Blockchain's supporters say one of the powerful features of the technology is how it enables third-party transactions to be as simple and efficient as internal transactions. Its downside? Blockchain is a technology that needs a little more maturity, because its integration with existing systems and workflows is not yet considered an easy process.
If 2018 indeed becomes a pivotal year for blockchain adoption, it will mean more executives across various industries must gain a fuller understanding of the differences between distributed ledger technology and existing architecture — internal transaction systems, middleware/messaging and clearing houses.
Existing middleware/messaging architecture represents a secure, inter-party and independent settlement process enabled through messaging, but it generally takes three to five days and typically requires an external provider. One example is messaging provider Swift, which has spent the past year on getting closer to real-time transactions.
Clearing houses currently in use represent a third-party service that has recently improved transaction speed, but some view them as fairly complex and expensive networks.
For its part, blockchain showcases distributed ledger technology with cryptographic integrity at near real-time speed.