Many today argue that the invention of the blockchain is the greatest invention of the Information Age since the Internet itself. But what is it, and how can it be used? While many people are still trying to wrap their heads around the concept, leading industries have already begun developing technologies based on the blockchain. From global shipments to healthcare, blockchain is revolutionizing the world and making it a safer, faster, and more connected place. This article introduces the industries who are currently being disrupted by blockchain technologies.
The original concept of the blockchain was to become a distributed ledger that makes Bitcoin immutable. It was to become the banking revolution. Blockchain has evolved to overlap needs for many industries, but banking was its original intention, which today has developed into something huge. OmiseGo, a top 20 coin regarding market cap, is planning to let users become their own banks. The fact that a blockchain is virtually un-hackable makes for your money to be safer in cryptocurrency than in traditional banks. Ripple, another cryptocurrency and currently a top 5 coin regarding market cap, is a banking solution for traditional banks and payment processing. Ripple can confirm up to 1500 transactions/ second and uses its blockchain to make an immutable currency and cross-border payments easy.
Sadly, in the world we live in today it has become rather common for hackers to hold hospitals hostage with their medical records. The healthcare industry has been lacking a technical upgrade and security of medical records has become a major issue. Blockchain’s immutable ledger is the perfect answer for this problem. A blockchain has never been hacked before, and companies are already creating programs off blockchain software that will fit the needs of hospitals.
3. Real Estate
Keeping track of records can get tangled and confusing if it’s not all on one platform. Ubiquity, a new blockchain solution for real estate, believes that blockchain's easy to access record will make it easy to create transparent records of titles and property records. This kind of application can save hours of research when looking up the history of a house, property, or title. Blockchain-based real estate firms believe they can save US consumers up to $550 million by reducing room for error and manual effort to dig up information on a property.
#BreaktheBlock was a hackathon held by Simply Business to explore the ways that blockchain could affect the insurance industry. Many things were discovered, and these ideas will be implemented into companies soon enough. Claimless found a way to use the blockchain to easily prove a customer’s no-claim history, using a transparent ledger. Re-x found ways to use transparency in the blockchain to improve the availability of policies in different markets, as well as increase transparencies in policies. Many other industries are ahead of insurance with blockchain, but these new beginnings are coming to show that we will soon see a lot of growth in blockchain based insurance technologies.
If you understand blockchain, you’ll understand how easy it is to apply this in law firms. If law firms can obtain data coming from an immutable ledger, there would be no argument to whether the document is valid or not. Finding legislation that correlates to your particular case will become much more transparent with blockchain. And of course, we cannot forget smart contracts. Smart contracts, which are held together by a third party robot, will clarify whether terms have been met or not.
Retail giants have been known to produce clothes that have been involved with some form of unpaid or sweatshop conditions of labor along the way. And because it’s hard to track where something has come from, many clothes we own today could very easily come from child labor or sweatshops. Blockchain could seriously put this in place, with its ability to provide a transparent ledger for everyone to see. Imagine, when you go to buy a shirt, you could look on an app at every stop in the world that shirt has been- you could see for yourself through public ledgers that your clothes come from a good place, with good pay.
“The UN reports that up to 50% of crop value vanishes between harvest and the point of sale,” states the beginning of Agriledger’s website, a blockchain based agriculture platform. Agriledger wants to level the playing ground for co-op farms in developing countries and believes that having the distributed ledger accessible by every farmer via mobile app will help keep immutability and transparency from farm to table. But that’s not all blockchain can help with small-scale farms, larger scale agriculture businesses are looking to use blockchain to track food through supply chain based ledgers.
Blockchain can bridge real-world building with virtual building. Contractors need to connect with many subcontractors, who need to connect with small or large businesses to construct a building. There is a lot of trusts that can very easily be broken between vendors and contractors and blockchain can use its ledger to create a “trustless” environment. The term “trustless” came from smart contracts and their ability to uphold an agreement without any need to trust a person: the smart contract’s third party is a robot that has no biased and whose sole function is to uphold the contract. Along with smart contracts come the DAO, which has a similar concept but with voting. Users all vote democratically on something, and the votes are collected by a robot in the center. Contractors can use these tools to keep money from slipping through the cracks all through their ecosystem of subcontractors and vendors.
The DAO brings us to our next topic: Voting. The DAO is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, where the leader isn’t human. The leader is a type of robot, or smart contract, built upon a blockchain platform. Whenever the people must vote, they are all allowed one vote, which gets sent to the blockchain’s immutable ledger and safely stored. The DAO will create the results, unbiased and untainted. This concept will one day be adopted by countries, and we could potentially eliminate voter fraud.
10. Music Streaming
Many artists today have a hard time making money. If they sign to a record label, the label takes most of the profits. If they promote themselves, most music gets illegally downloaded. Blockchain will help musicians earn royalties without going through a record label. Mycelia is working to use the blockchain to help put more money in the pockets of musicians.