gone for big change a lot over the years and it looks likely to change again in the near future.  As HR will have access to a candidate’s employment record that is accurate and reportedly impossible to falsify, the referencing process will become more transparent and address fraudulent credentials, increasing the chances of you hiring talent better suited to the business.

Smart Contracts
It has been found and reported that high numbers of early adopters of blockchain are already utilizing smart contracts within their organizations. Smart contracts between an employer and its workforce will make it possible for workers to be paid automatically this is by virtue of a code which will determine what happens to the money once it comes in and certain conditions are created.  The distribution of wages can happen instantly with no risk of delays or fraud.

Employee data records
The current procedure to hire and on-board a new recruit is lengthy.  From conducting the interviews, checking qualifications, validating work background and gathering references or applying for the necessary security checks – it all so time-consuming. This process continues throughout employment. As blockchain would already have stored all of this important validated information, it would significantly reduce the time and energy spent on this process, easing the whole HR experience.

Assured and Secured Transactions
All transactions in a blockchain setting can be anything from an exchange of personal information, work history, records to financial details and crypto-currencies. The capabilities of cyber-security are changing the future of these transactions as the information stored on blockchain technology is secured through cryptography which makes it extremely difficult to tamper with.

Attendance
The blockchain technology is used to store biometric data, such as a fingerprint or iris scan, for legal ID and record and data storage.  Organizations could use this technique of storing unique employee data to track attendance and expenses for wages and claim purposes. Human resources would have visibility to the real-time data and there would be no dispute that the records are accurate, strengthening the trust element in payment authorization and looking into claims made.

Compliance & Auditing

With the data stored within the blockchain already accurate and validated, audit checks for compliance would be easy to conduct and readily visible to those authorized. It looks like blockchain technology would be a welcome addition to HR that is likely to free up time and resources needed to focus on core business goals and objectives whilst strengthening the role of HR as a strategic partner.

Conclusion:

With the introduction of blockchain in Human Resource (HR) segments, the operations have become pretty safe and streamlined, transactions have become safe and records are easily accessible. In case, you are looking to understand blockchain’s implications in HR sector in more detail, drop us an email on [email protected] or schedule a free consultation with our team of blockchain experts who can guide you through the blockchain implementation in a specific use case.