Even though it is mainly associated with cryptocurrencies and the financial area, blockchain technology has vast applications. Each industry has fields and areas where you can make operations easier, faster, and safer using the blockchain. Top of mind, here are some areas where blockchain technology can be implemented to solve pain points.
First, we will briefly explain what blockchain is. The explanation is concise and intended mainly for beginners. If you already know the basics, skip to the next section of the article: How will blockchain shape the future?
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a database. Like a massive “book” in which all information is written in chronological order. Once written, the data cannot be deleted. And you can no longer add a piece of information that you forgot a few pages ago. New data is added in continuation of what is already written. This feature of the blockchain is called immutability.
Each piece of info in this book is first validated by 51% of the participants in the network. It’s called the consensus mechanism. If everyone says "Yes, the information is correct, we validate it!" then it is recorded in the book. Ok, and who are the network participants who have the right to vote? The computers! It can be my computer, yours, or everyone's!
It gets more interesting! Every computer from the network has a copy of this “book” in which it writes down the same information at the same time. Thus, our computers become Nodes of the network, meaning that they validate everything that happens in the blockchain network and write it down in the ledger. So the blockchain is a huge network of computers. Like an active and decentralized spider web.
For example: if we make a transaction in the blockchain, that is, I send you 1 Bitcoin, all the computers in the network know that I sent you 1 Bitcoin, and every computer has already noted the transaction. The good thing is that no one can lie about the transaction, because all these computers have already written the transaction. In many ways, blockchain technology is similar to Internet technology, but much cooler.
How will blockchain shape the future?
We live in the digital era. This is the era of many opportunities, high-speed technological advancement, and many discoveries, of which, blockchain is perhaps the most important recent one.
Let's see precisely the areas in which blockchain technology can be implemented and what problems it can solve.
The financial and economic segment
Due to the fact that the information in the blockchain is transparent, the system is safe. This excludes illegal transactions, fraud, and other malicious acts, which can occur in an outdated financial system. Additionally, the speed of the transactions is higher than in today's financial institutions. Transactions happen instantly most of the time and with minimal costs.
The medical industry
Blockchain enables the processing and storage of all patient information. This is a great solution for medical records loss and fragmented patient histories in several systems. Blockchain can reduce the amount of medical practice and monitoring by 2 times, saving both time and resources for both doctors and patients. The technology can effectively improve the condition of patients at a much lower cost. It eliminates all hurdles and barriers to multi-level authentication, such as incomplete point-of-care records and difficult access to patient health information, in a secure and pseudo-anonymous way.
Blockchain allows patients to share information, provide access to their own data, and invoke a smart contract for automatic payments for their medical claims. It is important to note that blockchain guarantees the confidentiality of patient records. Furthermore, while Blockchain is visible, it is also private, hiding the identity of any individual behind complicated and secure algorithms that can preserve the sensitivity of medical data. The patient will be able to track where the information they share goes in the blockchain, while still having privacy and full control over their personal data.
The science research field
Researchers can use this technology to analyze a massive volume of knowledge collected from a specific group of individuals. Blockchain allows a whole new infrastructure, making it easier to use and track every step of the research.
The legal system
The breakthrough for the legal field is the existence of Smart Contracts, based on which, any type of business can create a completely legal basis. Blockchain enables the efficiency and simplification of transactional work and digital signatures. Massively reducing manual tasks and performing them automatically will significantly reduce the hours spent drafting and amending legal documents. The costs will decrease massively, especially for clients. Thus, everyone who needs legal services will have greater access to them, for a fraction of the current cost.
Some of the most important areas where blockchain will impact the legal industry are:
- electronic signature - it brings speed, efficiency, and cost savings to the authentication process
- intellectual property - a key blockchain-based innovation that impacts intellectual property is the non-fungible token or the NFT.
- property rights - property owners can cut out middlemen and sell their properties on the blockchain in a transparent and immutable manner, with a massive reduction in transaction costs.
- the chain of custody - the process of handling evidence from the moment it is collected until the moment it is presented as evidence in a court of law.
The property rights will never be challenged again
Creative professionals (artists, musicians, painters, writers, etc.) can eliminate the problem of copyrights, protecting their works from plagiarism, copying, or forgery with the help of blockchain technology.
The energy field
Many processes in this sector will be streamlined. Some of these are the management of intelligent power systems, solving problems in the field of energy production, consumption, management and trade, real-time measurement of the level of electricity generation and consumption, and other indicators.
The elections field
The electronic voting dilemma can be solved with blockchain. Blockchain technology can solve one of the most pressing problems of the political world - transparency and decentralization. The current vote counting system is not only difficult to apply, but also unreliable.
Supply Chain Management
This is one of the most promising use cases of blockchain as it provides real-time tracking of goods throughout the key points of the supply chain. Blockchain facilitates the process, making it faster and cheaper. At the same time, it assures better organization and coordination among all parties: suppliers, banks, and clients.
These are just a few of the near future applications of blockchain technology in industries everyone’s familiar with. Considering them, just imagine what else can become possible in the following years, for other industries and for the new fields of the professions that are just emerging and might become popular in the next decades. Genetic counselors, Data detectives, Forest fire prevention specialists, and so on - all can benefit from blockchain technology in one way or another. It will be embedded in their everyday jobs, just like the internet is today.