Industries that Could Benefit from Blockchain Technology
The decentralized structure of the new blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize several businesses and industries. With low (or zero) transaction costs, greater security and transparency, speed and immutability, blockchain has so much to offer to businesses. These days the use of blockchain technology is becoming more and more popular amongst businesses who want to stay at the top of innovation. Blockchain is the digital ledger technology that powers cryptocurrency (digital money). It can verify accounts, transactions and balances which means there is a reduced risk of fraud and theft online. Such characteristics of blockchain can be beneficial to several industries including:
Blockchain can offer huge benefits to the banking sector by eliminating the middlemen, hidden transaction fees and administrative burden. Within the traditional banking system, an international money transfer can take days if not weeks. Blockchain technology offers the quickest way of sending and receiving money internationally. This can completely change how people see the functioning of the traditional banking system.
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The adoption of blockchain technology into the banking system can greatly serve the unbanked – individuals who do not have access to a bank account or similar financial institutions. There are around 1.6 billion unbanked adults in the world. With no access to financial institutions, these people struggle to make online transactions, save money, invest or access loans or mortgages. The adoption of blockchain can completely change this troubled landscape. Blockchain can help these people to have a cryptocurrency account which does not require a minimum balance, is more accessible and allows faster transactions. Besides that, blockchain offers greater security than banks which are increasingly prone to cyberattacks and cyber thefts. The overall nature of blockchain and cryptocurrency is more inclusive in nature as well- that means – there is not any person who will approve you to open your bank account or sign your loan application. It is all done digitally which reduces the chances of gender/racial bias which has plagued the banking system for decades.
There are some banks that have already started using blockchain in some capacities. A recent research published by the Bank of America shows that around 21% of the banks they covered use blockchain technologies in some form. This includes JPMorgan, Citi, PNC, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, Fifth Third Bank, Signature Bank and several others. Although none of the banks are allowing customers to have crypto accounts or facilitate crypto transactions, some of them are open to doing so in future.
The use of blockchain technologies in government entities can enhance workflow, build citizen trust and safeguard transactions. Governments can use blockchain ledger to verify digital records and claims, thus improving their efficiency and reducing any human error. One of the key advantages of blockchain is transparency, i.e., the government can decrease the citizen’s distrust by sharing records and information about funds. Every fund received by the government can be accounted for. Blockchain provides a permanent audit trail and facilitates a faster reconciliation of funds.
Another important function of blockchain can be improved security and protection. Government usually keeps a lot of records about their citizens – social security numbers, driving license numbers and birth dates. Therefore, government security systems are susceptible to data and privacy breaches. Blockchain can mitigate these problems and reduce the risk of hacks by deployment of data structures that harden network security. For example: The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate is working with the Silicon Valley Innovation Program to develop interoperable blockchain standards and specifications to enhance supply-chain security and digital credentialing. The government could also use the blockchain technology to make the voting system more efficient and secure. The voters can give their vote anonymously on a blockchain-based voting application that is secure and immune from any hack. This has already been implemented in the real world. In 2018, Thai Democratic Party held its election to elect a new party leader using ZCoin’s blockchain. This was the first mass-scale application of blockchain in voting and election.
Blockchain can affect many aspects of healthcare transactions and processes. With so much healthcare services going digital ranging from patient records, payments, insurance approvals, requests for appointments and even sensitive patient data. Blockchain can provide protection to such sensitive data and enable patients to access that data any time. A report by Deloitte suggested that the use of blockchain for maintaining Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) can reduce the friction and cost of intermediaries and make the healthcare system more efficient. Blockchain technology can also facilitate easy tracking of patient’s health data. Several uses of blockchain like digital identity asset management for patients, health supply chain management, tracking financials, insurance and records have piqued the interest of stakeholders in the healthcare industry.
Given the pandemic, most of the schools and universities have already gone online for quite some time. Blockchain technology can help create better online learning platforms using tokens. Students can use and share the tokens to indicate the courses they like and prefer, giving real-time feedback. However, doing administrative functions online like issuing academic transcripts, letters of recommendations and degrees involves high security risks. In such a scenario, blockchain can come to rescue by providing a safe gateway of storing and sharing academic data. Blockchain can also help in verification of student records and thus eliminating third-parties which additionally charges students to do so. With safe-keeping and digital records, there will also be reduced risk of academic frauds i.e., people using fake academic documents for job applications. There are several education-tech companies which are already deploying blockchain for improved efficiency. For example: APII, a company in England, combines blockchain technologies, smart contracts and machine learning capabilities to verify the academic credentials of students and professors. The users can also use APII to create a CV containing education history and background. This will then be verified using the blockchain and lock their information into that blockchain.
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As demonstrated in the above examples, blockchain technology can drastically change the way several industries function. They can enhance their working mechanism and offer greater data security. At Unbanked, we help people and industries to instrumentalize this power of blockchain for their benefits. To learn how you can do that, visit us today.