MReport June 2017

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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16 | TH E M R EP O RT SPONSORED CONTENT 3 Things You Need for Your 2017 Blockchain Strategy By Jason Nadeau B lockchain is a big buzzword in technol- ogy right now. But when I talk to custom- ers, it quickly becomes clear that many people don't fully understand what blockchain is—or how to use it. To help shed some light on what you really need to focus on as you consider the adoption of a blockchain strat - egy for the coming year, review these three points: Understand it's a hammer, not a screwdriver S ince everyone is talking about blockchain, it's easy for companies to latch onto the general concept without keep- ing their organization's unique use case in mind. So if you think you might be interested in a blockchain strategy, the first thing you need to grasp fully is what blockchain is and isn't. While I'm a big fan of blockchain technology, it's not a panacea for every problem—to fully leverage its value, you need to know what this technology excels at doing, and what it doesn't do particularly well. In its simplest form, block - chains distribute data and once distributed, the information is persistent, redundant, and acces- sible. Persistent in that it is nearly impossible to remove data that has been published. Additionally, blockchains have this quality because all full nodes contain a complete copy of the full data set that makes up the blockchain. Public blockchains, like the Bitcoin blockchain, are also globally acces - sible. If you have internet access, you can view the Bitcoin block- chain. It allows digital informa- tion to be distributed rather than copied. You might think of it like having a spreadsheet or database that is regularly duplicated and continuously updated across a network of devices. Why is this important to know? Because it can help you hone in on what the ac - tual benefits of blockchain are, and what specific problems you can solve with it. A key point is that the records blockchain keeps are easily verifiable and protected since the database does not have a single storage location that a cyber thief can access. As I'll describe more below, this can be of great benefit in a wide number of industries, including the mortgage industry. While you may be able to rattle off an impressive description of blockchain from a technical perspective though, the key here is to be sure that you know the best way to use the tool. Think about this analogy: You have a screw - driver, but you need to pound in a nail. While you can certainly turn the screwdriver around and start whacking the nail with the screwdriver's handle, that's not re - ally what a screwdriver is designed to do. You can probably get a nail hammered in with this solution, but there's a better tool available to help you do it. If you don't use a hammer to pound in your nails, then you're working less efficiently than you could be. It's the same with blockchain. I get a lot of questions from companies about whether they can "make" blockchain perform certain functions that it technically can do, but that it's not really designed

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