Blockchain is a revolutionary new technology which is changing the digital face of finance and other industries.
What is Blockchain?
A distributed digital ledger, Blockchain provides a decentralised database to keep track of all digital transactions. Created alongside Bitcoin, it was designed to limit the risks associated with a purely digital currency. With Bitcoin, the developers foresaw a problem with people creating more copies of the Bitcoin and with no regulation or verification system in place it would result in what computer scientists call the Double-Spending Problem.
“The Double-Spending Problem where a person could concurrently send a single unit to two different sources. It occurs when a person can easily misrepresent information about currency unit to the receiving sources and thus spend it twice or more without risk of repercussions.” There are several advantages to Blockchain for any industry that implements the system, including;
- Reduced intermediaries: Users can conduct transactions directly with each other and with no centralised administrator there is greater security.
- Greater transparency: Removing the middleman ensures no one person has control over the digital wallet.
- Reduces Fraud: The entire network is required to approve an exchange before settling a transaction.
- Open source system: Anyone can edit the digital ledge which means greater transparency for each transaction.
- Instant transactions: By using a digital currency, transactions are created and completed instantly.
So why is it so Revolutionary?
What is so clever about Blockchain is its ability to keep track of any transaction of value, preventing double-spending without the need for a third party (like a bank). Data of any type can be recorded in a chain, including:
- Finance: Created for the Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies provide users around the world secure, instance access to money.
- Property: For all forms of ownership, smart property can verify, track and program both physical and non-physical property for trading.
- Contracts: The System can also verify smart contracts, creating programmable and self-enforcing legal contracts.
- Identity: Reduce fraud with blockchain technology, with instant identity verification management and authorisation.
Practical Blockchain Applications
The Financial Industry
Originally created for Bitcoin, Blockchain technologies are transforming the entire financial services industry. Dramatically optimising business process, Blockchain technology shares data in an efficient, secure and transparent system. Any financial business who uses the technology, stands to gain substantial benefits. Inefficient business models no longer meet customers’ expectations and any financial services company that harnesses Blockchain gains a major competitive advantage. Blockchain technology is expanding into the following financial services, including:
- Smart Contracts using Smart Securities
- Post Trade Processing and Settlement
- Loan Servicing and Origination
- Foreign Exchange Markets
- Record-Keeping Processes
- Auditing Compliances
- Voting for Corporate Shareholders
- Risk Reduction for Counterparties
- Cross-Border Payments
Financial services can also link into smart contracts creating a process which is not as slow, expensive or as many intermediaries’ as previous methods. Smart Contracts are translated computer programs, requiring no human maintenance. By using a smart contract, the financial products are self-executing and self-maintaining.
The Real estate Industry
Blockchain technology can play a significate role for any business in the real estate industry. For those businesses, whose clients are concerned about security or faster transactions, Blockchain is the revolutionary new technology setting your company above competitors. Clients quickly see the benefits including,
- Greater Transparency: Quickly reduce any cases of fraud with Blockchain offering a 100% incorruptible system. Foraged ownership documents are impossible to create with this system, and it improves property ownership record tracking. Real estate businesses can quickly verify any records and provide clients greater peace of mind throughout the entire transaction process.
- Increased transaction speed: Around the world, people are using this technology to speed up the process of selling a property. Real estate businesses traditionally require their employees to access paper files and verified them through official third parties. This forms an expensive and time-consuming process, requiring an extensive labour force. Blockchain creates unprecedented efficiencies, with the data-retrieval not relying on physical files.
- Safer Investments: The main reason companies are choosing Blockchain technology across industries is the advanced security and privacy the digital system provides. By using this system, your real estate business can provide clients with secure property transactions.
The Freight Industry
An industry that was crying out for a technological advance was cargo freight. By applying Blockchain to freight, businesses can remain competitive and even surpass market leaders. Data is heralded as the new currency of the fourth industrial revolution, and with a new transaction method, your business can grow in leaps and bounds. By storing each transaction in Blockchain technology, clients can access a range of benefits, including,
- Better tracking of orders and assets: Using Blockchain, clients can easily track the process of their shipments, reducing the fog clouding the transactions between different transporters within the freight industry.
- Increased speed: The freight industry is infamous for requiring paperwork in triplicate, causing time delays and often interrupts the authorisation. A supply chain Blockchain application can track the balance and transfers of inventory or the financial aspect of transportation. Instead of taking days or weeks, securities can be settled in minutes.
- Easier Authentication and reduction of fraud: As Blockchain technology is open source, it requires transactions by businesses to be validated before posting on the network. By using a decentralised network, it is impossible to defraud another member of the supply chain. This creates a more competitive market and enables new participants by reducing the costs associated with processing and delivering.
- Increased efficiency: The system can also monitor the flow of goods, payments and reduce the complications in distributing production logs. Using this technology businesses can also quickly determine trends and increase their ability to respond to changes. By using a decentralised system, it is also removed from politics, making it an essential tool for companies entering new markets.
The Health Industry
One the leading concerns for businesses in the health industry is maintaining patient security while enabling patients and relevant industry bodies access to records. By implementing Blockchain technology, healthcare industry businesses can dramatically reduce these shortcomings. The system offers a range of benefits for practitioners and patients alike, including,
- Data integrity and Security: Blockchain improves the management of patient data creating improved security with reduced costs. It enables high quality clinical trial data reducing the need for regulatory bodies and potential bias.
- New Standards: By implementing new technology, health care companies can establish new standards and practices. New procedures would create an optimal environment for patient data security and inclusiveness while reducing costs and confusion from the older method.
- Disruption: The need for a secure option of data storage within the health industry cannot be underestimated. Medical data is worth more on the black market than credit card details, and when companies lose client data, millions of patients are affected. Blockchain’s introduction has created the capacity for radical transformation, with options for secure data storage it opens the market for more ‘smart’ applications.
Perhaps one of the biggest ways Blockchain can be used is in industries that require strict proof of identity. From banking, security, identification documentation and even shopping, Blockchain technology offers a range of options across multiple industries. Due to the increase of hacked databases and breached accounts, identity-based security innovations are even more important for a technologically advanced society.
It offers a digital identity solution where an identity is securely authenticated in an irrefutable and immutable method. The system can be applied to the following identity applications:
- Digital Identities
- Births and Marriage certificates
- Online account logins
- Certificates of identity for local and national governments
Already changing the security industry, Blockchain provides data authentication on a massive scale. By removing the reliance on centralised trust authorities, it migrates data manipulation by internal or external threats.