Step 4. Choose the Most Promising Sphere
There is an opinion that blockchain can revolutionize every sphere of our life.
That’s impressive, but how? Below there is a big list of spheres that can benefit from this technology. Let’s take a look at it!
Digital currencies were the first-ever application of blockchain technology, arguably without realizing its true potential. The real benefits of blockchain were realized with its possible application in many different industries. Since then, several use cases of blockchain technology in different industries have been proposed including but not limited to finance, the Internet of Things, digital rights management, government, ecology, transport, and law.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, has recently gained much traction due to its potential for transforming business applications and everyday life. IoT can be defined as a network of computationally intelligent physical objects that are capable of connecting to the Internet, sensing real-world events or environments, reacting to those events, collecting relevant data, and communicating it over the Internet. This simple definition has huge implications and has led to exciting concepts, such as wearables, smart homes, smart grids, smart connected cars, and smart cities, that are all based on this basic concept of an IoT device. Blockchain is beginning to play a major role in the Internet of Things by enhancing security, enabling the inclusion of low-value devices to be increasingly viable, and making managing a device easier for decades to come.
For example, with blockchain, the location and temperature of an IoT-connected package can be updated and traced as it moves through multiple distribution points. It helps all parties to share information and the status of the package during its delivery to ensure the terms of a contract are met.
There are three major advantages:
Build trust—among all parties involved in a transaction. Person A may be unaware of device B. But the records of transactions and data stored on the blockchain build trust between parties.
Reduce costs—participants can reduce monetary and time commitment costs because this removes the middleman from the process. Transactions are now done on a peer-to-peer basis, removing most legal or contractual costs.
Accelerate transactions—increases the number of transactions by removing the middleman from the process. Smart contracts reduce the time needed to complete legal or contractual commitments.
Don’t forget about transport issues. This new technology will allow car owners to pay on the go for electric charging, parking fees, highway tolls, and car-sharing fees. Another possible future use would be the ability to integrate with intelligent power supply systems. This can help to control the charging process of the vehicle based on the amount of renewable energy present in the vehicle’s system at any given time. Guess what? We are making an impact in this sphere! Interested? Read further!
There are various applications of blockchain that are currently being researched that can support government functions and take the current model of e-government to the next level. There are some already known functions, like e-voting, homeland security (border control), and electronic IDs (citizen ID cards). Let’s just see how some countries use blockchain in this sphere.
For example, Estonia is considered to be a leading nation in the adoption of blockchain technology. Estonian citizens and e-residents can access various public services with a cryptographically secure digital ID card that is powered by blockchain infrastructure on the backend. Citizens can verify the records that government databases have on them and control who has access to them thanks to the blockchain platform. Not so long ago, Nasdaq completed a trial in Estonia, and as a result, company shareholders can use a blockchain voting system.
Estonia is also adopting blockchain technology in the health sphere. There are 1 million health records that need to be secured. With blockchain, every update and access to healthcare records are registered. It prevents medical fraud and makes it impossible for hackers to hide their trail. Thanks to the real-time alerts to attacks that blockchain provides, the government can respond to incidents immediately before large-scale damages occur.
The health industry has been identified as another major industry that can benefit from adopting blockchain technology. In healthcare, major issues such as privacy compromises, data breaches, high costs, and fraud can arise from a lack of interoperability, overly complex processes, transparency, auditability, and control. Another burning issue is poverty, especially in developing countries, which is a major cause for concern.
With the adaptability of blockchain in the health sector, several benefits can be realized, ranging from cost savings, increased trust, faster processing of claims, high availability, no operational errors due to complexity in the operational procedures, and preventing the distribution of counterfeit medications.
For example, drug traceability When a drug is produced, a hash is generated that contains all the relevant information about the product. Each time the drug moves from one entity to another (for example, a chain can be formed: manufacturer—distributor—pharmacist-patient), the information is stored on the blockchain, making it easy to track the drug.
Blockchain has many applications in the finance industry. Major banks and financial organisations are researching ways to adapt blockchain technology, especially due to its highly desired potential to save costs.
However, developers have already come up with solutions to protect the owners of private keys and blockchain assets. For instance, all parties within a blockchain could agree that a majority of the parties should sign before a transaction is agreed upon. This will prevent hackers from changing ownership by simply stealing a single key. Such multi-signature transactions can be programmed directly into the asset trading applications running on the blockchain.
In the insurance industry, blockchain technology can help to stop fraudulent claims, increase the speed of claim processing, and enable transparency. Imagine a shared ledger between all insurers that can provide a quick and efficient mechanism for handling inter-company claims. Also, with the convergence of IoT and blockchain, an ecosystem of smart devices can be imagined where all these things can negotiate and manage their insurance policies controlled by smart contracts on the blockchain.
Key issues in the media industry revolve around content distribution, rights management, and royalty payments to artists. For example, digital music can be copied many times without any restriction, and any attempts to apply copy protection have been hacked in some way or another. There is no control over the distribution of the content that a musician or songwriter produces; it can be copied as many times as needed without any restriction and consequently has an impact on the royalty payments. Also, payments are not always guaranteed and are based on traditional airtime figures.
All these issues revolving around copy protection and royalty payments can be resolved by connecting consumers, artists, and all players in the industry, allowing transparency and control over the process. Blockchain can provide a network where digital music is cryptographically guaranteed to be owned only by the consumers who pay for it. This payment mechanism is controlled by a smart contract instead of a centralised media agency or authority. The payments will be made automatically based on the smart contract logic and the number of transactions.
Imagine a world where all of these things can negotiate and manage their insurance policies via smart contracts on the blockchain.
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