Blockchain seems to be everywhere these days, although the number of people know why is substantially fewer than the number of people who think they do. Today two global network operators, Colt and PCCW Global, announced a successful proof of concept in which they applied blockchain technology in a corner of telecom where it might have near term impact: wholesale voice.
Blockchain, which powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, is essentially a distributed and highly robust virtual ledger that keeps track of transactions across many participants with automated verification and settlement. While bitcoin is the poster child, the principle could change any industry centered around a commodity that changes hands quickly but has historically been counted manually and distrustfully. Wholesale voice seems to fit that bill rather well.
So what Colt and PCCW did was to show blockchain-enabled settlement times of minutes for what currently takes hundreds of man-hours per month to accomplish. The upshot could significantly disrupt the way the wholesale voice sector operates, potentially even shifting it to use crypto currency entirely.
Getting even a few people excited about the low margin wholesale voice business is an accomplishment in and of itself. But given the increasing automation in data network transactions, the phenomenon might find application with peering, cloud computing, etc.