Blockchain: Who’s Investing, What is it & How Does it Affect Talent Acquisition?

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Blockchain is a growing interest for US companies across all industries but by how much? While it may seem like a fairly new concept to most of us, almost one-third of corporations with $500 million or more in annual revenue have already invested in blockchain for the last couple of years.

According to a Deloitte survey of 308 senior executives at these organizations, 28% of their companies invested $5 million or more in blockchain technology as of late 2016 and 10% invested $10 million or more.

As we work to understand what’s behind blockchain technology, how it will affect consumers, corporations and more specifically the world of Talent Acquisition, we can’t help but be in awe of the progress already made towards blockchain technology investments.

@TalentTechLabs explains #blockchain and how it’s set out to disrupt the gig-economy: Click To Tweet

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain in the most simplistic terms, according to Cielo is…

28% of companies in a deloitte survey invested $5 million in blockchain technology“…a public spreadsheet (similar to a Google Sheet) that keeps track of transactions as they happen. These “transactions” could be anything from a business paying a freelancer to a computer validating the authenticity of a Social Security number or an executive issuing stock options.

While it’s true that any database today could record transactions in this manner, what makes blockchain different is that instead of the transaction being kept on one server and owned by one company, the data is encrypted and stored in ‘blocks’ across a global network of computers. As more data gets stored, you get a chain of blocks. Hence, ‘blockchain.’”

More than one-third of respondents (37%) in Deloitte’s survey hit the nail on the head. They cited blockchain’s superior security features as the number one advantage to blockchain. Kevin Wheeler, founder and president of the Future of Talent Institute recently provided insight into the security of blockchain at SmartRecruiter’s Hiring Success 18 Conference, according to SHRM:

“Blockchain could eliminate resume fraud and increase the integrity of the recruiting process because it is inherently secure…

…it’s encrypted and just about impossible to change unless you’re the verified owner of that data.

A blockchain is an encrypted digital ledger of records that are organized into groups of data called ‘blocks’ and distributed over a network… the blocks are located on servers, called “nodes,” linked together like a chain.

Whenever a new transaction occurs, the blockchain is authenticated across the network before the transaction can be included in the next block on the chain… so the agreement of each node is required to add the block into the chain. The blockchain creates trust because a copy of the chain showing every transaction is held by the entire network.”

What blockchain does is provide transparency into the captured data for all parties while ensuring the integrity of that data. Take for example, the act of purchasing a car: Each transaction the car is involved in whether it’s a sale, an accident or a repair would be written into blockchain. These blocks of data are stored across a global network of computers making it impossible to hide unattractive information intended to mislead a future buyer.

blockchain could eliminate resume fraud and increase integrity of the recruiting process wheeler

How will this affect the world of work? If your history as an employee were to follow you around through blockchain, it’d be impossible to pad your resume or hide that you were fired for sexual harassment. From an employer’s perspective, the time spent on screening, reference checks and background checks would be significantly reduced. We’re beginning to see emerging solutions built with blockchain in mind. Some examples include:

A foundation called “CareerChain” which is powered by StartMonday, aims to be the world’s first openly adopted blockchain career verification platform. They provide a system for users to track their career history and allow employers to verify them…

MIT becoming the first universities to issue digital diplomas made for blockchain

Chronobank developing a platform that’s working to cut out the middleman in the gig-economy by having secure work available for workers and ensuring payment.

Can you imagine the impact this can have on contingent labor? With blockchain, freelance workers could hold all of the power (and likely have more money in their pockets) as blockchain could completely eliminate third-party hosts in these transactions. It’s like TaskRabbit, but without a company looming over the transaction.

Think #ArtificialIntelligence was hard to wrap your head around? Wait until you learn about blockchain! Click To Tweet

Not only will the way we work change, but the technology that powers our work will change too. As blockchain is able to store and secure large datasets it will also be used for analytics. An example from Blockchain Challenges and Opportunities: A Survey notes how trading patterns can be extracted so “users can predict their potential partners’ trading behaviors”. This opens the door to how blockchain will support Artificial Intelligence Technology:

“AI technologies can help solve many blockchain challenges. For instance, there is always an oracle who is responsible for determining whether the contract condition is satisfied… Blockchain and smart contract can help to restrict misbehaviors done by AI products.”

Therefore, blockchain may be seen as a way to ensure the integrity of AI-enabled technologies as well. Because AI tech is built from user input and evolves as humans use it, the AI tech is subjected to misinformation being inputted and in many cases, AI tech can even form bias like humans do. Blockchain may be the solution to keep Artificial Intelligence in check and vice versa.

While we’re still working to understand how blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are evolving in Talent Acquisition Technology, we’re curious to hear your thoughts! Tweet at us @TalentTechLabs with the hashtag #Blockchain to share your opinion.

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