While bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the first-known applications of blockchain technology, the technology itself has more wide-ranging potential. Although we may seem to be far from widespread adoption yet, favorable trends portend otherwise.
The fact is, as you read this, blockchain technology is making significant inroads into various other industries. Some sectors that have hitched their wagon onto the success of blockchain technology include healthcare, real estate, banking, and finance.
The blockchain stands to make organizations and their processes more efficient, secure, accurate, and transparent. In today’s digital realm, it’s not even a question of if organizations will jump on the blockchain bandwagon, but when. However, before delving into the blockchain applications that we are most likely to see in the near future, let’s first try and get our heads around what the blockchain is all about.
The blockchain is primarily a digital ledger that contains the details of each transaction taking place on the network. The technology is currently used in cryptocurrency transactions and is threatening to eliminate banks as the middlemen in financial transactions. The defining features of a blockchain are immutability, decentralization, and automation.
With that cleared out of the way, let’s take a look at the real-world applications of this revolutionary technology that you will most likely witness in the not-too-distant future. While not at all an exhaustive list, the following is a sneak peek at the benefits that businesses stand to gain from the widespread adoption of blockchain.
1. Supply chain and logistics
The supply chain and logistics industry are undoubtedly fraught with potential choke points. And unfortunately, one of the critical issues in the shipping sector is the lack of communication. Plenty of shipping companies swarming the space has given birth to transparency issues and data silos.
With the back and forth of transportation goods across cities and borders, there is an indispensable need of keeping tabs on operations.
The global supply chain hub Singapore witnesses more shipments than any other part of the world. To help you stay on top of everything, while managing supply chain operations in a city like Singapore, consider investing in Microsoft 365 Singapore or the Microsoft Office 365 Family, as it is now called, to make elaborate spreadsheets on Excel and other applications that will keep you from drowning in an ocean of data.
The plan also offers you access to other productivity applications. In addition to all that, it makes communication about manufacturing, delivering, and assembly of products easy with the parties involved in the supply chain.
In the future, the blockchain will take care of all the logistical filings, reports, and monitoring, making for a seamless experience.
2. Digital voting
Although governments worldwide are still resisting the adoption of digital currencies because it will place the economy outside of their own control, they are warmer to the idea of blockchain enabling transparency in other political operations, like voting, for example.
What can matter more in a democracy than the credibility and transparency of a vote? As it stands now, however, the electoral procedures are far from transparent and constantly become the source of political tension. The blockchain, with its digital ledger technology where each and everything is recorded, the drama surrounding the vote castings will become a thing of the past.
The US state of West Virginia successfully implemented blockchain-based voting in their midterm elections for 2018. The results were instantly recorded and eliminated any concerns of fraud. It would be interesting to note how other countries go about incorporating a blockchain-based system of balloting.
3. Smart contracts
Whether you are partnering with a vendor or purchasing a property, agreements and legal settlements are part of the business world. In most cases, such contracts involve intermediaries who make sure that everyone complies with the terms of the legal contract.
However, blockchain will enable businesses to draw smart contracts that will eliminate the need for intermediaries. These contracts are somewhat similar to regular ones – just that the rules and regulations of the agreement are enforced in real-time. The technology ingrained with the if-this-then-that (IFTTT) code not only waives the involvement of mediators but also ensures that the terms of the agreement are implemented once the conditions are met.
Thus, the self-executing and customizable contracts help businesses save time and ensure accountability. Also, various industries can cash in on blockchain-based contracts. For instance, copyright issues and intellectual ownership rights have become much more complicated in current times. With the blockchain, and specifically the NFT technology, the rights of the digital creator to own and earn from their content are safeguarded.
4. Personal identity protection
Around a billion people in the world have no means to prove their official identity? It’s a staggering figure, especially, when considering how most organizations are pushing toward know-your-customer (KYC) policies. Apart from that, there are far too many occurrences of digital fraud and theft to warrant concerns over personal identity protection.
Currently, multiple types of documentation are required to prove your identity, i.e., identity cards, driver’s licenses, social security IDs, and passwords. But the blockchain network promises to end the need to carry all your personal documentation cards on you at all times.
According to FinTech scientists, you will only need one digital ID to signup everywhere. The blockchain will empower you to exercise greater control over your digital data. Moreover, blockchain also provides a convenient and effective way for creating digital wills since the technology will make it impossible to tamper with wills.
Lately, blockchain has become a buzzword easily rolling off the tongues of anybody and everybody in touch with technology. Today, we can witness a proliferation of blockchain applications that are pushing the technology toward greater adoption. The next few decades might be crucial for the success of blockchain. Lastly, a future where the use of blockchain will be ubiquitous isn’t too far off.