Blockchain in its original avatar is a distributed ledger to record all the transactions in bitcoin in the form of time stamped blocks secured with hash functions. The ledger runs over a peer-to-peer open network of nodes spread across the globe. All the nodes have same rights and can enter or exit anytime in or out of the network.
People are exploring new use cases of blockchain everyday. Blockchain can be public like bitcoin-blockchain or private ones. Banks and financial institutions are working on private blockchains to implement in their business operations for faster approval of transactions and bring in efficiency.
Private blockchains have similar characteristics as that of public blockchain except they operate within private clouds. Businesses decide who all are part of the network along with protocols to validate, approve and time stamp transactions to ensure data integrity and transparency.
In the initial period, these private blockchains have to work in sync with existing systems before the complete transition takes place and that is where the adoption will be slow in the beginning before things get clearer and real benefits are reported.
Building and running a private blockchain requires a good amount of IT development efforts and substantial computing power. Leading IT companies like IBM, Microsoft, AWS and others have cloud offerings and are in a good position to offer Blockchain-as-a-Service. They can develop private blockchain as per the requirement of their clients and run it on their cloud platforms.
Competition in the enterprise blockchain will get intense with time and it will be interesting to observe how things evolve from here.