Blockchains have slowly developed from something only cryptocurrency enthusiasts cared about to a technological phenomenon that promises to change the world. Blockchain offers remarkable opportunities but also come at a significant energy cost.
The practicalities of blockchain, however, are not all that convincing yet.
What can blockchains be used for and where can we expect the technology to have the biggest impact? We reached out to some of the industry’s leading experts and asked them to share their views on the matter, and this is what they had to say.
Naturally, finance is the industry where blockchains will have the most impact, at least to begin with. In fact, in many ways, we’re already there. Brokers like eToro are offering crypto as tradable assets.
Banks and financial institutions from all over have already realized how useful blockchains are for a range of reasons. Today, blockchains are used for everything from sending large amounts of money across the world instantaneously and with minimum fees to customer protection.
Blockchains are also a great way to record and store data regarding transactions, both on an institutional and individual level. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
In other words, blockchains will fill a much more important role for the world of finance than the cryptocurrency trading opportunities that many associate them with today.
Blockchain also has the potential to innovate financial transactions done for humanitarian purposes, making sure that the money doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Imagine a world where all your medical records were readily available wherever you are, and where medicines and prescriptions were handled on a completely safe and flawless platform. Not only will it help optimize our health care, but it can help limit the number of mistakes made by health care professionals.
Blockchains provides several opportunities to make all this happen. Better yet, with the right technology, your medical information will be readily available but only with your permission, meaning it will be more protected on a blockchain that it is today.
According to IBM, the main characteristic of blockchain technology that is useful in drug traceability is security. Each new transaction added to a block is immutable and timestamped, making it easy to track a product and make sure the information cannot be altered. Given that 10% to 30% of the drugs sold in developing countries are counterfeit and that counterfeit drugs are a $200 billion / year market, this could be a massive change.
One of the main usages of blockchains today and in the future will be data protection and storage. There is just no other technology that can compete with blockchains when it comes to storing large amounts of data in a very safe environment, and there are no limits to the type of data you can handle on a blockchain.
For example, blockchains could potentially be used for elections without the risk of results being tampered with. The technology could also be used to store all of your personal and potentially sensitive information, classified governmental material, and everything in between.
Another interesting use of blockchains that is already being implemented in several industries is related to quality assurance. By creating a unique blockchain and then registering all products on that blockchain, luxury companies can make it easier than ever to differentiate between real products and fake ones.
Similarly, car manufacturers can register all their vehicles on a blockchain which could help create complete transparency for second-hand sales. Also, food companies can use blockchains to paint a clear picture of exactly how and where a product was created.
Regardless of your opinion on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market, there is no doubt that the blockchains that support the currencies will help change our society in countless ways. The above-mentioned examples are, as mentioned, only the tip of the iceberg, and before we know it, blockchain technology will be a part of our everyday life. Blockchain seems to finally be ready to deliver on its promises. It’s about time.