It's no secret that these companies set the trends for modern markets. And the way they use the distributed ledger technology (DLT) can tell a lot about the future of the industry.
Blockchain has become the basis of many new decentralized applications and technologies, but the interest shown by the internet giants has been relatively low up until now.
However, in the first quarter of 2018, three key players - Amazon, Microsoft and Alibaba - announced that they will use the distributed ledger technology. And it’s already possible to judge the results of their activities.
How exactly do these companies use blockchain technology and what new possibilities of its application can potentially arise from their experience?
Rumors about the interest of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) in bitcoin (Bitcoin) and other cryptocurrencies have been going around for several years. However, this year, the Internet giant took concrete steps, buying three domains associated with digital currencies.
Note that in 2013 Amazon registered the domain amazonbitcoin.com. which now redirects to Amazon.com. In addition to amazonbitcoin.com, the company now officially owns the amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com и amazoncryptocurrencies.com. domains.
It is not clear how exactly the retailer intends to use them and whether it plans to accept digital currencies as payment. A more fantastic hypothesis (although not supported by any facts) is that Amazon is going to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange.
Internet giant has already proved that it does not want to lag behind in developing new tools to support users of cryptocurrencies. According to a document published by the The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), earlier this year Amazon received a patent for a technology that allows to receive data on transactions with digital currencies in real time.
The patent shows that Amazon has developed a technology for processing large-scale data streams with relatively low latency. This allows the company's engineers “to build real-time dashboards, capture exceptions and generate alerts, drive recommendations, and make other real-time business or operational decisions.” The services offered by Amazon will be able to process information coming from various sources: “web site click-streams, marketing and financial information, manufacturing instrumentation and social media, operational logs, metering data and so forth.”
On the official blog of the company, representatives of the Identity Division stated that the blockchain is great for storing, protecting and distributing information in an environment protected from unauthorized access. Microsoft confirmed that it will continue to explore the possibilities of technology in its Authenticator application, designed for two-factor authentication on the internet.
As part of the ID2020 alliance, Microsoft, the UN and Hyperledger intend to improve ways to store personal information and empower users to manage personal data.
ID2020 will include large companies and government structures. The goal of the alliance will be to create an authentication process for individuals and companies, through which users can store their personal documents and manage them. The alliance has already received a donation from Microsoft of $1 million, as well as contributions from Accenture and the Rockefeller Foundation.
In June 2017, Microsoft and Accenture introduced a blockchain-prototype for ID2020, while the United Nations has utilized ethereum blockchain to distribute aid to Syrian refugees.
Earlier this year, the largest Chinese online trading service (NYSE: BABA) announced the launch of a blockchain test platform. Orders will be conducted through the so called Food Trust Framework. The pilot program will track food supplies from Australia and New Zealand to China.
The company hopes that all international supply chains through the Alibaba Group can be transferred to a new technology if it successfully passes the tests.Alvin Liu, general manager of T-Mall Import & Export, said earlier that manipulation of food products is a global problem, especially in light of the growing complexity of supply chains.
Alibaba strives to ensure transparency and trace-ability of goods from the initial point to the receipt of the client. Ultimately, this will increase consumer confidence and create a trusted environment for international trade in the T-Mall Global system.