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Running Line of Business apps in a secure, well-managed blockchain infrastructure

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Understanding your specific enterprise business needs will enable you to define a scalable Line of Business application that will work the way that you want it to, and maintain records in an immutable BSV blockchain.

Most enterprises have a Line of Business (LoB) application—an application that supports an important business capability for that specific organisation. LoB apps do not tend to be off-the-shelf apps such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, or an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Rather, a LoB app is often highly customised to support specialised tasks pertaining to a specific industry practice. But what sort of enterprise application could be used on a BSV blockchain?

Take shipping container fleet management as an example. A shipping agent in any country would need to know exactly where a specific container is at any given point of time to be able to advise the customer exactly where the cargo is and when the customer can expect the cargo. The agent would also need to know about any empty containers that could be loaded with customer cargo in time to place on board a sea-going vessel at a specific port at a specific time. But how can the agent know if the container is full or empty, available or in transit? There are about twelve specific states for a container to be in:

  • Full of cargo at loading destination
  • Full in transit to loading quay
  • Full of cargo on the loading quay
  • Full on board the container vessel
  • Full of cargo on the destination quay
  • Full in transit to discharge destination
  • At the destination
  • Empty in transit to the loading quay
  • Empty on board the container vessel
  • Empty at the destination quay
  • Empty in transit to loading destination
  • Empty at destination

Of course, there are other specific states for a container to be in such as lost overboard, stolen, or lost at the destination, but for the purposes of this example, we shall ignore these for now. Information about these containers, along with the number of that specific container is stored in a database for that shipping company so that appropriate taxes and fees can be collected for the business.

So, an enterprise LoB application for a specialised business such as a container shipping company would need to be highly customised to fit the specific parameters for a shipping company and even off-the-shelf software packages would need to be tweaked to match specific corporate processes.

These applications also need to operate securely and reliably with minimal downtime to avoid loss of business. To guarantee that an app is secure, you need to demonstrate that the app is tamper-proof, and cannot be compromised by bad actors who try to gain access to your data. You also want to ensure that your app is stored on infrastructure that has fail-over capability and is highly available. The infrastructure should be managed and patched with the latest security fixes to avoid zero-day exploits that can compromise the system. So where can you store your data?

Storing data on the BSV blockchain will ensure that any data that is stored there is distributed across many computers who store copies of the entire blockchain. If a hacker or bad actor attempts to take control of one of the computers on the network, the hacker will be unable to take control of the entire network due to the distributed nature of the blockchain copies. The attacker would have to successfully control thousands of computers across the entire network to alter copies of the block ledger on every PC.

These computers are not any old computer in someone’s room. It takes a huge amount of computing power to solve the complex mathematical puzzle to win the bid to prove that the computer has enough power to completely process the next block in the chain. The computers involved in this work are situated in enterprise data centres around the world and are managed and maintained by a team of professionals who ensure that the processing computers provide the availability and scalability needed to process millions of transactions into blocks. There is little chance that the entire network would be simultaneously compromised.

A LoB application like a container shipping company app could work well on the BSV blockchain. Shipping agents around the world would be able to track the status of any container currently on-hire to the shipping company and its agents. They would be able to update the system as to whether the container was full or empty—an immutable fact as cargo moves around the world. The location of the container could be queried by any agent on the network, and a permanent record of the container’s movement would be traceable throughout its entire lifespan showing a permanent record of its journey from port to port.

Updating the container’s status would be as simple as logging on to the front-end client app and entering the code for the container. The blockchain would show a traceable record of exactly where that container has been on its journey, and attempts to alter any record, or obfuscate its position would easily be flagged to the shipping agent. The BSV blockchain can easily manage container movement for an entire fleet of containers such as for Maersk Line. Maersk currently has a fleet of over 700 vessels with a total capacity of over 4 million twenty ft equivalent container units (TEU) or 2 million 40-feet containers.

Containers carrying cargo are a prime example of a utility example where records need to be maintained for governance and audits. And a blockchain that can handle thousands of transactions per second could be just what a container shipping company needs to manage its entire fleet.

Watch: CoinGeek New York panel, Blockchain for a Better Supply Chain and Sustainability

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