Blockchain Will Change the Human Experience
Although blockchain has become a household word, even with those who know very little about the technology, it is still early days for its application. In the business world, the technology is only beginning to show its legitimate potential impact. As a product, it comes with enhanced security, speed and efficiency, all aspects of an offer that doesn’t need extensive contemplation in order to deduce its obvious value.
At its most basic, in the example of a cryptocurrency user, blockchain looks like this:
A node (you) maintains a ledger (a file on your laptop or mobile device). Other miners (fellow accountants) maintain the identical file on their devices (the information is thus “distributed”). When you transact with the supported digital currency, everyone connected to it is notified of the transaction.
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Those notified of your transaction rush to be the first to validate it (confirm that you had the funds to transact and that the transaction was legitimate and is now recorded). The first to confirm the transaction tells everyone else involved that they have done so (Proof of Work). That person is then rewarded by the system for validating the transaction by a small currency payment.
Due to the immutable construct of the blockchain, no one can corrupt historical data. Although it is a decentralized ledger and involves many others, the end results are far more secure than typical accounting practices. Transactions are as good as cast in stone and cannot be denied, corrupted or voided once added to a blockchain ledger.
Doing better business
There are industries that have immediate and obvious blockchain application. The global formal banking sector is a prime example, always having been a logical candidate for the technology’s merits. Many big global players such as JP Morgan, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, ING Groep and others are involved in developing blockchain applications and securing patents.
Dealing largely with recording and validating ledgers in one shape or form on a constant, daily basis, the banking fraternity has been one of the first ports of call for the technology. The healthcare industry is another logical beneficiary of the simplified and secure ability of blockchain to build faultless ledgers as an aid to business.
Indeed, utilizing blockchain, a family medical history can now be “bequeathed” in all of its recorded detail to subsequent generations who will build on a detailed, comprehensive and accurate family medical history. This owner-benefit also assists the blockchain builders as the users of the data, such as healthcare providers and practitioners.
Shipping is another industry that stands to benefit hugely from blockchain application. A particularly paper-heavy system, it utilizes outdated and laborious structures of letters of credit and a barn full of other paperwork that accompanies every ship that docks or leaves port. Indeed, this may be one of the most suitable candidates where blockchain technology could be applied with the outcome of an industry-wide transformation. Accordingly, large-scale bulk goods and oil shippers have already begun to research its application to modernize and streamline their industry.
Further applications of blockchain technology
Other financial sector players, manufacturing and telecommunications are also industries with massive application for a decentralized ledger system. The results of a recent IBM study indicated that around 30 percent of executives are either currently employing this new platform or considering adopting the technology more extensively.
A majority of 80 percent of the respondents said that they had decided on a blockchain solution in response to financial or other considerations, and that any new business development would be built on the blockchain construct.
Employing decentralized ledgers is a fundamental departure from what has gone before. The music industry, and indeed any creative industry that has copyright issues, HR, government departments, security practitioners of whatever hue, online identity and education, advertising, real estate and forecasting are all industries with lots to gain from running on a blockchain construct.
Not only are business and industry incorporating blockchain technology going forward for their own efficiencies and ease of business, but the average layman’s user experience of the world at large is set to change too, bringing greater speed and less hassle to almost everything a modern human can do in a working day.
Hailing a ride, submitting a police complaint, paying bills and even buying a coffee could all be a quick blockchain transaction in the near future. As the slight gains in efficiency through employing a blockchain system manifest in users’ lives, they are assimilated as the new standard. Similarly, as business finds it can enhance its service offering and cost efficiencies using blockchain technology, both parties embrace a new way of doing things.
Not just the future of blockchain, but blockchain is the future
At its core, the technology has massive appeal and application as it decentralizes transacting. No more the need to pay a service provider like a bank for their service value-add and the pleasure of handling your money. Now “banking fees” are disseminated down the decentralized ledger.
Tellers, dispatch officers, insurers, supply chain managers, energy dispensers and thousands of other categories where there is a go-to human representing a corporate or government authority are all set to be redefined. With the novel application of smart contracts (a computer-generated protocol for transacting) combined with democratic participation, blockchain presents as a whole new way for the world to run its affairs. Offering efficiency for business and effectiveness for users, along with a vast improvement on the current security around transacting, blockchain is daily demonstrating its logical, successful application.
Often termed a “disruptive” input to many industries, it nonetheless comes with much potential benefits of streamlining and optimizing millions of business protocols that any recoup of transitioning to a distributed ledger system presents as manageable.
The shipping industry is one that will face significant capital outlay to switch to a blockchain system. Nonetheless, transitioning costs are on average far more manageable than, for example, setting up an oil rig or even an office-bound service.
While figures vary based on industry, business size and aims, switching to blockchain is typically an acceptable cost recouped far sooner than traditional capital outlay. Not only is modern business set to adopt, develop and streamline a blockchain way of doing things, but the average citizen’s future life will be smoother, calmer and more efficient because of it as well.