Most people are only aware of cryptocurrencies as potential investment vehicles, assets or passive income earners. What most don’t know about is the technology behind cryptos -the blockchain technology
Blockchain is fast becoming one of the most disruptive technologies, with its effects being felt across sectors all over. In this article, we’ll be looking at the various sectors that blockchain is impacting along with their most promising technologies. If you’re a blockchain enthusiast, this will be of great interest to you.
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin were designed to disrupt the finance sector. And while bitcoin hasn’t been able to do that, because of its wildly fluctuating prices, others are beginning to make a dent –the most promising being Tether (USDT).
Tether is a financial network that accelerates transaction speed and costs far less than traditional financial institutions, thus drastically cutting the wait and processing time for financial transactions as well as the cost implications.
Wire transfers sent on the network typically reflect in 5 minutes or so, while the cost of transaction is usually a fraction of regular bank charges.
It’s the government’s prerogative to provide the citizenry with access to all public records and data. Yet, time and again, we have found that most governments are selective in their release of these data.
This has created the need for complete transparency in government and access to public records. Blockchain technology company Essentia, is trying to solve this problem through their e-government decentralized public record platform.
This data management platform will be available to citizens who want to access to the data. The pilot of this initiative should be in the mind of Nigerian Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners
- Medical Records
Most hospitals and medical facilities typically have their file storage system on-site. This is usually in the form of an internal network where patient details, files and records can be stored and call up at will.
The problem with these central data storage facilities is that they can be easily targeted by hackers and people with malicious intent who will access the data patient records and use them for selfish motives.
A good example of this is the ransomware attack that most big hospitals on the Nigeria’s National Health Service (NHS) had to deal with.
As if that’s not enough, hospitals often have to decide on which healthcare record software system to use. With over fifty of these systems in existence, all running on different platforms and lacking interoperability, access to data across platforms can be difficult and time consuming.
And when it comes to saving life, there’s often not enough time. Most of the time, life and death issues often require instant access to patient data, and without this access, the patient may not get the care or diagnosis they need.
We need a system that can collate all the data across multiple networks, and put them on one network that’s decentralized, encrypted, privacy driven and secure.
This is what blockchain solutions like MedRec, and Medbloc are attempting to do with their network. These blockchain driven platforms are aimed at providing this solution so that medical personnel can easily access patient data from anywhere in the world.
Patient confidentiality is ensured and their privacy secure. The system is designed in such a way that only approved personnel will be able to use the network. MedRec on the other hand, is providing a data sharing service, that’s based on confidentiality and can only be accessed by approved healthcare professionals.
MedBloc’s focus is on the enforcement of HIPAA and other privacy agreements using the blockchain, thus ensuring that patient data are kept secure through encryption.
- Border Security and Immigration
One of the biggest problems governments across the globe have to deal with illegal immigration and lax border security.
The US government recently committed hundreds of billions of dollars to shoring up border security, while many European nations have increased their border security measures.
Because this is a major issue, some blockchain companies have started coming up with blockchain powered security measures and solutions that can help with border control and security.
One of these companies is Essentia that’s currently trying to get the government of Netherlands to sign off on a new blockchain powered solution that will help make the movement of people between London and Amsterdam seamless.
Waste management is critical to a nation’s health index. This is why blockchain initiatives like Waltonchain are developing smart waste management system that’s completely seamless and super effective.
One of these waste management systems has already been deployed in China to monitor waste levels and boost the utilization of resources.
Most countries depend on taxes from its citizens to run their governments and generate decent revenue. Depending on the country and income category, citizens may have to pay between 25 percent and 50 percent of their income as tax.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few people who adroitly navigate and take advantage of tax loopholes to avoid paying their taxes or paying as little as possible.
For people like this, the end of such schemes may be nearer based on the emerging blockchain tax solutions that companies like China’s Miaocai Network are providing.
This network has created a solution that automates tax payment notices and invoices, thus making it easier for the government to track erring defaulters and compel them to pay their taxes.
- Residency and Identification
In countries with less strict immigration policies, it is easy for “aliens” to naturalize and become citizens. This has so many security risks that could potentially jeopardize the peace efforts and prosperity of a nation.
To curb this, the government of Zug, a small city in Switzerland, has adopted a blockchain based registration protocol to register all residents. Residents are therefore able to use their registrations as a means of identification, and can even use them during voting.
- Tech Enterprise
Smart contracts are going to be big in the nearest future. This is evident from the adoption of Ethereum’s smart contracts platform by Microsoft Azure Enterprise. This is a blockchain based system that provides people with access to smart contracts.
More interestingly, it appears that Google’s parent company, Alphabet is also interested in building its own blockchain to aid and improve its cloud services. It aims to do this through the creation of its own proprietary distributed ledger that they can use as well as sell to buyers.
- Shipping and Maritime Logistics
International trade is often fraught with bureaucracies, lost time and inefficiencies. Blockchain solutions are being created to help facilitate a smoother transition and logistics process, particularly when it comes to shipping.
