Oct. 18, 2018

Blockchain technology has the potential to change the way business aviation companies manage their most important data, according to Anthony Shook, founder and CEO of AeroChain, during his forward-looking presentation at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) Innovation Zone.

Blockchain, simply stated, is a common data file or ledger for transaction history that cannot be changed or altered. Shook shared some of the potential applications of blockchain in business aviation, ranging from payment systems to secure data storage of maintenance or pilot records, describing examples of blockchain streamlining parts tracking and creating audit trails for maintenance records.

Shook believes blockchain might be most effective in parts tracking, at least as an initial application for business aviation, but sees a time when pilot log information, maintenance tracking, accounting data and more will interface through blockchain.

Shook also explained how blockchain is more secure than traditional encryption methods, comparing blockchain identification methods to individual fingerprints, which makes it an enticing option for payment and transaction processes. The most commonly known blockchain-based payment systems are cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

“Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are very closely tied together,” said Shook. “Cryptocurrencies use blockchain to solve the double-spend problem.”

Each token or currency has its own blockchain, which provides for more security in transactions and essentially prohibits a consumer from spending money twice.

Shook said the biggest risk for companies interested in accepting cryptocurrency payments is the changing value of the currencies in relatively short periods of time.

“There is some volatility in the market right now, but you still might want to consider transacting in cryptocurrencies, which provide a more seamless way to conduct transactions and may attract new clients,” he added.

Shook recommends establishing an account with a vendor like Bitpay, then building in a buffer compared to the current market value of the currency. A reasonable buffer can help mitigate the risk of a sudden change in value of a crypto currency. Companies might wish to add the vendor’s fees into its pricing policies or may consider those fees a cost of doing business.

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