November 13, 2020
5 Industries Currently Using Blockchain Technology & How it’s Revolutionizing Business
Blockchain technology, which is essentially a distributed ledger, made major waves when the media was abuzz with all things “cryptocurrency.”
While the crypto-investment craze has died down, and with it, all of the buzzy media attention, its underlying technology never went away.
In fact, the disruption has begun and there’s no going back.
Blockchain technology is very much alive and well. It is on the brink of changing the game for many industries.
In this article, we’ll explain why blockchain is important and look at five sectors where it’s already making a big impact.
You can find one of the best-known uses of blockchain technology in the financial services sector.
Blockchain is truly revolutionizing every aspect of banking including banking transactions, payments, trade finance, lending, securities, and more–eliminating the need for a middleman to process transactions, while at the same time, reducing fraud risk and expediting the process.
For example, blockchain technology enables faster cross-border payments, without the need for third-party authorization.
For trade finance, companies can sell tokens to raise funds–through initial coin offerings (ICOs), which are similar to stocks, rather than go the traditional route with VCs, while still ensuring that financial information is secured.
The appeal of this is that, should an investor decide to sell their tokens, their funds will immediately be liquid on a 24-hour market, rather than waiting for liquidity.
That said, while ICOs have delivered significant returns for some investors, investing in “low-quality” projects is a real risk, according to CoinTelegraph. Here, we learned that 80% of ICOs conducted in 2017 turned out to be scams.
In the healthcare sector, blockchain technology is already being used to protect medical records and bring more transparency to the healthcare industry.
Blockchain’s decentralized, encrypted ledger is also being used among healthcare professionals to create a single source of truth for patient data that doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, and insurers can easily reference. It allows access to exactly what they need for putting together personalized care plans and diagnosing faster.
Once a transaction has been added to the blockchain, it is then verified by the network and cannot be erased. Making it permanent maximizes data transparency and integrity in an industry where data loss, security breaches, and other privacy violations can lead to massive fines and public mistrust.
In the coming years, we’ll likely see blockchain technology further permeate the healthcare space–with increased adoption for managing medical records, ensuring data security & pharmaceutical traceability, processing payments, and securing information about clinical trial participants & outcomes.
Real estate is another sector where we are seeing the use of blockchain technology across a diverse range of use cases.
Buying property is typically a lengthy process that involves a lot of paperwork and comes with a significant fraud risk.
Blockchain promises to create a permanent, distributed ledger between buyers, agents, lenders, insurance companies, and anyone else involved in a deal, and stands to bring increased transparency to the buying and selling process, faster transactions, and cost-savings by eliminating the need for human intermediaries.
Because everything is recorded on the ledger for all to see–if one bad actor attempts to falsify a document, their activities can easily be discovered by anyone else with access to the blockchain.
What’s more, blockchain technology also stands to make investing in real estate more accessible to a wider audience, allowing individuals and companies to buy and sell fractional shares of a property–kind of like a mutual fund, but with more liquidity.
The 2016 election transformed voter security. It became a major concern both domestically and internationally, alerting the world to the dangers of misinformation, or “fake news,” malicious attempts to hack into voter registration databases, and other instances of digital deception–which wields tremendous influence over voter opinion, and by extension, election outcomes.
News websites and social media networking sites can set up blockchain networks to track things like individual node activity, more accurately verify identity, and track and compare the actions of accounts that may be suspicious.
Estonia’s e-voting system was the first blockchain-based voting system. It was launched in 2007 in an effort to make civic engagement accessible to all citizens with internet access.
Blockchain technology presents a viable option for online voting, which would likely increase voter ‘turnout’ come election season.
Blockchain-based voting hasn’t yet seen widespread adoption, in part because some countries ran into issues while implementing their own e-voting solutions.
For example, in 2019, Switzerland discovered critical errors in the source code of their Swiss Post e-Voting system, while similar solutions were abandoned altogether in Ireland, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, and Finland due to security concerns.
That said, countries like Russia and Sierra Leone have begun experimenting with e-voting in an effort to increase transparency in the voting process and the USPS is rumored to be working on a blockchain-based voting system.
Data security is one of the biggest issues we face today–sensitive personal, financial, medical, and company-related data–all of it is at risk without a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy in place to protect it.
Blockchain technology is one of the most effective solutions for improving data security because blockchain is encrypted in such a way that it automatically provides proper validation and protects data from being modified or altered by hackers.
A blockchain-based cybersecurity platform can secure connected devices, using digital signatures to identify and authenticate each device on a distributed network or use a Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) architecture along with a Zero-Trust model to hide all authenticated devices within a network from attackers.
It’s worth pointing out that there’s a common throughline between each of the five industries mentioned above. There is a critical need to protect sensitive information in a digital environment that is becoming increasingly difficult to control.