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Get Started with Salesforce Blockchain

Learning Objectives

  • Explain what Salesforce Blockchain is.
  • Explain how Salesforce Blockchain works with the Salesforce Platform.
  • Describe the components of Salesforce Blockchain.

Introducing Salesforce Blockchain

Salesforce now enables businesses to create trusted, shared blockchain apps and networks. Built on the open source Hyperledger Sawtooth protocol, Salesforce Blockchain is integrated directly into the Salesforce Platform. This allows customers to build their blockchain trust networks, data, and apps using clicks, not code, and easy-to-use tools. 

About 55 percent of companies say that the biggest obstacle to adopting blockchain is finding skilled developers who can build a blockchain. When setting up a blockchain, you have to do the following.

1. Create a data model and network.

2. Decide on rules and permissions.

3. Create an engagement layer for partners.

4. Build a user experience to show data.

5. Integrate with non-blockchain data. 

6. On-board and incentivize.

But you don’t want to try to accomplish all of that by creating a bunch of code with disjointed tools. 

Salesforce Blockchain lets you easily create your own trust networks to securely extend CRM to partners (industry, suppliers, distributors, public institutions, and customers). 

How does Salesforce make this possible? First Salesforce Blockchain lets you create blockchain networks, data, and apps using simple clicks—using the power of Salesforce’s low-code tools. Next, it helps you make blockchain data actionable using the built-in capabilities of Lightning Flows, Search, Einstein AI, and many more services. Then, it helps you easily engage your blockchain network partners using Lightning apps, community, or prebuilt APIs for supporting partners that are not using Salesforce.

Run on a Scalable and Flexible Foundation

Now let’s explain the key components of Salesforce Blockchain and its benefits.

Hyperledger Sawtooth: This is an open source blockchain protocol on which Salesforce Blockchain is based. It is secure and scalable.

Consensus management: It’s a logic the network uses to agree on an update to the blockchain database. Salesforce offers a variety of consensus protocols (rules for defining how the network arrives at a consensus) so networks can decide which process works best for their needs.

Smart contracts API: API that enables developers to create a set of business rules and deploy them across the network. Smart contracts enable companies to create new business models built on trust and automation. The rules sit on blockchain and are transparent to all partners.

Build Blockchain Networks and Apps with Clicks

Blockchain Builder: A builder tool that enables a developer or admin to create a blockchain app, add partners, and spin up a node infrastructure. It also includes an API that enables developers to programatically set up an app masking the complexity of blockchain. Declarative UI enables admins to do it with clicks, not code. 

Desktop image of Blockchain Builder

Automate with Lightning Platform

Query API: API that enables you to query the blockchain either for entity definition or a specific record. Blockchain is inherently a complex data structure to query, but Salesforce has developed an approach that is performant and scalable.

History API: API that enables you to query a record and view the various versions and how it has changed over time. 

Blockchain Events—workflow: Use Platform Events to capture activity from the blockchain and expose it to Salesforce workflow. Automate actions around blockchain data.

Engage Partners

Partner Permissions API: API that enables all partners read and write access controls for objects and fields. The Salesforce Platform provides those access controls as part of its multitenant architecture, and it's bringing similar principles to Salesforce Blockchain. 

Blockchain Connect: A data synchronization service to configure blockchain objects and fields to display on record pages on Lightning Apps or Community, or in custom apps. Integrate blockchain data directly into the user experience with clicks not code.

Salesforce Blockchain in Four Steps

Now, let’s talk about what it takes for you to create a blockchain app on Salesforce. To help you understand the simplicity of Salesforce Blockchain, let’s discuss a use case. In this example, you create a network so insurance companies, claims processors, and repair shops can work together on a trusted blockchain ledger of a customer claim. 

  1. Start by defining your trust network, its rules, and permissions.
    With insurance claims, you want the insurance agent, the third-party claims handler, and the repair shop to work securely on a claim. For instance, you might set permissions for insurance agent to “read-only” while other network participants can both read, write, and verify changes to the blockchain claims database.
  2. Create a low-code data model directly on blockchain.
    The data you want to share is claims. So you create a Claim object and add fields (date, customer, and so forth). You do it as you would create any data object in Salesforce, only it’s being created right on the blockchain.
  3. Make blockchain data actionable.
    Every blockchain data comes with automated events and process capability (because it’s integrated with the Lightning Platform). So your blockchain data becomes immediately actionable, sends notifications, and can automatically close a claim. For instance, if a repair shop completes the repairs and saves this data about the repairs to the blockchain, with Platform Events acting on that information, the status of the claim automatically changes to Repairs Completed without the need for extra verification or paperwork.
  4. Easily create apps for all partners and invite them.
    If the partner uses Salesforce, you can use existing Salesforce apps or Community to display blockchain records and allow partners to interact with that data. When you add the repair shop and the claims handler, they see this data on a shared single view inside a Salesforce app. If partners are not on Salesforce, you can easily build apps on Heroku or any custom framework to display blockchain data through APIs. Whether your partners are Salesforce customers or not, Salesforce Blockchain makes it easy for them to join and start using your network.

Salesforce Blockchain: New Possibilities

Here are a few more uses cases for Salesforce Blockchain.

Transform experiences in Marketing: A hospitality company can create a differentiated loyalty rewards network on blockchain to enable customers to use reward points across partners.

Speed up processes in Service: Real estate companies can bring mortgage firms, title companies, and Realtors together on blockchain for faster servicing of a homebuyer.

Accelerate Sales by engaging networks: Banks can decrease sales cycles and improve customer experience by putting the entire know-your-customer (KYC) process for business accounts on blockchain—with a network of regulators and reviewers. 

Elevate trust in supply chain: High-end clothing companies can ensure ethical sourcing of cotton for good business practices and customer trust.

Accelerate student success in education: A university can create a universal learner network with other universities to enable lifelong learner profiles for students.

Conclusion

In summary, as the global CRM leader, Salesforce is now making it possible for customers to connect to one another and to their partners using trusted networks. As with every new technology, Salesforce makes it easy for companies to use blockchain in a way that delivers immediate value. 

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