BLOCKCHAIN – AN OPPORTUNITY FOR DEVELOPING NEW BUSINESS MODELS
Over the last years, the blockchain technology has attracted the attention of both business users and IT specialists. In essence, blockchain or a chain of blocks is a distributed and decentralized database replicated across the multiple nodes of a network. Until recently blockchain has been associated mainly with cryptocurrencies, but nowadays it is revealing its serious potential as a means of replacing the business models that facilitate the operations of business organisations and the communication between them. The utilisation of the advantages provided by blockchain, however, requires their appropriate interpretations within the framework of business processes. With reference to this, the article analyses some of the main concepts and mechanisms of this technology. Special attention is paid to the interrelation of blockchain and distributed ledger (DLT) technologies, hashing of transactions and data management through consensus as well as the so called “smart contracts”. A parallel is made between the capabilities of public and private blockchain. Based on this, the study defines the fundamental blockchain characteristics and the advantages resulting from them. It is suggested that the blockchain technology offers a solution to the primary problem of trust between people in the context of global communication and ensures better transparency, reliability and security of data and business processes. In addition, the author outlines certain potential technical and business risk that have to be taken into consideration in the process of data transfer with reference to blockchain.