Thought blockchain technology was only used in cryptocurrency? Think again.
Blockchain technology was created in 2008 to power the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Made by the maker under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, blockchain was an ingenious invention that was used to create anonymous and secure transaction between clients. Since then, blockchain has evolved into so much more than the tech community ever anticipated.
What is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain technology refers to the secure digital ledger that records economic transactions of all types, that cannot be removed or corrupted. Blockchain doesn’t have to be strictly contained to cryptocurrency because the blocks in blockchain can literally contain any kind of data.
Think of this ledger as a Google Sheets spreadsheet that is copied an innumerable amount of times across a network of computers. Every time a new entry is added to a spreadsheet, the spreadsheet is updated across all computers. The entries in the spreadsheet are permanent—they cannot be altered, removed, or corrupted. This is basically how blockchain tech works.
The benefits of blockchain technology include:
- It doesn’t exist on one single “spreadsheet”, the database is hosted across millions of computers making it safe from hackers
- The information is public, which means it’s accessible to anyone on the Internet
- It’s easy to trace data to solve any disputes or incongruencies
- It’s easy to continually access, update, and add to the database
- The information can’t be controlled by one single entity because blocks of identical information are stored across thousands of networks
- Due to the advanced technology, there are no missed transactions or human or machine errors
- Everything is updated in real-time
- There is the ability to set rules for blockchain which can force compliance or automation
- The increased efficiency and security of blockchain reduces auditing costs
- It’s a more efficient way to protect and control the data of users
What are some uses of Blockchain Technology?
Finance was technically the first sector to use blockchain technology, as Bitcoin was created to digitally exchange money in a safe, and often anonymous, way. Little did anyone know that this would become the world’s first decentralized digital cash system. Blockchain streamlines payment processing through fast and secure transactions that can be made no matter where you are in the world.
The technology can also be handy for the credit history business. Requesting your credit report can be a mystifying and intimidating process. Blockchain technology can make credit reports more accessible, transparent, and accurate.
The solution to voter’s apathy, or lack of turnout among eligible voters, could be blockchain technology. By simplifying the process of voting and moving it online, it could increase the number of voters overall. Many people don’t participate in election day because of the inconvenience of having to take time off work to stand in a queue at a predetermined venue, and blockchain could solve this.
The biggest issue with moving over to online voting is security—namely, votes could be tampered with. Blockchain technology would allow votes to be anonymous and secure, thus reducing voter and government fraud and increasing accountability and compliance.
Blockchain technology can be used in the education system by making the digitization and verification of academic credentials of classes, students, teachers, and professors easier. A federated repository of academic information will stay secure and accessible, and be available for years to come.
Want a surefire way of ensuring a contract is carried out? Blockchain technology can convert the agreement of a contract into code. When a time-based or condition-based trigger is met, the conditions of a contract will be carried out. Smart contracts define the rules and expiration of a contract and provide accessibility to all parties.
Smart contracts can also be used in wills and inheritances to confirm validity and allocation of inheritance.
Many popular cloud storage devices like Google Drive, Dropbox, and One Drive promise to keep your files safe in the cloud. However, you have to trust that no one else is accessing your files without permission, including hackers.
There’s also the fear of losing invaluable data. Blockchain stores your information across several computers on a network that is highly encrypted, which means your data is more than secure.
Although donations are more than welcome when you’re a charity, it can become problematic when large sums of donations are involved. Blockchain databases offer an accountable way to track donations and reduce the overhead and complexity of regular charity payment processing systems. This kind of tech also provides an auditable trail for donations.
Blockchain can also be used in crowdfunding campaigns to ensure that donations are received and contributors are compensated whatever was promised.
Blockchain technology can be used in the human resources field as a way to carry out background checks, like verification of identity and employment history. It’s also a transparent and accessible way to process benefits and payments through smart contracts.
In addition to being used in the legal sector, blockchain technology can be used in law enforcement. It’s an impartial way to file evidence and resist falsification of case data. Every fact can be documented chronologically and time-stamped so there are no doubts or disagreements in the case.
Blockchain technology could make transactions between patients and hospitals and vice versa automated and transparent. Indexing all patient databases online into blockchain can save valuable time and resources for medical personnel. It can also help manage the privacy and ownership of all patient health data, which has become increasingly important with the new General Data Protection Regulation update. Blockchain databases can also be used to manage drug supply and medical supply integrity.
Transparency within contractual agreements is critical in all industries, including real estate. In addition to smart contracts, blockchain databases can be used to help verify property information, update records, digitize transaction processes, transfer property titles, and overall, reduce paperwork.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency were adopted early on by gamers who could see the value in the digital currency. Not only is cryptocurrency used to place bets and make payments in gaming, blockchain is used to store the data of players and to build a history of stats. Blockchain-powered gaming platforms can record gaming transactions in a publicly verifiable manner that is resistant to counterfeit.
As you can see, there are countless ways that blockchain technology can be adopted into everyday life. As more and more industries adopt this technology, use cases will no doubt continue to grow. We hope these blockchain examples will inspire you to leverage the technology in new ways.
What do you think of these blockchain use cases? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.