Blockchain technology has grown to become more than a buzzword in the past two years—it has the potential to revolutionize many different industries. Every day, new use cases for blockchain are being developed to improve services across a wide range of sectors, from real estate to banking. Businesses across all industries, including the following, have already discovered creative ways to incorporate blockchain technologies into their operations.
The financial industry is one of the most popular targets for blockchain disruption because the technology promises to cut out middlemen that charge transaction fees, facilitate international fund transfers, and keep track of things like ownership and location. The blockchain can also reduce fraud, which is a massive issue in the industry.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies now allow people to easily manage their own money without the need of a bank or traditional financial institution. While cryptocurrency may serve as an alternative to banks for customers, banks themselves are also seeking to adopt the underlying technology. For example, blockchain technology is used to facilitate payments across borders, and it is being explored by many large financial institutions as an alternative way to conduct a lot of transactions more securely.
The world is nearly ready for blockchain technology, and the field of government isn’t exempt. From improving the efficiency of the judicial system to enhancing the voting process, governments around the world are starting to investigate how distributed ledgers can be integrated to improve governance and public services. In fact, some governments are starting to implement blockchain solutions for specific needs. For example, the government of Estonia is in the process of creating a digital identity program that will be based on the country’s blockchain infrastructure.
Blockchain is a way of keeping records, meaning it could help with managing data that is already being collected. This includes things like tickets, passports, social security numbers, and even voting machines. Not only could this help the government to better manage all the information it already has, but it could also even help to create new opportunities. For example, the government could use blockchain to create a more secure voting system.
Supply Chain Management
The benefits blockchain offers supply chain management could be huge. The first, and most obvious benefit, is that it removes the need for intermediaries. This doesn’t just mean a reduction in the number of people involved in the supply chain but also an increase in efficiency and transparency. Blockchain technology can be used to track the movement of goods from their origin to destination, and all necessary documents pertaining to this journey can be stored in the ledger. This means that if an issue arises, everyone involved in the supply chain can look to the blockchain to see what happened.
The healthcare industry is another prime candidate for disruption by blockchain technology, and is one of the largest industries in the world. It is also one of the most inefficient. According to the Global Health Care Anti-Fraud Network, around 6% of global health care expenditure ($260 billion) is lost to fraud. One of the biggest causes for the inefficiencies in this industry is the slow pace of transactions. For example, it takes almost a month for insurance claims to be processed and paid. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, facilitate real-time transactions (provided that the transaction is verified).
The blockchain can be used to store data, allow for more secure transactions, and even help with digital identity management. It can be used to improve patient records (by making them more secure), to give doctors and patients a greater say in how information is shared, and to improve payments and healthcare research. By removing third parties from the equation, blockchain technology can make healthcare cheaper and more efficient.
One of blockchain’s lesser-known applications is in the real estate industry, where transactions historically have been rife with fraud and other problems. A lot of buzz has been created by the fact that blockchain can be used to issue title deeds to real estate, thereby eliminating the need to rely on a trusted third party to verify transactions. It also reduces the likelihood of fraud by making it impossible to tamper with or hack the records.
Real estate transactions are particularly challenging since they involve parties in different locations, but blockchain will change that. For example, Propy, a startup based in San Francisco, is building a blockchain-based real estate platform to facilitate the buying and selling of properties in the U.S. and Europe. Propy is one of several blockchain-based startups that aim to make real estate transactions more transparent, reliable, secure, and efficient.
The music industry has already embraced blockchain as a way to ensure musicians get paid fairly. In the past, musicians had to rely on record companies to get their music out to the public and make money from album sales. The industry is dominated by the big labels, and artists are not always getting a fair deal. That’s because the big labels own all the copyrights for the music they profit from, and they have a monopoly on the industry. With blockchain, however, music artists can directly sell their songs and albums without a third party in between.
Blockchain is a technology that will transform higher education as we know it. Right now, the academic record is an archaic system of paper transcripts and letters of recommendation. The advent of blockchain technology will allow for a more secure, transparent, and timely way of storing and sharing academic data. For example, ECPI University implemented a blockchain solution for handling academic credentials. The university partnered with Learning Machine, an educational technology company, to develop a system that will issue and track degrees on the blockchain.
Solidifying Cryptocurrency’s Role in Industries
There is no question that cryptocurrency as a whole has a bad rap due to the fact that it is so volatile compared to most other investments. As a result, many people have been turned off from investing in cryptocurrencies. Many people believe that for cryptocurrencies to become a mainstream investment they need to decrease their volatility.
While people will tell you it is just a matter of time until the price stabilizes, the truth is cryptocurrencies are not going away anytime soon, and it will be impossible to stabilize the market until more people start using it as a form of payment. While some people may not want to spend their cryptocurrency, people will want to spend it if they are able to.
For cryptocurrency to become more mainstream, however, it needs to increase liquidity otherwise it will continue to be more of an investment than actual money. While the number of people around the world who use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a store of value is only growing, the number of people who use cryptocurrency to actually buy goods and services is still relatively low. This is because the cost of using cryptocurrency to make everyday purchases is quite high, meaning many people opt to just use their credit card or another fiat currency instead.
Blockchain technology is changing the face of industries— and the reality is that blockchain is one of the most important technological innovations of our generation. While blockchain technology has already made its impact in the financial world, it has the potential to disrupt any industry where data is collected and stored. Its applications transform the way industries verify trust and ownership of products, services, and digital content. Indeed, the impact of blockchain technology will be as revolutionizing as the internet and has the potential to change the world in ways we have yet to fully understand.