Blockchain: Applications in Your Life
The blockchain is the technology that powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as well as platforms like Ethereum. It provides a method for recording and transferring data that is transparent, secure, and auditable. This technology has the potential to make organizations that employ it more transparent, democratic, decentralized, efficient, and safe. Many industries are anticipated to be disrupted in the next 5 to 10 years. As a DevOps engineer, I need to stay on top of the trends and how those could affect our lives. In this article, I hope to illustrate some of the applications of blockchain and how it is currently being used today. These are some of the industries it is already affecting.
Payments and Banking
Some believe that blockchain will do for banking what the internet did for media. It has the potential to provide financial services to billions of individuals worldwide, especially those in third-world nations who do not have access to traditional banks. Bitcoin enables anyone to move money across borders almost immediately and at a cheap cost. Abra is a startup developing a bitcoin-based remittance service.
Many banks are also seeking to implement blockchain technology to improve the speed, efficiency, and security of their business operations. Banks are also becoming more interested in blockchain firms and initiatives.
Management of the Supply Chain
Transactions can be documented in a decentralized manner and monitored safely and transparently using blockchain technology. This has the potential to dramatically reduce unnecessary delays and human errors. It can also be used to track costs, labor, waste, and emissions at every stage of the supply chain. This has major consequences for identifying and controlling a product’s true environmental impact. By monitoring things from their origin, the distributed ledger can also be used to verify their legitimacy or fair trade status.
Ride Sharing and Private Transportation
The blockchain can be used to develop decentralized versions of peer-to-peer ridesharing apps, allowing car owners and users to negotiate terms and conditions in a secure manner without the involvement of third-party suppliers.
Car owners will get the facility to automatically pay for parking, tolls or fuel for their vehicle through the integrated e-wallet. Some of the companies exploring blockchain-based e-wallets are UBS, and Innogy.
One of the major applications of blockchain I see is Voting. Voting is likely to be one of the most crucial sectors of society that the blockchain will affect. Blockchain technology can be used to verify that only genuine votes are counted and that no votes are modified or withdrawn during voter registration and identity verification, electronic vote counting is surely going to be painful for people who are corrupt. Creating an immutable, publicly accessible ledger of recorded votes would be a huge step toward more fair and democratic elections. Some companies are currently developing blockchain-based online voting systems for governments.
In recent years, crowdfunding has grown in popularity as a means of obtaining funds for new businesses and initiatives. Crowdfunding sites serve to build confidence between project creators and backers, but they often collect exorbitant fees. Trust is generated instead through smart contracts and online reputation systems in blockchain-based crowdfunding, eliminating the need for a middleman. New initiatives can raise financing by issuing their own tokens, which represent value and can be exchanged for goods, services, or currency. Through token sales, many blockchain firms have now raised millions of dollars. Although it is still early days and the regulatory future of blockchain-based crowdfunding is uncertain, it is a promising sector.
The global insurance market is built on trust. The blockchain is a novel approach of maintaining trust that may be used to verify numerous types of data in insurance contracts, such as the identity of the insured individual. Oracles can be used to connect real-world data to blockchain smart contracts. This technology is extremely valuable for any sort of insurance that is based on real-world data, such as crop insurance. Aeternity is a blockchain initiative that is developing tools for the insurance sector.
Another application of blockchain technology I see taking off is the medical industry. Healthcare is another business that relies heavily on outdated technologies and is ripe for change. One of the issues hospitals confront is a lack of a safe platform for storing and sharing data, and they are frequently targets of hackers due to obsolete technology. Blockchain technology has the potential to enable hospitals to securely store data such as medical records and exchange them with authorized personnel or patients. This can improve data security and possibly help with diagnosis accuracy and quickness.
For a long time, energy management has been a highly centralized sector. Energy producers and customers cannot buy from one another directly; instead, they are required to either go through a trusted private intermediary or a public grid. TransactiveGrid is an Ethereum-based firm that allows users to buy and sell energy from one another on a peer-to-peer basis.
Music over the Internet
Several firms are developing methods enable musicians to be compensated directly by their fans without having to give up big percentages of sales to platforms or record labels. This application of blockchain technology can utilize smart contracts to settle licensing issues automatically and properly catalog songs with their respective creators.
When you go shopping, your trust in the retail system is inextricably linked to your trust in the store or marketplace. Decentralized blockchain-based retail utilities operate in a unique way: they link buyers and sellers without the use of a middleman and the accompanying fees. In these circumstances, trust is derived through smart contract systems, exchange security, and built-in reputation management systems. OpenBazaar is one startup that is reshaping the retail industry.
Another industry that suffers from sluggishness and complexity is the public benefits system. Blockchain technology can aid in the assessment, verification, and distribution of welfare or unemployment payments in a far more efficient and secure manner. GovCoin is a UK-based firm that uses blockchain technology to assist the government in the distribution of public benefits. The blockchain is also a viable option for creating a universal basic income.
The blockchain is revolutionizing research, consulting, analysis, and forecasting. Augur and other online platforms are attempting to establish global decentralized prediction markets. These tools are used to decentrally place and track bets on anything from sports to equities to elections.
Inefficiency and corruption, which prevent money from reaching those who are supposed to get it, are common concerns in the charity sector. Using blockchain technology to track donations helps ensure that your money ends up in the proper hands. Bitcoin-based charities, such as the BitGive Foundation, leverage blockchain’s secure and transparent distributed ledger to allow donors to see that donations have been received by the designated party.
You can see the many applications of blockchain and how society can leverage this emerging technology in the future.
Matthew J Fitzgerald is an experienced DevOps engineer, Company Founder, Author, and Programmer. He Founded Fitzgerald Tech Solutions and several other startups. He enjoys playing in his homelab, gardening, playing the drums, rooting for Chicago and Purdue sports, and hanging out with friends.