Don’t ever ignore Blockchain if you’re into Fashion

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Imagine someone stealing you design and selling as theirs. Fighting them will take ages and if you’re a small designer, it’s easier to let it go. That must stop!

This article is the second article in a series of developing a Blockchain business network. Last week’s article focused on introducing this series and highlighting its key features. Check out the article to learn more. This week, I will be highlighting some use cases of Blockchain. I will conclude by sharing a use case that will be designed throughout this series.

Why Hyperledger Fabric

In last week’s article, I mentioned that I will be using Linux Foundation’s and IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric as a foundation for the Blockchain solution. I got a few questions and push backs about this decision so I think it is a good idea to start with highlighting why I am using Hyperledger Fabric. To begin, I would like to mention that I believe that many of the other Blockchains like Ethereum are great. However, I will only be sharing my opinion on Hyperledger Fabric as a good framework for developing business networks. Firstly, Fabric is, by design, permissioned. We can collectively define memberships and access rights. In other words, participation can be restricted and this is good for an enterprise system. It also provides a selectively high degree of confidentiality which makes it a good choice for businesses and enterprises. Additionally, it does not require any gas (high computational power or a currency) to run. Finally, Hyperledger Fabric is supported by the Linux Foundation and I believe that it is a good initiative and it has the potential to transform businesses.

Use Cases of Blockchain

So, what exactly can Blockchains be used for? A Blockchain is good for establishing trust in systems where the parties do not trust each other. Blockchain enforces trust between parties and ensures that each party gets what they are entitled to. A Blockchain is also good for systems where consensus is important and systems that need to be highly secure and impenetrable. Some use cases of Blockchain include:

Transactions: Blockchains are good for peer-to-peer asset exchange because it strongly reduces or even eliminates counterparty risk. For example, paying someone in another country without using a bank transfer which can take days/weeks and comes with a big fee.

Reconciliation: The current process in many financial institutions is that at the end of each day/week, transfers between two parties get reconciled with one party paying the other a balance. This is a better approach than the earlier methods of back and forth transfer between the parties. Blockchain will make the current process easily auditable because each transaction can easily be traced back to its origin in a Blockchain system.

Blockchain in Fashion

When I was a boy growing up in Nigeria, my mother introduced me via her fashion and fabric business to the world of designing custom clothes that are tailored to fit. A key lesson that I learned while watching her train apprentices is that precision and great attention to detail is key to the fit of any dress. Precision also plays a key role in minor things like threading a sewing machine or hand beading a dress. Experienced designers like my mother and others in the industry who come up with innovative designs and methods for improving these designs are oftentimes not given credit for their innovative and novel ideas. Any other designer or even a tailor can easily just copy the design and sell them as theirs. What if there was a system that holds an indestructible record of each new design and allows auditing while also flagging already existing designs that we try to add to the system? Well, I believe Blockchain can be used to build out this solution. Because I just came up with this idea while writing this article, I currently do not have an end to end business case for it. Next week, I will do a deep dive into how Blockchain can fit into the idea and we can start planning out the business network.

Summary

By way of review, in today’s piece, I mentioned that I chose Hyperledger fabric because it is permissioned, does not require high computational power and it is backed by the Linux Foundation. I also discussed how Blockchains can be used for asset exchange and reconciliation. Finally, I told you a story about my mother’s fashion business. I then concluded by making a proposal for a Blockchain solution in the fashion industry. For next week, assuming you have a use case for Blockchain, think about who the participants of your business network will be, what the asset(s) are and what transactions (smart contracts) need to be executed in the Blockchain network to accomplish your business goal. Please, leave questions and comments below. See you next week!

This article was first published on my Linkedin on August 11, 2017

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