In the past decade, consumer credit reporting agency Equifax experienced a huge cybersecurity breach, where cyber criminals accessed the personal data of an estimated 143 million consumers. In another case, Target dealt with the consequences from its own security breach and paid approximately $18.5 million for a data breach that impacted 41 million customers. In the wake of these breaches, several retailers and agencies are trying to win back consumer trust by developing technology to strengthen cybersecurity.
One such methodology is blockchain, a decentralised secure ledger that stores information in linked blocks, using cryptography to keep data secure. A Gartner forecast says “the business value-add of blockchain will grow to slightly more than $176 billion by 2025, and then it will exceed $3.1 trillion by 2030.” Blockchain technology offers huge potential for e-commerce. And, payments, supply chain and decentralized marketplaces is what immediately comes to mind. Per Forbes, “The main advantage of a decentralized platform is that there is no single point of entry where malicious code can be executed… The strength of a blockchain platform is that an e-commerce company can set the rules for their cybersecurity and make sure critical data stays safe.”
“E-commerce today is the engine of global economy and as such, it should rely on the most advanced and secure backbone, rather than the security-risk prone technologies of yesterday,” says Roger Haenni, co-founder and CEO of data security company Datum, told Forbes. “The new decentralized platform known as blockchain enables a new class of services, with smart contract technology enabling businesses to focus on commerce and protect themselves.”
The key advantage of using blockchain technology in e-commerce is that companies no longer need to vet each member of their team to ensure they can be trusted with invaluable data. Because, off there is just one weak member on the team which has access to the security system it is grounds for a security breach. Per Forbes, “By using blockchain-based smart contract technology, e-commerce businesses can be confident that data on a global network is visible only to those who are authorised to receive that data in a timely manner, enhancing the security of transactions. Smart contracts are computer protocols that facilitate transactions. They help you exchange money, property, goods, services, or anything of value in a transparent way. But they also put a premium on security since only permitted parties have access to the data. That is because blockchain-based smart contracts are visible only to those users permitted access to the blockchain. This ensures that only certain people have access to certain data and bars outsiders from gaining entry.”
Another advantage is in payments. Accepting cryptocurrencies is now as simple as setting up an account with a bitcoin processor and integrating it into an e-commerce site. For most merchants, the processor takes care of creating a cryptocurrency wallet to hold their funds and convert the cryptocurrency to the local currency. Large online retailers such as Expedia, Overstock, and Microsoft accept bitcoin while Aura Blockchain Consortium — a platform for LVMH, Prada Group and Richemont — has brought blockchain into the spotlight. The advantages include low or no processing fees, no chargebacks, worldwide usage and swift setup. Moreover, by digitizing products and packaging, brands can create a digital thread throughout the supply chain, which in turn creates transparency and traceability between the brands and their suppliers.
“Mainstream blockchain integration may be years away, but the potential to revolutionize everything it touches is transformative. There are pilot programs in financial services and retail,” Mark Cachia, CEO of Scytale Ventures, told Forbes. “Blockchain protocols will exist and function behind the scenes, powering applications people will use every day, with the understanding that these services are made possible by blockchain.”
I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor and launched Vogue India’s portal. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my vision and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, presenting royal families’ vision, championing talent, reviewing hotels and restaurants, writing on travel, heritage. My editorial is of a storyteller, the story of the person behind the brand.