We live in strange times. In the past years the world has seen a pandemic, Eastern Europe has had the worst military crisis since the Cold War, and somewhere along the line, Earth’s richest men took a flight into space because, well, because they could.
Blockchain technology could have addressed some of the issues that made the last years such a chaotic time. Blockchain can and will become an integral technological asset very soon, particularly for enterprises.
In this piece, we will focus on how to choose the right Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider.
Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS): definition
Everything needs a definition to become clearer, and this service modality is no exception. In simple terms, BaaS refers to the provision and management of blockchain services to enterprises by third parties. Said differently, it’s a business model where a private company offers cloud-based services to a client. The private agency creates the infrastructure and offers configuration, deployment, data security, and many other benefits to the client enterprise, greatly simplifying the latter’s access to and availability of blockchain technology.
There are many companies out there offering BaaS, but within the European realm, Zaisan is a leading, fully GDPR-compliant BaaS provider. BaaS agencies like Zaisan act as bridges between enterprise companies and the blockchain platforms these companies want to reach and utilise.
One of BaaS’ main provisions centres around the Proof-of-Concept (PoC) principle, the process to determine the real-world feasibility of a particular blockchain project. Many ideas might sound great on paper, but their real-world applicability might be somewhat lacking.
A PoC blockchain offers an additional advantage, as it tests the waters for potential investors. Again, it is one thing to offer a theoretical concept, but quite another to see that idea tested out and running on a blockchain. Investors would probably be swayed by the latter.
BaaS business models have achieved one key goal: To make blockchain development simpler and safer for organisations and enterprises looking to implement blockchain solutions, but were hesitant to do so because of safety concerns that might have perhaps been misguided by rumours and hearsay. Blockchain technology has greatly improved and evolved from its niche beginnings, but it still carries a residual stigma because of its early association with Bitcoin.
But how does it all work?
Every BaaS provider features its own idiosyncrasies and terms and conditions, but the core process of providing blockchain platforms as a service is actually quite simple. How about an analogy to explain it?
When you sign up to an internet provider, a cable TV company, or a streaming service, all you need to have is a laptop or a TV, or any other device that you can connect to those services. The provider itself looks after the rest. They provide the technological platform, its deployment and maintenance, and any other aspect associated with the provision of the service. You, the end user, simply avail of that service and pay a monthly or quarterly fee. (Netflix, for instance, is another company that uses the -aaS suffix, only in Netflix’s case is Software-as-a-Service)
A BaaS provider does the exact same thing. They host the service, implement the necessary security protocols, manage the bandwidth, and let you, the user, use all this infrastructure for a monthly or quarterly fee, just like any other service.
In essence, a BaaS model enables the client to focus on the business’ core functionalities and strategies, while the -aaS provider leases out the technical infrastructure.
How to choose the right BaaS provider
There is no hard and fast rule to choose one provider over another, as it all comes down to the client’s requirements, existing business relationships, and of course, pricing. But generally speaking, these are the basic aspects to consider when searching for a BaaS provider:
- Backend infrastructure
- Integration capabilities
- Data security
- Provisioning speed
- Pricing model
- Developer community
- Smart contracts integration
- Identity access management
Blockchain technology represents one of the biggest technological opportunities for the next decade or so, and BaaS has established itself as a leading business model in this field. -aaS models work. Netflix is a prime example of this. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is another. And as long as there is a need for blockchain, there will be good business opportunities for BaaS providers such as Zaisan’s diverse and scalable solutions.