Blockchains started being noticed when Bitcoin was on the rise. Ask the majority of people and they’ll say blockchain is only there for cryptocurrencies. Well, they’ve only just started scratching the surface!
What is blockchain technology?
Blockchains are like a digital ledger that isn’t governed by one entity. Instead, hundreds if not thousands of parties verify the transaction.
In a very rough sense, it’s like if I gave you $100 and we had 200 of our friends watch me give it to you and verify that the transaction happened.
Here’s a quick diagram from the Financial Times
That’s great – but why do we need it?
Well, we don’t really need it. We also didn’t need cars and microwaves – it just makes our lives that much easier.
With blockchains technology, we can access that ledger and it’s information instantaneously. We can send payments across the world in seconds, something that would normally take a few days using a bank system. Imagine doing this without the middleman! It would be significantly cheaper and quicker.
Alright – I understand that but what else besides cryptos?
Now here is the fun stuff!
There are a number of instances where blockchain tech will help. Anything that requires information can benefit from the technology.
Some companies and their ideas:
- Voting – this way voting in elections can’t be corrupted
- Executing contracts and legal documents
- Car repairs and service history – Imagine being able to see the whole history of the car you’re about to buy. CarVertical is looking into this.
- Consent of romantic intentions between people – still unsure about this one but the idea behind it has potential
- Buying and selling a house
- Safely buying and selling intellectual property
- KODAKone – this is an interesting one. It will create an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers. This will be paired with KODAKCoin
- Medical information – very important to have unaltered medical information.
- Make sure you’re doing business with the right companies – single out those companies that have a record of human rights abuses.
- Charities and missing money – The World Food Programme (WFP) is using blockchain to securely distribute cash assistance to the hungry. It will now be easier to track and obtain money this way, revolutionising the entire fundraising process.
- Refugees – being able to provide crypto-based vouchers, and for identification purposes. An example of this is population management. This includes registrations and records control, smart IDs for refugees & internally displaced persons. Medsis is one company doing great work in this field
- Making transactions more reachable for the lowest socio-economic people – You can act like a bank, without needing a bank. You can transfer funds without having to use bank applications. A lot of overseas workers send money back to their homes in order to support their family. Today, when they do this, it is normally slugged with fees.
As you can see from the above, there is a lot more than just cryptos when it comes to the blockchain technology. We are only just starting to fully realise the potential of blockchain technology and I don’t think we have even begun to scratch the surface yet!