10 Ways the Blockchain Can Make Your Life Better
10 Ways the Blockchain Can Make Your Life Better
In the most basic of terms, the blockchain is a ledger of records collected into a network using cryptography and distributed over many decentralized locations. It is a secure way to record, verify, and transfer assets in real-time and without using banks, brokers, or other third parties. Here is what makes it special: data recorded on the blockchain is permanent, verifiable by all, and unalterable. This means data secured using blockchain tech remains for perpetuity and it can be viewed by everyone (for public blockchains). However, nobody can alter the data without a consensus from a majority of the network’s participants.
The features described above makes the blockchain ideal for use as a transaction ledger for decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Ripple. In truth, though, cryptocurrencies are just one sector that blockchain technology applies to. It has the potential to do infinitely more, and over the past few years, the technology has been making inroads into multiple global sectors. New blockchain-based products are being launched and old/traditional systems are being revamped and remodeled using this revolutionary technology.
Here are 10 ways the blockchain can (and will) make your life better in the nearest future:
How Blockchain Technology is Improving Healthcare
There are few mechanisms better than the blockchain at pinpointing where specific data is at a specific time and how said data is changing over time. Similarly, there are few sectors in the world where data management is more life-critical than in healthcare.
Medical error is behind only by cancer and heart disease as the leading cause of death in the US) and every day, patients’ records are misplaced because the system in place is not effective. Using the blockchain, electronic medical records can be kept and updated regularly, and no matter where a patient is in the world, healthcare practitioners can access the patient’s data and see their medical history. Not only will this reduce erroneous diagnosis and treatment, patients will be in full control of their data; deciding who gains access to it and curbing data theft. This use case is particularly noteworthy because it can be implemented in the years to come, and people’s lives will be better for it.
How Blockchain Technology is Advancing the Financial Sector
The financial sector is adopting blockchain technology faster than any other sector in the world and why not? It promises faster settlement times than the system in place, it offers better data security & management, and smart contracts may be used to automate contracts, removing the need for high-priced intermediaries.
Imagine a financial system in which international transfers can be resolved within seconds—without all the bureaucratic red tape that bogs down the process. A system in which insurance claims are settled automatically as soon as all the pre-set conditions have been met, a system where payrolls are settled exactly when due. The blockchain has the potential to usher in this system and it is not a surprise that many major banks are working on incorporating blockchain technology into their infrastructures and operations.
How Blockchain Technology is Making the Transportation Sector Better
Another understated feature of the blockchain is: it can be used to track items, record their movement, and send the data to all participants in the network. This makes it a very effective tool for transportation and logistics. Using blockchain technology, every step of the supply chain can be monitored digitally; from the manufacturer to the consumer. Smart contracts may even be used to automate payments and cut out the inefficiencies usually associated with the supply chain.
There are also some safety benefits to tracking food items using blockchain technology. To this end, a number of prominent retail companies including Unilever, Nestle, and Tyson Foods are working with IBM to create a blockchain-based ecosystem to track food supply chains and reduce food contamination.
How Blockchain Technology is Revolutionizing the Energy Sector
The blockchain has the potential to make energy a tradable asset, and quite a number of startups are in the process of giving traditional energy consumers the platform to become distributors. Here is how it works: a peer-to-peer energy trading network is established, renewable energy sources (e.g. solar panels) are added to the grid, and users that generate excess energy can sell it to those who need it. Of course, the grids will be location-specific and only people in the same neighborhoods will be able to trade energy amongst themselves.
Not only does this break the stranglehold of the large corporations that seek to monopolize the trillion-dollar energy industry, it also creates a secondary source of income for many and it is beneficial to the environment—cutting out energy wastage and making the earth greener.
How Blockchain Technology is Empowering the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a network of devices embedded with sensors that allow them to interact, making it possible to integrate computer-based systems into the physical world and improving human efficiency. After AI and Machine Learning, the IoT is probably the next big thing from the technology sector. The blockchain is a dream come true for the Internet of Things and because of its technology, development that IoT facilitators thought would take decades may be within reach imminently.
