Checklist for designing blockchain use cases.

Here’s a checklist I use when working with teams to design blockchain use cases. This checklist can be applied to any blockchain but I’ve found it is used best for rapid development of private blockchain networks in Hyperledger composer.

Why blockchain?

  • What is the purpose of the blockchain use case you are developing? Why does your use case need blockchain? With all the hype around blockchain, one would believe that it can solve any and all problems. In reality most blockchains aren’t production ready and getting enterprise applications to scale will be difficult for another 12–18 months. Figuring out why the problem you are working on can be solved with blockchain and what the advantages are over a traditional database is imperative or you may be wasting your time.

What is the network?

  • What existing network are you looking to model? By studying existing networks an organization is associated with and finding the inefficiencies are will help you pinpoint where the pain points are.
  • Who is this network comprised of? What role do they play in the network?
  • What asset is being tracked inside the network? Are the assets static or dynamic? Do the assets have any attributes? If so what are they and how are they entered into the network?
  • Who owns the assets being tracked on the ledger? Do they need to have an identity attached to them and what level?
  • Who benefits from your system and in what ways?
  • Not everyone in your organization or community may need to run a full node and keep a copy of the ledger. Who in the network needs to maintain a full copy and do they have the means to do so?

What’s the governance structure?

  • Who has the right to do what? Depending on how you structure your use case you may have a hierarchy of access and rights. These rights can include commit rights, viewing the ledger, and changing the ledger.

How does your client save money?

  • How does your end user or organization save money and man hours? Being able to cut down on back office bloat and save a client money will make the executive who hired you look like a genius and get you repeat work.

How do you make money?

  • if you are building a blockchain use case for your own business, figure out your business model. I’ve seen plenty of ICOs and projects with great blockchain use cases but no revenue model. Having a token is a quick fix to bringing in money into a company but unless the token has real utility that people are willing to buy again and again at a fluctuating price, having a solid business model behind your use case will make sure you can keep the lights on.

How will they adopt it?

  • Blockchain is an amazing new technology but most of the clients you will be dealing with will have some sort of legacy system in place which you will have to work around. Convincing a client to get rid of their existing infrastructure for something brand new is highly unlikely, finding a way to complement their existing infrastructure with blockchain is a lot easier.

What plugins go into your system?

  • Do you need a random number generator? Oracle service? Who is going to provide you with information you need to add value to your end user and how much will it cost to get that information.

What middlemen become obsolete ?

  • With the ability to transact peer to peer, middlemen become obsolete. This can sometimes be a great benefit to users who are at the mercy of a middle man who controls their information. This can also be detrimental to a client’s business model if they profit from having control of user data. Doing a deep dive into who will become obsolete will give you direction to who to market to.

What new jobs will be created?

  • Blockchain is an incredibly disruptive technology. Taking the time to think about what new jobs can be created around your use case is something I keep in mind when I design systems. Hard forks > Pitchforks.

I’ve spent the last 10 years learning, building, and exploring all things blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

I’ve spent the last 10 years learning, building, and exploring all things blockchain and cryptocurrencies.