Blockchain is slowly but surely transforming from underpinning digital currencies such as bitcoin, to having viable applications across all industries. It can loosely be described as a technology that creates an immutable, shared and distributed ledger of data.
Government, healthcare and financial services organisations are all particularly interested in its hyper-secure ledger capabilities, and the technology is being eyed to deliver greater efficiencies in areas involving payments, data storage and digital assets.
In early 2018, CIO UK identified
blockchain as one of the main technologies that CIOs were looking to invest in. A number of CIOs and COOs including Save the Children CIO Karl Hoods, Lloyds of London COO Shirine Khoury-Haq and London City Airport former COO Alison FitzGerald have explored blockchain for further opportunities in their organisations.
Here, we offer insight from leading UK CIOs and tech leaders on how they are embracing blockchain to help improve their digital strategies.
See also: What CIOs really need to know about blockchain.
Additional reporting by Hannah Williams.
February 6, 2019
1. Keith Little, CIO at Barclaycard
Barclaycard is one UK banking firm that has delved into adopting the emerging tech of blockchain.
The multinational payment services firm partnered with Utah-based startup Evernym in December 2018, on a project involving self-sovereign identity (SSI).
SSI is a form of digital ID that can be stored securely on blockchain. Barclaycard is currently focusing on blockchain to investigate new forms of transactions.
Not only that, but it is also investing in IoT and machine learning for new payment systems and fraud detection use cases.
“Because creating those seamless payments journeys becomes so important, how they’re integrated as part of their products is becoming more and more key,” Keith Little, CIO at Barclaycard tells CIO UK.
Read more: Barclaycard CIO Keith Little reveals partnership strategy
7. Shirine Khoury-Haq, CIO at Lloyds of London
One of the first industries to adopt blockchain was the financial sector with the technology speeding up and simplifying cross-border payments. The majority of banking systems are built on a centralised database, meaning all information is stored in one place - potentially making them more prone to cyber attacks.
Lloyds of London COO Shirine Khoury-Haq told us at the CIO Summit 2017 that she thought blockchain and AI were the emerging technology trends that would have the biggest impact on Lloyds and the financial sector.
Khoury-Haq added that she regularly engages with fintech and insuretech companies to bring new ideas to the issues they are trying to solve, such as security, with the target operating model (TOM), research and innovation team exploring developments which might affect how the market works in the future.
"TOM has delivered three blockchain proofs of concept to provide better information about how the technology works and identify potential applications in the market," Khoury-Haq said.
"It has also sponsored a study into the potential application of smart contracts in the London wholesale insurance markets in order to streamline processing, slash costs, improve the client experience, reduce risk and deliver new products."
9. Alison Fitzgerald, COO at London City Airport
Blockchain could play an important role in the transportation sector, including in driver and fleet management - for example, allowing drivers to add their own data, such as times on and off duty, as well as road conditions and the loading of a vehicle.
Marine Transport International claimed to have deployed the world's first public blockchain technology for global shipping in 2016, to join the dots and get a wider view of its supply chain as well as to speed up the distribution of data between different parties.
Airports using blockchain will allow passengers to pass between airports and borders easier as well as receive live updates on the journey.
Last year, British Airways, Heathrow and Geneva airport conducted research on blockchain and the use of smart contacts for a shared control of data in a secured manner. It was used to resolve ongoing issues with flight delays with passenger apps, airline agents and websites having different information on a flight's arrival or departure.
Meanwhile, CIO 100-listed organisation
London City Airport is planning to develop blockchain for "full automation of passenger processing," according to COO Alison Fitzgerald. See also our sister title Computerworld UK for how could blockchain be used in the enterprise.