Cryptocurrency is just the start. Blockchain could make elections unhackable and provide flawless cybersecurity.
For a few years now, “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” have gone hand-in-hand. The blockchain concept is complicated, and involves constant-growth record lists linked together and secured through cryptography (think of the Cryptex from The Da Vinci Code). Each block of the chain envelops a hash pointer relating to the previous block, as well as transaction data and a timestamp.
The idea of a blockchain isn’t relegated to the infant-era cryptocurrency revolution. Massive worldwide corporations are beginning to incorporate blockchain technology into their systems. The technology behind the blockchain is far more valuable on a global scale than any market capitalization of cryptocurrencies. Here are five large sectors currently being disrupted by the potential of this technology:
Although one of the main draws to the blockchain is the transparency of its public ledger, the data communication piece is verified via advanced cryptographic systems. This ensures the data arrived through the proper channels, without interception by a third party in the transmission process.
This idea brings about the strong possibility that blockchain can provide severe reductions in cybersecurity risks. The removal of human interaction in the data communication process will severely lessen the threat of data corruption, human error, and hacking.
Additional cybersecurity applications of the blockchain include large-scale authentication of data. A startup called Guardtime is currently experimenting with a blockchain-centric keyless signature infrastructure. This KSI works by tagging and verifying data transactions, providing crypto-level assurance of data authenticity and integrity.
2. Elections and voting
Voting manipulation has become an active pain point in the election process at many levels. Elections require not only the authentication of the voters’ identities, but also secured record-keeping, vote tracking, and win tallying.
Looking to the future, blockchain technology could enable tools to serve as an infrastructure from start to finish. This could potentially eliminate the need for recounts, as it removes the human element involved in vote manipulation and voter fraud.
Through the capture of votes as blockchain “transactions,” government entities would have a public and verifiable trail of votes, ensuring none are changed or removed, and no illegitimate votes are added. A blockchain-based election focused startup called Follow My Vote is in the process of developing a beta version of their complete blockchain-centric voting solution.
3. Transaction-based real estate
The purchase and sale of property come with many pain points, including massive stacks of paperwork, an overall lack of transparency, public record errors, and the possibility of fraud throughout the process. Blockchain instead offers a method to reduce the need for paper recordkeeping, while simultaneously speeding up transaction times, helping those involved in the process reduce transaction costs and improve overall efficiency.
Technology and finance startup Ubitquity has begun offering a SaaS platform centered around blockchain technology, geared toward mortgage, title, and financial companies. The service provider is working with various recordkeeping entities in foreign countries to gather property information and documents for their blockchain.