7 Industries Blockchain Will Change Forever
Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the world. You’ve heard about it with reference to cryptocurrency. But even in its most basic form, it looks set to become the new preferred platform of database for any industry where transparency, the ability to check the history of a product or idea, coupled with the assurance that the history cannot be altered, only added to, is crucial. This article will look at 7 industries blockchain will change forever--whenever they get around to making it the new standard.
Hang On, What’s Blockchain, Again?
The simplest way to explain blockchain is as a type of database that cannot be altered. Once information is entered into it, it remains changed forever. The only way a blockchain can be altered is by adding to the end of a long chain of data. Erasing or editing previously entered data is nearly impossible due to a security measure of many computers around the world constantly checking the blockchain for changes. These computers are like security guards making rounds of the premises over and over, and comparing what they find to all the other computers checking the same blockchain. Attempts at fiddling with the data already in the chain are quickly spotted and rejected. This is why blockchain is the key to making cryptocurrency work. The security system checks that no crypto is spent twice, and each new owner of an asset is added to the blockchain. So industries in which a viewable, immutable record of the past is beneficial should be all in on blockchain.
7 Industries Blockchain Will Change Forever: Finance
Finance is the most obvious place to begin, because it’s the industry most commonly associated with blockchain. Bitcoin is what made blockchain famous, and blockchain is what made Bitcoin (and every cryptocurrency) possible. But it doesn’t have to begin and end with crypto. Other financial assets, from bonds to dollar bills to gold bars, could also be recorded on blockchains. If we think of blockchains as theoretically endless public ledgers, then the serial numbers on each $20 bill you take out of an ATM could be recorded on one and, if your money is stolen and one of those bills is spent by someone other than you, then you could get it back.
However it’s more likely that blockchain will be used to replace, rather than record, cash transactions in the future. It’s the cash itself that may be an additional “middleman” (or rather, “middle unit”) that is deemed no longer necessary. This is one of the principles of DeFi, the term short for “decentralized finance” (for a full article on it, click here). CDBCs (Centralized Digital Bank Currency) is already an influential halfway step--a digital currency but one that is backed by a centralized bank. Trade in digital currency is generally easier, safer and more practical so even traditional institutions put it to use. But DeFi calls for empowering individuals to circumvent centralized institutions altogether.
7 Industries Blockchain Will Change Forever: Securities
Securities (stocks) are another aspect of finance that have already seen benefits thanks to blockchain. This spring, Exodus completed a groundbreaking public offering, issuing 2,733,229 shares of Class A common stock and raising $75 million in gross proceeds (the maximum amount qualified in our offering circular and a US record). The Exodus Shares were recorded on the Algorand blockchain and then distributed to shareholders. Instead of getting a paper stock certificate, shares appear in the Exodus wallet as tokens called EXIT. Anytime these EXIT tokens are traded (using the tZERO marketplace), the change in ownership is added to the Algorand blockchain. That means that the ownership of the shares can never be lost and the chain of owners of each share is preserved in a way that can be referred to anytime. It is easy to imagine this approach becoming the standard for the recording, distribution and trade of securities.
7 Industries Blockchain Will Change Forever: Automotive
Buying a used car can be tricky business. You don’t always know the history of a car: whether it was in an accident, how old the parts are, how often it was serviced, even whether the current owner actually owns it. All of this can be made clear if cars are recorded in a blockchain. Each car’s ownership history, prices, repairs, accidents...all of this can be added to the blockchain so prospective new buyers of the car can know everything about it. A service exists to check the hidden backgrounds of used cars, but it doesn’t incorporate blockchain. The benefit of blockchain is that it acts as a decentralized ledger, which is far more difficult to hack and alter than a simple centralized server. No more used car salesmen pulling the wool over the eyes of shoppers!
7 Industries Blockchain Will Change Forever: Law Enforcement
We just mentioned potential uncertainty around ownership of used cars. Automotive theft is a big issue, but the blockchain can not only help potential buyers, but law enforcement, too. Legitimate property can be registered by its owners by adding it to the blockchain, from photos to serial numbers that will uniquely identify objects. If property recorded on a blockchain is stolen, this will make it far easier for police to identify it and for the original owners to prove that it was theirs and reclaim it.
That’s just the start. Criminal records could be written into a blockchain that is referable by police the world over.
7 Industries Blockchain Will Change Forever: Intellectual Property
It’s not only physical property that can be protected by blockchain technology. Owners of intellectual property will be delighted, as well. Adding the creation of a piece of intellectual property--a book manuscript, for example, or a poem or a song--to a blockchain would have the effect of copyrighting it. Its creator or creators can be listed, plus ownership information, such as the division of royalties for profit made thanks to the intellectual property, can likewise be recorded in a more user-friendly and accessible way. So if I write a children’s book, and someone else illustrates it, and someone else publishes it, how the three of us divide profits can be chiseled in virtual stone on the blockchain, rendering arguments over ownership a thing of the past.
7 Industries Blockchain Will Change Forever: Art
Art is an aspect of intellectual property, and it is already finding a home along the blockchain. The rise of NFTs--digital files that can be traded--is based on blockchain, with most of them inscribed on Ethereum. Ethereum is used for “smart contracts” to this end. For instance, when The Wknd released NFTs of some of his songs in the form of mp3s, a collector could buy the NFT but all the royalties and intellectual property rights remained with The Wknd. Which rights change hands and how it all shakes out can be clarified via smart contracts on the blockchain.
7 Industries Blockchain Will Change Forever: Medicine
Those clipboards that doctors hang on the end of beds in hospitals containing necessary information about patients? What if those were entered into a blockchain? A history of health issues, medications, allergies, blood type, emergency contacts, tests undertaken as well as their results… Each patient could have their health history recorded in a way that doctors could access whenever they needed to, but more importantly, said patients would have control over who they allow to see their medical records, and who shouldn’t see it. They would also be secured on a decentralized ledger, instead of a centralized server, making them multiple times more difficult to hack into and obtain.
The bottom line is that blockchain saves the day for any industry that would benefit from transparent histories, whether it comes to objects, ideas or even people.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.