What is Blockchain? Isn’t it something to do with cryptocurrency? Why should I care about blockchain as an HR professional? If you are asking these questions, you aren’t alone.
Blockchain in Simple Terms
You’ll often hear blockchain described as a “distributed, decentralized, public ledger” or a “record-keeping technology.” It’s widely associated with cryptocurrencies since it was first officially outlined over 10 years ago as the protocol used in the creation of the Bitcoin network.
Often touted as complex — and it is if you really dig into the details — the broader concept of the technology itself is easier to grasp. Essentially, blockchain is a shared database or ledger that houses records validated by a community rather than a single entity. Each block contains data and is akin to a page of a ledger. As new records are created, the blocks are linked to the previous block to form a chain.
Why Use Blockchain?
In blockchain, all transactions must be agreed upon by a consensus method before being recorded, encrypted and linked to the previous transaction. Algorithms then ensure that none of the stored data can be altered after the fact. And since it’s all stored on a distributed network it makes the data more secure and less vulnerable to technical failures and cyberattacks.
As a distributed ledger, there is no such thing as an individual copy, all participants share the same information. If someone tries to alter the information, all other blocks in the system would also need to be changed. This helps prevent manipulation of the transaction and ensures that information is original.
Blockchain, An Emerging Technology
One industry that has embraced blockchain technology is financial services. But overall its still in its infancy with great potential for the technology to be used in many other spaces including Human Resources. Yvette Cameron, a 2020 Top HR Tech Influencer with more than 30 years in the HR space, believes the emergence of artificial intelligence and blockchain are among the most meaningful developments for the industry saying “The combination of blockchain and AI together is going to blow our minds in the next five years in terms of what’s possible.”
Blockchain in HR
The use of blockchain within Human Capital Management processes has already moved beyond early prototyping to early adoption and is making significant inroads into the HCM technology landscape with more than 100 companies exploring uses for it.
So what is the future for HR in the face of this new, disruptive technology? What does it mean for individuals — students, employees or contractors — in how they prepare for and seek new work and development opportunities?
If you want to learn more about blockchain in HR, Yvette will be leading two sessions on October 14 at this year’s HR Technology Conference. In her first session The Essentials of Blockchain and Self-Sovereign Identity: What HR Needs to Know and Do Now! you’ll explore how blockchain supports talent processes in new ways, examine its risks, and identify next steps for HR and technology leaders. Then in How Blockchain and Self-Sovereign Identity Are Reshaping Workforce Technology she’ll be joined by expert panelists to discuss how blockchain and self-sovereignty are redesigning traditional, and enabling new, workforce processes and technologies in the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
To learn more about Yvette, check out this Human Resource Executive® article.