My fellow millennials and I have had a front-row seat to watch how technology has changed during our lifetime. We were the first internet users that started out with funky sounding dial-up internet and watched it evolve into modern-day high-speed internet.
We saw our siblings hogging the landline at home that evolved into sophisticated smartphones. But these are just the basics when compared to groundbreaking developments like Blockchain.
15 Areas Blockchain Can Completely Transform
Blockchain started out as the foundation that made cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin possible. However, it soon grew far beyond its original role. Blockchain is essentially a digital ledger that can record and verify an extremely large volume of transactions. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Here are 15 industries that the Blockchain trend is taking over:
- Hedge Funds
- Text Messaging
- Internet Identity
- Ride Sharing
- Infrastructure Security
- Crypto Exchanges
- Digital Advertising
- Car Sales and Leases
- Academics and Education
- Cloud Computing
- Stock Trading
- Cloud Storage
- Entertainment Rights and Intellectual Property
Let’s take a closer look at what makes blockchain such a point of interest in these industries.
The banking and financial industry is one of the main areas that stand to benefit from Blockchain. In most countries, banks serve as a repository and conduit for money. Blockchain offers a tamper-proof ledger for the same money that is digitized and secure. Think of it as a digital bank. Blockchain can help enhance the accuracy and security of information-sharing in the financial industry.
Hedge funds are another aspect of the financial industry that can make great use of blockchain technology. Companies like Numerai have taken the hedge fund model consisting of quants and traders, and have created thousands of disparate datasets. Essentially the company has decentralized the hedge fund model, encouraging quants to build predictive models from the encrypted datasets it sends to them. These quants then get their reward in the company’s token cryptocurrency.
If we move outside the financial industry for a moment, blockchain has a lot to offer to the world of digital messaging apps. Several companies are working on using blockchain-based platforms to expand to in-app currency, cryptocurrency trading, payments, and censorship-free browsing. Kik, Telegram, and Line are just 3 messaging applications working on blockchain-based models.
Establishing your user identity on the internet is not fluid. Information on your internet identity often lives in disparate systems that may or may not communicate with each other. Of course, carrying using a social media login can help make this easier, but tech companies are working on better security & solutions. For instance, using blockchain for data portability and decentralized networks.
A strong, robust, secure, and tamper-free voting system forms the bedrock of any modern democracy. Blockchain offers all three, allowing fair casting, tracking, and tallying of votes in an election. One of the main benefits of using blockchain is that it is tamper-proof and authentic, meaning it could eliminate the need for recounts.
Most modern ride-sharing options are made up of a central hub using algorithms to distribute rides to their fleets. Altogether, the current system is too centralized and inflexible, which is something blockchain can change. It can allow companies like Uber to create distributed ledgers. Meaning drivers can set their own rates, create recurring customers, and offer additional services like roadside assistance or deliveries. The company meanwhile, stands to benefit with a greater percentage off the top.
Critical infrastructure like dams, nuclear power plants, coal furnaces, heavy industries, etc forms the lifeblood of the economy. They are what keep the lights and the machines running. Unfortunately, they have also demonstrated several times in the past that they are vulnerable to hacking. Blockchain adds increased cyber protection to critical infrastructures, something that a legacy system cannot accomplish easily. That means the risk of hacks and cyberattacks can go down considerably.
One of the main reasons blockchain is so secure is that it eliminates human intermediaries. That means there are reduced risks of human error, corruption, or data breaches. Several tech companies are working on utilizing this trait by creating entire exchanges for cryptocurrencies on Blockchain. These companies aim to create platforms that operate without the need for a third-party clearinghouse.
Modern digital advertising is an industry within its own right. You can see digital advertising everywhere from search engines like Google to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The problem is, all these ads consume more data, and make websites load slower. One of the ways blockchain companies like Brave are handling this problem is by introducing a different advertising ecosystem.
Brave operates a blockchain-based browser, encouraging advertisers to directly list with brave instead of intermediaries like Facebook or Google. Advertisers get to show their ads, and webmasters get compensation as well, using BAT or basic attention tokens.
Car Sales and Leases
Coming back to the financial industry for a moment, one area that has particular potential for blockchain is car sales and financing. The current process is extremely fragmented. Selling, buying, or leasing a vehicle can be quite an ordeal as things currently stand. Companies like Visa have been looking into using blockchain to streamline the process as far back as 2015. The idea is to let customers choose a car, and enter the transaction on a blockchain ledger. Once the car is in-hand, the customer can sign off on the lease and insurance agreements, which the ledger automatically updates. Essentially, you just click, sign, and drive.
Academics and Education
Verifying academic credentials, from primary schooling to university, is still heavily dependent on manual, on-paper checking and documentation. The process can be time-consuming, and fairly difficult if you’re not in your country of origin. Blockchain technology can help make academic verification universal, and virtually instantaneous. Using blockchain environments, schools and universities can add your student records to the ledger, which you can access from practically anywhere.
Blockchain offers unique opportunities to crowdsource cloud computing. For example, a blockchain-based project named Golem offers users the option to get tokens in return for renting out their CPU processing capacity. Other projects like Ethereum focus on allowing everyday PC users to mine in competition with large-scale operations. Even CRM tools like Salesforce have announced their interest in using blockchain to share data and execute smart contracts.
Over the past 20 years, or so, regulators and financial bodies have been making constant efforts to streamline trading, selling, and buying stocks on an exchange. Modern blockchain technology can offer a better solution than any other form of technology. Using blockchain, exchanges can automate the buying, selling, or trading process, as well as make it more secure. Banks like ABN AMRO have already worked on blockchain apps that can store a user’s funds in a blockchain ledger for stock trading.
Modern cloud storage works by storing users’ data in a centralized server. This means that all this data lives on one system. If hacked, the data breach could be catastrophic. Enter blockchain, making data storage more decentralized and reducing the vulnerability it has to cyberattacks. Many companies are crowdsourcing cloud hosting to individuals, rewarding them in cryptocurrency for offering up their storage capacity in Blockchain.
Entertainment Rights and Intellectual Property
The entertainment and music industry loses millions in revenue to digital piracy and inadequate distribution mediums. This means they have to face a violation of their intellectual property rights without receiving due compensation. Blockchain tools like Muzika aim to help entertainment entrepreneurs monetize their content. Such tools allow for a fairer distribution of content, as well as a way to reward content creators for their hard work.
Blockchain has earned the nickname “Internet 2.0”. Just imagine the impact commercial internet services have had on our lives. I can order out, shop, call for assistance, get entertainment on demand, and make payments using the internet only. Imagine the kind of impact a reimagination of the internet can have on the modern digital landscape. The potential is too great for blockchain to be ultimately anything less than the dominant technology on our planet.