Blockchain promises to disrupt many industries and not just the obvious ones like banking and financial services. Here we look at ten industries that should prepare themselves for some disruption caused by blockchain technology.
You’ve probably heard that blockchain technology is going to revolutionize… fill in the blank. But what actually is it and how is it going to disrupt these industries?
In simplest terms, blockchain refers to a decentralized database. If you think of a traditional database like a spreadsheet, running on a single computer, blockchain distributes that so the spreadsheet runs on millions and millions of computers. It also uses state of the art cryptography, so that once information goes in, it is virtually impossible to get it out again without the original passcode or key.
The real disruption here is that trust is established through collaboration and code, rather than a central authority. So you no longer need a bank to make a money transfer around the world. You no longer need an escrow account to buy a home, or a real estate agent to facilitate the transaction. You no longer need a company or central authority to facilitate a transaction of any kind. That is revolutionary and has the potential to revolutionize nearly every industry. But here are some of the most likely:
When the average person hears the word “blockchain,” they probably think “Bitcoin,” and so it’s no surprise that banking tops our list. Blockchain would be a more secure way to store banking records, and a faster, cheaper way of transferring money through the decentralization provided by blockchain. Plus, there’s minimal risk of a run on a blockchain system or a collapse, as there’s no central “vault.” It’s as though each person’s money has its own private vault that no one else can access.
Some of the biggest challenges in healthcare could be solved by a blockchain system allowing all doctors and healthcare providers to access your health records securely and easily. Unlike the days of paper records, or even today when digital health records can be created and stored in a myriad of different systems, your health records could be singular, complete, and travel with you from birth to death, regardless of how many times you change doctors or insurance systems. Additionally, your health information could be accessed immediately, at any time, potentially offering doctors lifesaving information in an emergency.
Rigged votes and “voting irregularities” could be a thing of the past, as could the threat of rival governments or terrorist organizations hacking the vote. Voting systems secured with blockchain technology would be completely unhackable. From voter registrations to verifying identity to tallying votes, the system would be indisputable. Gone would be the days of recounts and “hanging chads.”
- Real Estate
If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you know how much paperwork is involved. But blockchain systems could be used to simplify the process and eliminate escrow altogether. Smart contracts could be designed that only execute when certain conditions are met, including funding. Besides, all these various documents could be stored securely. A startup called Deedcoin is offering cryptocurrency powered transactions that decrease the commission rate for the agent to as little as 1 percent.