According to a release by IBM, blockchain technology will help the IoT industry build trust between network participants & devices, reduce costs, and speed up transactions in the network. The IoT holds the potential to improve all facets of human living—agriculture, healthcare, transportation, security, mass production, etc.—and the blockchain will make it possible for IoT devices to exchange data in real-time and settle payments seamlessly (and with negligible charges). All these will be done through smart contracts and without third-party involvement; just device-device interaction.
How Blockchain Technology is Transforming Fundraising
Charity and business crowdfunding is another sector that blockchain technology is currently transforming. In 2015 alone, an estimated $34 billion was raised via crowdfunding; in comparison, the VC industry raises a yearly average of $30 billion (Forbes). With blockchain technology, donors will be able to track their donations and they can see in real time that their money is being used exactly as promised.
This also provides a unique opportunity to new businesses and charities; they can now guarantee donors that since the entire fundraising process is automated and enforced using smart contracts, there is no way their donations will be mishandled.
How Blockchain Technology is Improving Agriculture
Food safety—mentioned earlier—pertains to agriculture, and given the short shelf-life of many agro-products, it is important that an efficient system is used to track food items and ensure they get to their destination quickly and in perfect condition. In addition to this, however, blockchain technology can help improve the agricultural sectors in other ways.
In large-scale farming, the blockchain can be used to track the status of crops; ensuring that farmers never lose parts of their harvest. At the same time, it can be used to create records that show adherence to regulations. Blockchain technology is also a strong basis for the Internet of Things (as shown above), and when both technologies combine, farmers will be able to use sensors to monitor and track the growth and health status of their livestock.
How Blockchain Technology is Impacting Education
The education sector is not exempt from the blockchain’s disruption, and sometime last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that students may choose to receive a digital copy of their diplomas in addition to the usual paper certificates. This initiative was made possible due to a blockchain-based wallet that ensures that the certificate is tamper-proof and can be readily shared with friends, family, and prospective employers (MIT News).
Also in 2017, Sony Corporation and Sony Global Education (SGE) announced the development of a blockchain platform that collates and manages students’ records from multiple institutions, making it easier for school administrators, recruiters, and interested parties to verify that transcripts and credentials that were submitted to them are accurate (SONY).
How Blockchain Technology is Improving Government Organizations
Government organizations are notoriously porous and records are mishandled all the time. Additionally, most of the systems currently in place are archaic and very inefficient. A data tracking & management platform like the blockchain will definitely find applications across multiple sectors in government. From voter registration to safeguarding social security records to beefing up data security, automating payroll and so on.
Along these lines, the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, is working with IBM to develop a blockchain-based platform for the secure sharing of patients’ health records. The Department of Homeland Security is also looking into how it can use blockchain technology to protect the data collected by the US Border Patrol’s sensors and cameras.
How Blockchain Technology is Enhancing Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence has grown significantly over the past few years. However, some issues e.g., the black-box problem, persist. Given how alike both technologies are—at least efficiency-wise, it is not surprising that blockchain technology may hold the keys to unlocking prominent AI dilemmas.
Because they process millions of variables simultaneously, humans have constantly struggled to understand some decisions made by AI algorithms. Blockchain technology makes it possible to track the data, making it more trustworthy, and allowing programmers to replicate the machine’s decision-making process. Additionally, by leveraging the blockchain’s highly-secured data sharing features, algorithms can be given more training data; improving old models and making newer & more evolved models possible.
In conclusion, it is highly unlikely that all the advantages that blockchain technology offers will be applicable to you. However, at least one of the improvements outlined above will benefit you—and millions of other people—one way or another. While blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are not the same, it is important to know this; the more functional the blockchain becomes, the better for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other blockchain-based infrastructures. To learn more about cryptocurrencies and invest in this fast-growing sector, visit CredoEx, a cryptocurrency exchange that focuses on blockchain-based projects with real world applications.