The New Frontier: ASEAN Powered by Blockchain

In the past three years, blockchain has become increasingly prominent in technology and business news feeds. More and more companies across varying industries, from Walmart to Disney, are announcing a shift towards using blockchain. Even governments and international organizations are beginning to focus their efforts toward developing their own uses for this innovative technology.

ASEAN countries must learn to harness the power of blockchain, or else get left behind. In a fast-growing region of over 800 million people, blockchain can unlock the next frontier of business by transforming how people exchange, create, and store value.

But what is blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger that allows people to exchange value and information directly with one another, securely, without a central authority. 

In its prototypical form, the blockchain-based digital currency Bitcoin allows people to exchange money without a central bank. It does this by taking the most important role of a bank — verifying transactions to prevent double spending and fraud — and distributing that task across a network of thousands of computers around the world.

How does it work? Without a central bank, how do you make sure that no one is fiddling with their account balance or spending the same amount of money twice?

Bitcoin gets around this through a system of competition and redundancy. Miners with specialized equipment compete with each other to solve mathematical problems tied to blocks that contain information on individual transactions. They’re competing for a chance to win new Bitcoins when they enter the system. When a problem is solved, the relevant block is added to a chain of existing blocks — that’s right, a blockchain — and the blocks are mathematically tied together in a way that is inseparable.

The entire blockchain network is programmed to refresh to the longest chain in the system. That is, these thousands of computers all contain the same identical chain of blocks. So if someone wanted to hack the system, they would need to break into not one computer, but thousands all around the world. What you have at the end is a way of storing transactions that is transparent, collectively owned, secure, and can theoretically happen without any transaction fees.

Bitcoin is only the beginning. This same protocol can be transferred across industries, from tracking where food comes from, to storing your healthcare information  — all without having to count on a central institution. That is why so many companies, not just financial institutions, are investing in Blockchain technologies.

What happens to institutions that depend on the centralization of large infrastructure and processes? Some banks are experimenting with using blockchain themselves to save costs.

But ultimately, blockchain will lead us to a world where success based on authority or owning infrastructure will no longer be possible. Like a butterfly in chrysalis, companies must envision new purposes and forms for themselves in order to survive.

Amihan Global Strategies, a technology company that accelerates digital transformation, has joined Hyperledger, an open-source collaboration project by the Linux Foundation that hopes to develop cross-industry blockchain technologies. Read more about the partnership here.

If you’re interested in transforming your business through blockchain, leave us a message here