I’m sure that either you or someone you know owns cryptocurrencies. Their popularity increases with each passing day, and the focus is now turning toward the underlying distributed ledger technology (DLT) that powers these digital currencies.
It’s known as Blockchain, and to be honest; it’s not that hard to understand this technology. To put it simply, the tech exists as a decentralized database filled with entries that must be confirmed by peer-to-peer networks and encrypted.
If the above paragraph were not helpful for you, well, then another way to understand this technology would be to think of it as a strongly encrypted and verified shared Google Document, in which each record in the sheet depends on a logical relationship to all its predecessors, and is agreed upon by every participant in the network.
A notable revolution in the systems of record, the potential use cases of this technology are much more than just serving as the fuel behind digital currencies, a reason why it’s described as the ‘magic beans’ by several of the brightest minds of industries. Below, I’ve outlined some of its emerging applications across various industry verticals.
Note: The titles are in no particular order.
Supply Chain Management
Have you ever thought about how you get your cereal in the morning? It is the result of the impeccable supply chain systems that are implemented across the place you are staying in. If the supply chain stops working properly for some reason, then you get delayed products or no products at all. Supply chains have other issues, too, but one of the biggest issues for companies and consumers like you is to get rid of counterfeit goods that can get into the supply chain by fraud elements in the market.
So, what’s the solution then? Yes, you guessed it right — Blockchain. Blockchain’s immutable ledger makes it well suited for real-time tracking of goods as they move and change hands throughout the supply chain. Not only does it allows companies to monitor the fraud elements in the supply chain, but it also allows them to find out about the inefficiencies that are part of the supply chain. This means that the supply chain can be improved by monitoring it through Blockchain.
Digital identity (in case you have no idea what it is, well, it’s an online record of information about individuals and organizations) is a great thing; it solved a lot of our problems, especially it rid us of the need to carry documents all the time to do even the smallest of tasks. But since centralized entities are becoming increasingly susceptible to identity thefts and data breaches, it has created some issues. Once we provide consent to use our data to the service providers, from there on, the ownership of that data is concentrated in their hands. We would all love a system that helps us get identified most securely.
The answer is a blockchain-based digital identity system. Proponents of blockchain tech for identity management claim that people would only need to provide the bare minimum (date of birth, for example) to prove their identities with enough information on the blockchain. Creating a global identity is way far away from now, but the work has already started in the right direction.
Voting systems have always been scrutinized (sometimes for transparency while sometimes for the speed at which voting occurs) worldwide. It is common for people to stand in line for hours before they get their chance to cast their vote at the polling booth. Some endure it while others don’t; this lowers the overall voter turnout.
Voting is one activity that must have the option of being carried over the internet. However, online voting has been resisted by many due to concerns such as security and fraud. Blockchain has the ability to eliminate all these concerns as it will present a clear record of the votes that have been cast. The hackers would be no match to blockchain technology, as its tamper-proof feature makes it difficult to hack a blockchain-enabled voting system. With blockchain, the voting process will become more easily accessible, resulting in a significant rise in voter turnout.
As mentioned above, the supply chain can be improved by monitoring it through blockchain. Which will help solve one of the most painful points of healthcare, counterfeit or fake medicines. As a consumer, you will get access to medicines that are authentic in nature, while the companies will also benefit from this as it will save them millions of dollars.
Moreover, if you look around yourself, you’ll find that almost everyone has some sort of specialized connected medical device; they are becoming more common with each passing day and are being increasingly linked to a person’s health record. A major issue currently being faced by connected medical devices is the siloing of the data they generate; blockchain could be the link that bridges those silos. Devices will store the data generated on a healthcare blockchain and append it to personal medical records. So, all your health data will be in one place.
Blockchain technology has the potential to decentralize the energy market, which is controlled by large corporations. It allows for real-time coordination of electricity demand and supply data to improve energy efficiency on the demand-side. Blockchain solutions can also monitor and control energy performance in real-time accurately, ultimately increasing efficiency on the supply side. In effect, Blockchain provides electricity distribution companies with ways to efficiently track the usage and generation of energy and identify network anomalies, improving response time in case of a blackout or a failure.
The average homeowner sells their home every 5 to 7 years, and the average person will move nearly twelve times during their lifetime. Real estate is not in perfect shape; the amount of paperwork that goes in while buying or selling a property would give many headaches. If one wants to make a purchase, one will have to go through long documentation, verification, and ownership transfer. There are also chances of getting fraud. The fraud generally happens from sellers who sell their property to more than one party at the same time.
Blockchain could certainly help with all these issues of the real estate market. It would expedite home sales by quickly verifying finances, reducing fraud thanks to encryption, and offering transparency throughout the entire selling and purchasing process.
That’s all, folks!