Very often, in the interactions with clients from across industries, we have heard the term, “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency,” being used as synonyms. What people don’t realize is that cryptocurrency is just one application of blockchain and there are plenty other real-world uses of this amazing technology.
Here, in this article,we want to give you reasons why he think blockchain technology is a game-changer and the next big thing to have happened since the invention of the internet.
The year 2017 was a big one for cryptocurrencies. It was the year when cryptocurrency reached its peaks and become more mainstream than ever before. And, all thanks to blockchain technology.
What is the Blockchain?
Simply put, it’s the technology behind cryptos. It’s a digital, decentralized and distributed ledger. With the blockchain, you don’t need a central authority like a bank to hold a record of all the transactions that happen with cryptos.
Consider the blockchain as the repository that holds information about all crypto transactions. The beauty of the blockchain is that it’s accessible to everyone.
The blockchain collects data in encrypted blocks. These blocks cannot be modified, altered or deleted. And, the entire blockchain is distributed across a global network of computers. There’s no single repository (like a server) that acts as the central point of the blockchain.
Each block in the chain is combined to form the blockchain. Each encrypted block contains a record of the block before it in the chain.
The first real-world application of the blockchain technology is cryptos. But, that’s just the starting point. Since the blockchain is essentially a digital ledger, it can be used for several other applications apart from cryptos.
Blockchain — More than the Technology behind Cryptos
Here are some of the other amazing uses of blockchain technology. While some of these applications have been successfully executed, others are in the pipeline.
1. Smart Contracts
This is one of the most popular applications of blockchain technology. Smart contracts are just like real-world regular contracts. But, the difference is that they don’t require any third-party to monitor and legalize the contract.
Smart contracts are currently used by several industries and are reducing the dependency on standard legal contracts.
2. Digital Voting
World over there has been increasing criticism about voter fraud. By migrating voting to the blockchain, voter fraud could be totally eliminated. Blockchain makes the entire voting process highly transparent. Regulators can easily find out if anything has been altered.
By combining the convenience of digital voting with the immutability of the blockchain, the entire voting process becomes transparent and trusted.
3. Decentralized Internet
Ever wondered how a few companies control the entire world’s access to the internet? What if these companies one day decide to deny you access to the World Wide Web? Will you get locked out?
Well, no more. Thanks to the idea of the decentralized internet. Programmers are currently working on distributing the functions of the internet over decentralized nodes using blockchain technology. When completed, this would help to increase the resiliency of the internet.
4. Retail Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are highly complicated and difficult to monitor for businesses. Blockchain could simplify these issues, by revolutionizing loyalty reward programs. Customers would be awarded tokens that are stored in blockchains. These tokens can then be redeemed across a wide range of partners, all present on the same blockchain.
This simplifies the transfers from one loyalty program to another while reducing waste and frauds, that are commonly present in paper and card based reward programs.
5. Money Transfers across Borders
This is what cryptos have been successfully doing. You don’t need to depend on banks to transfer money from one party to another, in any corner of the world. 24 x 7 transfers, quick processing, low transaction fees make this application highly attractive.
6. Digital IDs
More than 1 billion people worldwide don’t have any identity. Microsoft is working to change that by providing people with digital IDs. These digital IDs would serve to empower refugees, impoverished people and bring them into the formal financial sector.
7. Supply Chain Management
Blockchains are highly helpful in increasing the efficacy of supply chains. By moving the supply chain to the blockchain, there will be no further need for paper-based trails. Pinpointing inefficiencies as well as identifying the location of items on the supply chain would become highly accurate.
Additionally, both customers and businesses can easily track their products to the source of origin.
8. Data Sharing
This is an idea introduced by IOTA and is currently being worked. Blockchain could be used to sell or share unused data. Most enterprises have unused data bundles that go waste. Instead, of letting these packets of data go waste, it could be routed to places that need it the most, with the help of blockchain.
9. Real Estate
One of the aims of supporters of the blockchain technology is to eliminate paper-based trails. Paperwork could be easily manipulated and forged. On the other hand, the blockchain is immutable and open.
For instance, if you’re buying or selling a piece of land, you would be provided with a paper that states that you own the land or you’re no longer the owner of the land. Instead, of using paper for this, ownership and title details could be stored on the blockchain.
This makes it easier to trace ownership as well as to transfer ownership to others.
10. Food Safety
This is yet another interesting use of blockchain technology. If the entire production and supply chain system are logged on the blockchain, consumers can easily trace their food from origin to their plate.
This makes it easy for regulators to identify and control the source of any food-based illnesses. Also, it helps users be aware of their choices.
Final Thoughts — Blockchain is Just Getting Started
These are just a few of the interesting real-world applications of the blockchain. There are tons more like immutable data backup, copyright and royalty protection, tax compliance, medical record keeping, weapons tracking, inheritances and wills, equity trading, managing IoT networks, tracking prescription drugs, distributed cloud storage, decentralized markets, encrypted messaging, decentralized social networks, decentralized stock exchanges and more.
While blockchain technology is far from perfect, there’s no denying that it’s a big Game-changer! Have you come across any interesting blockchain technology application, which I have missed? Share it with us in the comments section.