Blockchain has made quite the name for itself in the finance industry recently, where it reduces 30% of bank infrastructure costs and can save financial companies up to $12 billion a year. However, blockchain technology has the potential to infiltrate much more than just our financial institutions. Across various industries, blockchain’s decentralized network solutions provide more stringent security for healthcare systems, supply chains, and even our personal data.
Are you ready for the blockchain revolution? Let’s learn more about how blockchain can secure our future more than just financially.
Of course, we’d be remiss to omit cryptocurrency from this list. It also presents the perfect opportunity to describe how blockchain functions in a secure financial context and to explain the basics of cryptocurrency for beginners.
Without blockchain, there would be no Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is an alternative medium of exchange, like paper currency, except it is entirely online and makes use of encryption techniques to safely transfer funds, votes, and maintain a permanent ledger of all actions. Without the need for a middleman, cryptocurrency is completely decentralized and supply is not determined by a bank.
Upfront costs are reduced, accurate record tracking is put in place, and increased transparency allows peers to confirm transactions without the need for an intervening authority. Although the world of cryptocurrency is highly volatile, experienced users engage in all kinds of trading strategies, including compound trading in crypto, confident in the currency and their predictive abilities.
However, cryptocurrency is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blockchain. Blockchain’s collaborative technology provides business-to-business communication at a lower “cost of trust.”
According to one study, “55% of healthcare applications will have adopted blockchain for commercial deployment by 2025,” while another indicates that total healthcare spending on blockchain will amount to $5.61 billion by the same year.
That’s no surprise, given the advent of ingenious digital medical records systems backed by the power of blockchain technology. Instead of patient medical records being dispersed across different providers, patient records systems connected to blockchain allow all information to be instantly and securely available in a single location, convenient for doctors and patients alike.
Machine learning and deep learning technology can also be paired with blockchain applications for a more powerful and secure effect. For example, ZocDoc, an application designed to simplify the appointment scheduling process, uses machine learning to analyze patient insurance cards and find the best provider for each individual’s coverage plan and budget.
The Internet of Things
While machine learning systems are designed to make human-like decisions, the Internet of Things (IoT) is designed to act as an extension of our five human senses. Through sensors that monitor external conditions, IoT interacts with the world and uses its data to make informed decisions that save us time and money.
Although the benefits of IoT are undeniable, the industry is still caught up in security concerns, especially as the number of IoT devices increases rapidly. With the help of blockchain, IoT users have the flexibility to remove passwords from a centralized server, detect and address possible security breaches, and take advantage of additional security measures.
The global supply chain has long been plagued by poor communication, logistical errors, and a lack of company transparency. Fortunately, blockchain has the power to rebuild trust and data transparency within the supply chain, streamlining the process in a single, cost-effective solution.
Shipping companies like DHL and Maersk have already begun making use of blockchain in global trade to more accurately track goods across borders and maintain secure digital records, and others are likely to follow in their footsteps.
Personal Identity & Data Privacy
Each year, millions of Americans report cases of identity fraud and theft, and it’s even estimated that an identity is stolen every few seconds. Personal data can be scraped from documents like birth certificates, Social Security cards, and more, but when this information is kept on a secure, decentralized blockchain ledger, you can feel much safer when it comes to your identity security.
Although it’s currently up to the individual to manage their data security and potential breaches, that could change soon. As of yet, no standardized international data security measures exist, but there are some examples of large-scale regulation related to credit cards and data protection that could serve as trailblazers.
Blockchain contracts and identity management systems can also aid in the process. Widespread initiatives like the state-funded Illinois Blockchain Initiative allow for the safe storage of secure vital records data, voter registration cards, and more.
Blockchain: A Technology of the Future
In fields as different as agriculture and finance, blockchain is beginning to make its inroads, and by 2022, worldwide blockchain spending will reach $11.7 billion. Besides the massive financial investments flooding the industry, blockchain is bolstered by its versatility, which provides for secure transactions in fields as diverse as voting, cryptocurrency, and supply chains. Blockchain could even be one of the key components in transitioning to an entirely digital world.