Since it is clear that blockchain technology is here to stay and will have a continuing impact on the world as the technology grows, one has to wonder what effects this will have on the industries that are in place now, and what changes we can look forward to in the future.
Blockchain is probably the most promising new technology for the future of humankind, and it is the technology that will someday forge the possibility of a true world currency. It is the distributed ledger technology that allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to work and will likely reach into many other types of industries sometime soon, as the blockchain is relatively safe, auditable, and resistant to outages.
Blockchain also allows companies that use it to be transparent, allows for decentralization, greater efficiency, better security, and is rooted in the democratic process. Many industries will likely be disrupted as the blockchain continues to grow over the next decade.
These are some of the industries that this technology is already disrupting:
- Banking and Payment Industry: It is a common belief that blockchain technology will revolutionize banking just as the internet revolutionized media. The blockchain gives people around the world access to banking abilities that they didn’t have before, including those that live in third world countries who didn’t have standard banks at their disposal. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin allow people to instantly send money from country to country with no regulation and very low fees.
- Supply Chain Management: Blockchain technology allows transactions to be documented and tracked in a way that allows for the monitoring of information securely and transparently. This dramatically reduces the amount of time needed to run supply chain operations and reduces the number of errors in the process. For example, no more barcode scanners. Instead, RFID technology will be on every package, so as soon as a package comes into a warehouse, it will be automatically accounted for. This will also help to improve logistics throughout the supply chain system.
- Forecasting: The blockchain will disrupt how we do research, consulting, analysis and forecasting. With companies like Augur setting up global decentralized prediction markets that will help people place and monitor their wagers on anything from stocks to elections throughout the world.
- Insurance: The insurance industry will use blockchain technology as an innovative method of verifying data types within insurance contracts like the insured’s identity. The integration of this data with smart contracts could be beneficial to insurance companies that need to use real-world data.
- Ride Sharing & Transportation: Decentralized peer to peer ride-sharing apps using blockchain will allow both the car owner and the rider to agree to conditions safely and without the help of any third-party services. With the assistance of an e-wallet, drivers can automatically pay for parking, tolls, and fuel.
- Charity: Charity work is typically plagued by things like inefficiency and corruption that prevent resources from reaching their intended targets. Blockchain technology can help funds reach their intended destination by giving people enhanced tracking abilities, and greater transparency.
- Voting: Fair and accountable voting has always been a concern of any society. Fortunately, blockchain can streamline this process. From registration, conformation, all the way to vote counting, the blockchain can handle it all by implementing a public ledger that can be viewed by everyone. This would ensure democracy and reduce corruption by making the process more transparent.
- Government: We all know that most government systems are not the most efficient nor transparent, and often prone to corruption. Putting blockchain based systems to work will reduce the amount of bureaucracy, increase efficiency and the ability to keep information safe while giving transparency to all governmental operations around the world.
- Public Benefit: This is another system that suffers greatly from slow speed and inefficiency of bureaucracy. Blockchain technology can help gage, verify, and distribute benefits securely and transparently. This could also be used to implement a basic income at some point, and some people are working on developing just such a system.
- Healthcare: This is one industry that has yet to change, continuing to rely on systems that are both inefficient and relatively insecure compared to blockchain. Hospitals need a more secure platform to store and share sensitive data. Blockchain can safely store their sensitive data and share that data only with people who are authorized to use it. This will result in increased security and faster and more accurate diagnosis.
- Energy Management: This has been a very centralized industry for a long time now. Energy producers and those who use it can’t buy/sell directly as they must go through the public energy grids. Blockchain will someday allow people to buy/sell energy directly from each other, eliminating the need for a go-between to obtain power.
- Retail: When people shop they have to trust the retail system of the store or marketplace they frequent. Blockchain will put buyers and sellers together skipping the middle man and the associated fees that comes along, which is likely to directly affect companies like Amazon very soon. Smart contract systems will be used to build trust and so will the high level of security for exchanges, and those built in reputation management systems.
- Real Estate: Many issues affecting real estate today are within the bureaucracy that regulates the industry and a glaring lack of transparency. There is also fraud to contend with, and many mistakes made in the public record. Blockchains will help speed up transactions, reduce the use of paper, and help with the tracking and verification of ownership while ensuring the accuracy of documentation and the transferring of deeds.
- Crowdfunding: This is a popular method of raising funds for various types of projects. The platform is used to create trust between the creators of the projects and those willing to donate to their causes. These platforms usually charge significant fees for their services, reducing the number of assets that can be used for the projects that the donated money was intended for. Blockchain technology crowdfunding will create trust through the use of smart contracts and online reputation systems, once again eliminating the need for the middleman.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a countless number of ways blockchain technology will improve society, making us more efficient, accountable, and ultimately push technology to the next level. Only time will tell what other industries will be disrupted by the blockchain, but those early movers who learn cryptocurrency investing today will have a bright future tomorrow.