Blockchain as a service (BaaS) is regarded as the next step in the evolution of Software as a service (SaaS). It provides even more services for businesses to utilize and grow. Learn about Baas, how it works, and how to use it.
ith the invention of the internet, it has made information sharing instantaneous, and the world borderless. Businesses have really thrived thanks to the applications the internet provided.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of those applications, it refers to a software distribution model where a third-party provider provides services to customers via the internet. An example of SaaS would be Cloud Computing.
Cloud Computing has allowed users to store, manage and process data on the internet instead of on a local server or personal computer. With the introduction of blockchain, Blockchain as a service (BaaS) is regarded as the next step in the evolution of SaaS. Providing even more services for businesses to utilize and grow.
To understand how blockchain can be used as a service, what blockchain is, and what it does, must first be understood. To put it simply, blockchain is a distributed public ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers. The key factors that make blockchain special is that the network is decentralized, and all recorded transactions cannot be altered.
All transactions made on the blockchain are cryptographically signed by the sender, and then that transaction is verified by all the other computers in the network. This makes transactions peer-to-peer as no third-party validation is required. The most popular example of blockchain utilization is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
For the average person, sending money online is a simple task, set up an e-transfer with the bank, and have the receiver accept it. In this instance, the bank acts as a middleman and oversees the whole transaction to ensure that its valid.
It makes sure that the sender has enough funds to send, and it ensures that the receiver received the money. For the most part, this system works very well, however, the sender and receiver put a lot of responsibility on the bank to ensure that everything runs smoothly, making the bank the singular point of failure.
If the bank were to make a mistake within the validation process, the transaction will not go through, and the transaction would have to be attempted again. With regards to Bitcoin, since transactions are peer-to-peer, there is no singular point of failure.
If one computer in the network were to make a mistake in the validation process, but the rest do not, the transaction still gets verified. Blockchain technology is still a young technology, but with its peer-to-peer interaction and validation system, it can provide businesses the ability to share their data in a public, secure and immutable way.
Like any new technology, the ones knowledgeable in the field can sell their expertise to companies who are looking to take advantage of the new technology. When SaaS was introduced, the companies that knew how to develop cloud computing offered their knowledge as a pay-as-you-go-service.
These partnerships between developers and companies made starting up a company very accessible because it removed the need to purchase hard drives or servers, lowering startup costs. SaaS also removes the need for new companies to spend time learning the technology.
The task of developing and implementing are roles within the SaaS provider, giving more time for the business to work on their projects. As with BaaS, all the benefits from SaaS are applicable as well.
Companies that want to use blockchain but don’t have the extra money, or time to learn the technology, will look to BaaS providers to help them gain access to it.
Blockchain can be used to help streamline many industries today, especially those industries who rely on large amounts of record keeping. Take for example the healthcare industry, huge amounts of patient’s medical history are stored on private servers. The full history itself could be difficult to access due to different records being kept by different specialists.
The patient would have to give their consent multiple times and the verification of medical data between specialists requires a lot of administrative work. This results in a lot of time lost which would delay the patient in receiving important treatments.
Blockchain could solve this issue by allowing the patient's medical records to be accessible but still secured. By utilizing “smart contracts” a feature that allows contracts to be written into the blockchain, the patient can now give access to their medical history to whichever doctor they want.
Since the medical history is stored on the blockchain, the data can be seen in its entirety. Which removes the need for doctors to cross reference any specificities amongst each other, thus resulting in the patient receiving faster treatment.
According to Microsoft’s “How blockchain will transform the modern supply chain” PDF, 408 organizations from 64 countries were facing these supply chain challenges: 69% do not have full visibility into their supply chains, 65% experienced at least one supply chain disruption, 41% still rely on spreadsheets to keep track of said disruptions.
Supply chains are the arteries of commerce. They allow nations to import and export goods, and business of all sizes to provide consumers with their product. But with these challenges present, there is still room for improvement.
Within tradition supply chains, there are large amounts of trust between retailers and their suppliers. The quality provided to the customer depends on the ability to transfer all the goods to the right place, time and manner.
And if anything were to go wrong, both supplier and retailer must find and agree upon the cause of the issue. With Blockchain technology, Microsoft developed their BaaS platform called Azure. Their goal with Azure is to remedy these supply chain challenges by giving participants full information access throughout the whole supply chain.
The utilization of blockchain will make the transferring of goods within the supply chain transparent, giving the retailer full information of the location and condition of their product. Smart contracts can also be used within this system to rectify any disruptions the moment they occur, saving time for both the supplier and retailer.
The internet is an amazing invention, and blockchain is just another one of those innovations that spawned from it. The ability to share information/value in a secure, public and immutable manner could really help businesses manage their data more efficiently.
Blockchain as a Service is still new, so the full potential of this technology is yet to be discovered, making the future very bright for whoever can innovate within this space.
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