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Blockchain is getting bigger bit-by-bit and so is the demand for this technology. Best known for supporting Bitcoin, blockchain technology is being accepted by many massive tech giants like IBM and Microsoft. Reportedly, IBM was one of the first companies to see this technology as a potential and a revolutionary step towards creating digital ledger. The company not just set an example for many new start-ups, but also encouraged them to try the new technology on its cloud for free. Not just IBM, but blockchain technology has made it transparent, decentralized, secure and efficient for many businesses and financial institutions. Here are some of the industries that have already been using this technology.
Banking: It is believed that blockchain technology can provide access to banking and financial services to billions of people around the globe, including those in third world countries who cannot even access traditional bankings. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin allow people to send money across the borders instantaneously with a comparatively low fee. Many banks like Barclays, RAKBANK, Currencies Direct, Credit Agricole have joined the enterprise blockchain network, RippleNet. This blockchain platform facilitates their retail market, wholesale payments and even corporate market and makes the operations more efficient, faster and secure.
Internet of Things: Blockchain technology is being brought into play by big players like Samsung and IBM that are working towards a new concept ADEPT, which is expected to create a decentralized network of Iot devices. This public ledger will be operable for a large number of devices, thus eliminating the need for a central location to handle interactions between them. Companies like Powerledger & ElectrifyAsia are also utilizing blockchain to create more transparency and security in the energy transfer. Electrify is already working towards developing a decentralized energy market place that runs on blockchain.
Supply Chain Management: With this technology, all the transactions can be saved in a permanent decentralized record and can also be monitored in a secure manner, thus making it transparent. This not only reduces human error, but also reduces time delays. The best part is that it also facilitates in scrutinizing costs, labour and even wastage at every point of the supply chain. Additionally, the distributed ledger can help verify the authenticity of the products by tracking them from their originating point.
Forecasting: Research, analysis, forecasting and consulting, Blockchain technology is set to change the entire approach. Companies like Augur are already looking forward to create global decentralized prediction markets. This technology will be able to facilitate in monitoring bets on anything in a decentralized manner, ranging from stocks, to sports and even elections.
Insurance: Global insurance market works on trust and blockchain is the best bet for this market to flourish. It can be used to verify many types of data in insurance contracts. It can also integrate real world data with Smart Contracts. Aeternity is a popular blockchain project that is building tools for the insurance industry.
Cloud Storage: If a data is available on a centralized server, it becomes vulnerable to human errors, data loss or even hacking. Blockchain technology allows cloud storage to be more secure and robust and companies like Storj are already using cloud storage network using this technology. Dadi cloud is another popular decentralized web service provider that promises cloud computing services powered by blockchain technology.
Elections & Voting: Elections and voting is one of the most important aspects that would be disrupted by blockchain technology. It not only facilitates in voter registration and identity verification, but is also used for electronic vote counting that ensures legitimate votes only. Many start-ups like Follow My Vote and Democracy Earth are already focusing on blockchain based online voting systems.
Government Systems: Government systems are known to be slow and very opaque. But if they are replaced with blockchain based systems, it would help reducing bureaucracy and increase the transparency of government operations. Countries like Dubai are already planning to put all its government documents on the blockchain in the coming years.
Healthcare: Healthcare industry relies mainly on legacy systems and lack of a secure platform is one of the main challenges that hospitals come across. The outdated infrastructure in hospitals often leads to hacking. But blockchain technology allows hospitals to secure the data and share it with authorized professionals, thus improving data security. Companies like Tierion and Gem are already working towards disrupting the healthcare data space. Brands like Walimai is producing anti counterfeit RFID labels for infant and baby food, which can directly communicate through consumer’s smartphones and and also brings in blockchain based loyalty programme for customers.
Retail: Blockchain based decentralized retail utilities are the next big thing that will connect sellers and buyers without any third party. Smart Contract systems and reputation management systems will help build trust in the retail space and one such example is OpenBazaar.
According to the resources, the blockchain based products and services are expected to cross $8 billion by 2022 and will create many new opportunities in the technology world.
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