The telecommunications sector is also exploring ways of creating new services and improving its processes by using blockchain. Among its many applications for telecos, in this issue of #RevoluciónBlockchain, Eusebio Felguera and Christophe Steck highlight its use to integrate third party services, manage intellectual property rights or as a system for improving corporate audits.
In the telecommunications sector we see blockchain as a tool that allows us to concentrate on what our business really is, which is providing new and better services for our clients in this digital age.
Most people who discover blockchain still associate it automatically with cryptocurrency, and although this is understandable because of the news coverage in the more general media, for us it is only the tip of the iceberg. As operators, we are exploring all the potential provided by blockchain, because although we first began to look into it nearly two years ago, we are still discovering how far it can take us and what it is capable of offering, because not all applications are obvious.
From our perspective, blockchain is part of today’s innovation processing, which is being managed in the operators’ service accelerators or incubators. This new wave of innovation uses blockchain as a tool, not as an end in itself.
If you are going to initiate a new project in which as part of the control process you have to handle a database or general ledger, you can do so by implementing it yourself, as companies have always done, but is this your corporate purpose? Clearly not. If you are also a startup, what moves you is to try to disrupt traditional businesses in a new way or to solve problems that so far were insoluble. Thus, when handling a general ledger is not your core activity, you want a third party to do it, in a reliable and scalable way that does not generate problems in the future. That is when you take a look at blockchain technology.
What blockchain provides is incredible if you look back no more than 5 years. With blockchain you can incorporate third-party services into your own services without the need to do anything expressly; you only have to use the same blockchain. In this way services can evolve in ways that were not thought of at the start. As we explain in our book Blockchain: La revolución industrial de Internet (Blockchain: the Industrial Revolution of the Internet), blockchain takes interoperability between companies to a new level. We’re talking about a giant leap in the collaborative economy.
Now, if we examine the new philosophy of entrepreneurship, an open source philosophy where everyone uses what others have created previously if it is useful, incorporating it as their own into their processes, this could generate a problem of managing user rights. Here the intellectual property applications automated by blockchain make it unbeatable. For example, Spotify has recently bought the company Mediachain to deal with this issue of intellectual property. Why should they create a company if one already exists? Another example, in this case with applications that may be of great interest to public administrations, is that it allows any entity to audit my activity without interfering in my business, because blockchain technology means by default that everything can be tracked and checked, and what’s more, correctly: there can be no cheating or interpretation; there is only truth. No doubt, regulation and legislation will have to evolve to adapt to the new realities of this technology, but the good news is that the advantages of using it will be seen very quickly.
Christoph Steck and Eusebio Felguera
Christophe Steck, Director of Public Policy & Internet at Telefónica and Eusebio Felguera Garrido, Manager in the same department, are the authors of the Telecommunications chapter of the book “Blockchain: La revolución industrial de Internet” (Blockchain: the Industrial Revolution of the Internet), published by Gestión 2000 (Planeta Group) already available for sale on Amazon.es. You can follow the latest in this area on @LibroBlockchain and www.LibroBlockchain.com.