Disney, yes Disney, becomes blockchain's biggest proponent

Walt Disney Company releases blockchain platform, now what are they going to do with it?

The Walt Disney Company is embracing blockchain in a big way, and not just for accepting cryptocurrency at its parks.

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

Disney recently released a platform called Dragonchain, described in an announcement as "a distributed crypto ledger framework protocol that makes it easy to create cost-efficient business networks where virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded--without requiring a central point of control." The platform is provided with a modified Apache 2 open source license. A small team at Disney developed the blockchain platform internally in 2016.

The Dragonchain release notes that blockchain "will make all kinds of transactions transparent, more reliable, and easier to audit without centralized processing," providing "support for a smart contract language within a hybrid permissioned and public ledger network using a unique consensus algorithm with context based verification."

Bitcoin.com's Jamie Redman provides some deeper observations on the Dragonchain platform, noting that "the framework is similar to many blockchain prototypes with features such as timestamping, block ID, hashing prior blocks, PoW/ PoS capabilities, and digital signatures." For its part, Dragonchain "gives various definitions for business verification, enterprise validation, network diversity, notarization, and public and proprietary checkpoints."

There is a wide range of potential applications for Disney, from financial transactions to daily operations, These include "trading Disney issued assets, partnered services issuing tokens, and accepting existing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin," Redman states. In addition, Disney could "create blockchain-based programs for its fast lane feature within Disney theme parks. The platform could monitor ride times and the length of lines in order to create a more efficient process."

A recent report published by the IBM Institute for Business Value explored potential of blockchain beyond cyrptocurrency, noting that blockchains "shift the paradigm from information held by a single owner to a shared lifetime history of an asset or transaction."

Instead of "messaging-based communications," the IBM report continues, "the new paradigm is state-based. Information that was once obscure now becomes visible. The ledger is shared, updated with every transaction and selectively replicated among participants in near real-time. Privacy is maintained via cryptographic techniques and/or data partitioning techniques to give participants selective visibility into the ledger; both transactions and the identity of transacting parties can be masked."

The report looks at blockchain's potential impact on supply chains, noting that blockchain efforts could apply to import data. "If import terminals received data from bills of lading earlier in the process, terminals could plan and execute more efficiently and without privacy concerns. Blockchain technology could make appropriate data visible in near real-time - for example, the departure time and weight of containers - while making inaccessible the information about the owners and value of the cargo. Costly delays and losses due to missing paperwork would be avoided."

A related area of applications include the potential for "a robust and secure exchange for shared logistics,coordinating a vast array of activities from sharing spare space in a warehouse to optimizing truck fleets and shipping containers." In addition, "retailers and manufacturers could greatly improve demand forecasting and stock replenishment." Financial organizations could leverage blockchains on another level, "armed with a detailed track record of a supplier's reliability, could extend much needed credit to fuel the trading industry. Regulators could trace the origin of goods from raw materials, making it easier to identify counterfeit items, as well as sources of tainted materials."

There's a lot a far-flung organization such as Disney can do with these capabilities.

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