The Grapevine

Do Blockchain and Bitcoin Matter to My Wine Shop?

December 19th, 2017

It may seem as if these high-tech darlings of the moment are light years from Main Street businesses like ours, but you should be keeping an eye on them as they continue to evolve. [level-members]

First, let’s separate the two, because Bitcoin and blockchain are not the same thing. One, Bitcoin, is a currency. The other is the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

If Bitcoin or another cryptocurrecy becomes a more widely accepted form of payment – or you live in a particularly tech-heavy market like Silicon Valley – you may have to begin accepting Bitcoin as you do cash, credit, and debit cards.

More interesting is what blockchain may mean for small businesses. At its heart, what blockchain does is create an open system of recording transactions. While that may sound like it would apply only to the transfer of bits between parties in online transactions, the idea is that the “open ledger” would also allow for the recording and tracking of transactions throughout the supply chain in the non-virtual world.

That means, perhaps, better tracking of wine from grape to bottle. Even before grape, an organic winery might be tracking its use of organic-only methods. And after the bottling, there’s less chance of tampering or counterfeiting. (Assuming blockchain delivers on its promises.)

So while it’s still early, you should be paying attention to what these technologies may offer in the next few years. They may become a bigger part of your business than you realize.