Salesforce and Blockchain
What is blockchain?
As the world becomes increasingly connected and data becomes available from a multitude of organisations, the ability to securely integrate different data sources is key to business success. Blockchain is a method of sharing data between a network of organisations in a way that is secure, transparent, and can be easily tracked.
The easiest way to understand how it works is to literally look at the name; block-chain. It's literally a chain of blocks of data. The interesting thing about blockchain is that once some data is stored in the chain, it's very difficult to change it.
Each block in the blockchain contains the following:
Hash (a unique identifier for the entire block)
Hash of the previous block
An example of this is Bitcoin, the original product for which blockchain was used. In Bitcoin, the data in each block contains the two people involved in the transaction and the amount being transferred. Anytime the data inside a block is changed, the hash will change. If the hash changes, it no longer is the same block. Because each block contains the hash of the previous block, you can easily create a chain of blocks. This is the secret behind why blockchain is so secure.
What's even more powerful is that blockchain uses a P2P (peer-to-peer) network. This means that there are multiple nodes or organisations which have copies of the blockchain. If any block needs to be changed or added, then it needs to get majority approval from all of the nodes. This helps to ensure security and traceability.
How does Salesforce use it?
Salesforce Blockchain is a Platform as a Service which enables users to design, deploy, and run blockchain networks while being customised specifically for Salesforce Lightning (the front-end framework for app development). The Salesforce Blockchain platform is made out of three different components: Blockchain Builder, Blockchain Connect, and Blockchain Engage.
This is the tool for creating blockchains and blockchain networks from scratch so that you can extend your CRM to other organisations with no compromise the data security. Blockchain Builder enables Developers or Admins to create a blockchain app with partners and different nodes, only using clicks!
Blockchain Connect integrates blockchain actions with existing Salesforce apps. This means you have access to all the Flows, Search, AI, and Bots that you're already using in your Salesforce app.
Blockchain Engage helps customers to include other parties to their blockchain apps created within Salesforce and safely extend their network. This helps to increase adoption without compromising security, cost, or data.
Salesforce Blockchain can be useful in all areas of business that require combining a number of partners or organisations. Examples could include customer loyalty programs that offer rewards from numerous partners or creating a trusted network of alumni from a series of different schools. It can also be useful for increasing transparency of the business pipeline to customers. For example, if you ran an ethical clothing brand, perhaps being able to show your customers exactly where their clothing comes from is important for your business. Blockchain can help you do this.
What are the advantages?
Blockchain is fantastic for a number of reasons.
Cheaper - unlike traditional databases which cost a lot to integrate a new organisation, blockchain makes adding new organisations easy and uniform.
Trusted - Since the whole validation of a blockchain is completed by a number of different nodes/organisations, there is no one person or entity responsible for making sure the data is correct. This minimises mistakes and increases security.
Immutable - Once the data is changed and accepted, it's done. It's immutable and can't be changed.
If you want to check out some more resources on how Salesforce uses Blockchain, I would highly recommend reading through their Blockchain Trailhead modules. Thanks for reading!