Emerging tech is a silver bullet for some, but not a universal solution

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are the author’s alone. Kenyon Briggs is an attorney at Husch Blackwell in Kansas City. Mindi Giftos and Bob Bowman are partners at Husch Blackwell and contributed to this op-ed, part of a limited series on blockchain sponsored by Husch Blackwell.

As blockchain grows in popularity, people continue to look for practical ways to incorporate the technology into their organizations. Some view blockchain as a silver bullet that can conquer any problem. Others view blockchain as a more complicated method for essentially implementing a database, thus offering little more than a solution looking for a problem. So, should your organization use blockchain technology?

The right fit

It is crucial to first determine whether the technical and functional strengths of blockchain’s distributed ledger is the right technology to deliver the desired results. Understanding blockchain’s strengths and limits is key. 

To this end, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) released a publication in 2018 that, among other things, provides a step-chart to walk someone through the decision on whether implementing blockchain technology makes sense for their organization:

The NIST flowchart is an excellent place to start when determining whether blockchain technology is the right tool for the job at hand. Working through the NIST flowchart can help an organization identify better and worse use cases for blockchain technology. In addition to finding the proper fit, it is important to consider blockchain’s cost. Developing, implementing and supporting blockchain technology can be extremely expensive – estimated costs associated with onboarding and monitoring a private blockchain can easily surpass one million dollars over a five-year span.

Right and wrong fit

An application for which blockchain has shown substantial benefits and applications is a multi-party supply chain, particularly in the…

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