Shipping logistics play a huge role in world trade. Without that, the global economy would take a hit and global trade will suffer tremendously.
In a bid to make shipping logistics easier, major shipping companies like Maersk and ZIM have adopted blockchain solutions, particularly in the form of distributed ledgers to help drastically reduce red tapes and increase transparency in the maritime industry.
- Supply Chain Management
Similarly, companies whose products are bound to transition through multiple points before getting to the end user, are fast adopting blockchain based supply chain solutions to eliminate inefficiencies and redundancies, as well as streamline the entire chain of processes from manufacturing to customer delivery.
Companies that are adopting these solutions include commodity based retailers like Walmart and tech Giant IBM, who have partnered with one of China’s biggest retailers JD.com to launch the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China. The goal of this project is to help track food items, and ensure they are safe for consumption.
On a related note, food trading firms like Louis Dreyfus are setting up blockchain solutions aimed at facilitating speedier transactions between trading parties. In the case of Louis Dreyfus Co, they created a solution that’s designed to accelerate transactions regarding soybeans to and from China.
- Landed Property and Real estate
In the country of Georgia, the government has created a proprietary blockchain solution specifically designed for the purpose of registering land titles.
This has drastically cut down the number of fraudulent property related activities as well as brought some more transparency into the process.
This blockchain product is incorporated into their country’s public registry for the purposes of tracking land titles and property.
Similarly, the first property related purchase has been recorded in Ukraine, thanks to the ethereum based smart contracts.
This was facilitated by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington who sold the property in the capital using nothing but cryptocurrency and the platform called Propy –a blockchain based real estate brokering service.
- Energy Usage, Distribution and Consumption
Transparency about energy usage is just as important as that of energy consumption. It is with this in mind that the National Energy Commission in Chile commissioned the use of blockchain solutions for the measurement and tracking of Chile’s energy consumption.
The goal is part of the country’s efforts to upgrade its electricity infrastructure to modern standards. Companies that are also in the business of power trading would do well to have a record keeping system that’s 100 percent.
Some companies are working on blockchain solutions that will handle this as well as track power usage, deployment and consumption at every point in the process, and provide a comprehensive data to the energy suppliers and companies.
- Music, Gaming and Entertainment
The music industry is rife with middlemen to take significant payouts, thus unduly slashing the profits of the artistes whose creativity and music make the money. Thanks to blockchain though, middlemen will most likely be extinct in the near future. These blockchain projects like Artbit are aimed at ensuring that the musicians get their fair due –which is usually more than they would if the middlemen were involved- and are compensated accordingly.
The gaming industry is also fast adopting blockchain tech in its games, particularly when it comes to rewards and in-app purchases. They have made it easy for gamers to not only pay with cash, but use cryptos too. Other gaming companies like Ubisoft are looking for more concrete ways to integrate blockchain into their games.
- Data Security
This plays a huge role in keeping company and country secrets or information safe and secure. Smart countries like the US are actively seeking ways to further secure its data with the aim of avoiding data breaches and compromise.
Homeland Security for instance, has created and deployed Factom, its own unique blockchain, designed to secure and encrypt all data transmitted from sensors and security cameras. With that data transmitted on to the blockchain, data breaches will be drastically minimized.
There’s often controversy surrounding precious stones like diamonds. This is why jewelry companies like De Beers Group have created their own blockchain to store data about diamonds and establish their record.
This way, diamonds entered into the system have their sources tracked and listed as well as have their information readily available. Tainted diamonds or those obtained unethically can be easily identified and removed from their inventory quickly to avoid any ethical or reputation blowback.
- Insurance Services
Buying insurance can often be a cumbersome process, owing to the volume of documents you need to fill and sign. This is why many people routinely get only the barest minimum policies when they could get more comprehensive but comparatively affordable insurance plans.
American International Group Inc (AIG) has made this process simple by partnering with IBM to create a blockchain that executes smart contracts, thus making insurance policy registrations easy and seamless. So far, this arrangement is with Standard Chartered Bank PLC and may soon be adopted by other banking firms.
- Oil and Gas
Forward thinking oil and gas trading firms like S&P Global Platts are already testing blockchain based data storage solutions in the bid to automate the process of managing oil storage data.
If this initiative succeeds, this will result in the elimination of the manual or semi-automated data entry process as well as drastically reduce the margin of errors that come with human data inputs.
Blockchain is poised to transform the way we live and how we interact. It’s the beginning of web3.0 and likely to usher in a new era of tech advancements and developments.
As you can see, smart organizations and entities are jumping on the train because it has incredible potential. Even in its infant stage, it has been proven to be an incredibly powerful disruptor of entire industries.
If you weren’t thinking of joining the blockchain train in the past, you should now. And if you already have, look for even more ways to integrate it into your business processes, life and work.
The volume of blockchain based projects is only going to go up. It will play a critical role in the next phase of human advancement and technological breakthroughs. So, get ready to partake and benefit from it.