"There are hundreds of technologies out there that could impact BP, either positively or negatively, and we're constantly scanning to identify and track these," says Dan Walker, BP's emerging technology team leader. "We have to evaluate these technologies, analyze their strategic fit to BP and then prioritize them for potential action. Back in 2015, we saw the emergence of battery and fuel cells technologies, while just a couple of years later in 2017 we've seen blockchain and next generation wind technology come into focus."
The next significant technologies on BP's radar are:
Blockchain is a digital ledger that creates and stores records, called blocks, and then links those blocks to one another in a chain. The data in a blockchain is time stamped and the information recorded cannot be altered retrospectively — thus making records verifiable and permanent. The records are then stored in a transparent, shared database where users can see the data, but it is protected from tampering and deletion.
The technology enables the direct exchange of assets or tools, such as money, contracts or intellectual property rights, in a secure way without the involvement of intermediaries to manage the exchange, like banks, utility companies or governments. The digital currency Bitcoin is the best-known example of blockchain technology, with $7bn worth in circulation today according to estimates.
Blockchain could disrupt whole industries, by changing how trading is carried out and how transactions are processed and cleared. It could transform a sector such as banking, for example, where the banks currently act as intermediaries in the supply chain.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.