Blockchain in the Real World: 5 Fields Blockchain Technology Can Revolutionize and HowWritten by Irakli on December 17, 2018
Blockchain has become somewhat of a buzzword recently. Regardless of the industry, you might have seen companies thinking about investing and implementing Blockchain technology in their operational activities.
It’s everywhere. Even for SMEs, Blockchain technology has a lot of different applications that companies are realizing now.
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Over 100 startups from 45 different countries have already partnered with UNICEF to start developing Blockchain solutions. And 69% of banks are already experimenting with permissioned Blockchain.
All this, while we’re still in the early stages of Blockchain.
It’s hard to say what the future will entail but it’s safe to say that the usage of Blockchain is guaranteed.
You might have already heard that Blockchain technology has something to do with cryptocurrency. But its potential goes beyond that.
So, what is Blockchain, exactly?
Essentially, Blockchain is the tech behind cryptocurrency. It helps with the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency through a distributed ledger technology.
Essentially, Blockchain is a digital ledger.
A digital ledger that acts as a decentralized database for all transactions.
But it has the capacity to be more than that. When we start applying Blockchain to sectors other than cryptocurrency, the potential payoffs are huge.
How, you ask?
Because, at the end of the day, Blockchain is a one big decentralized ledger that everyone from all over the world can access and use.
Recording and tracking transactions become easier than ever.
As to how the Blockchain technology might impact the specific fields – read on to find out.
1. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is already a growing industry as is. But what makes the field so interesting is what happens when creativity meets technology.
Right now, the process of data collection in digital marketing is somewhat of a mess, in terms of privacy. Anyone can access the internet, yes, but there are still certain gatekeepers making it harder for everyone.
ISPs and web browsers now learn almost everything about what we do online. From our basic information to what we buy, where, how, and so on. In an ideal world, these gatekeepers would provide fair access to everyone.
In the current world, however, our personal data is bought and sold to advertisers without anyone blinking an eye.
Blockchain can fix this.
Where else would all this data and information about each individual customer come from?
Well, through Blockchain, the data would come directly the from prospects and customers themselves.
Blockchain would also eliminate any privacy concerns this way because customers would be able to choose the type of ads they want to see (if any) and get paid for it as well.
Marketers would then be looking at better and more relevant targeting strategy.
If users voluntarily choose what type of content they’d prefer to see, the state of ads might change too. We could be looking at more personalized and relevant ads, a better relationship between consumers and companies, and fewer middlemen in the whole process.
In short, digital marketing fused with Blockchain can increase transparency and improve cybersecurity. This, in turn, would eliminate the need for huge corporations. And finally, bring the relationship back where it started – between the brands and the consumers.
“Government” on its own is a pretty broad term.
But regardless of you’re from, chances are, you associate having to deal with the government with a lot of unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy. Doing business usually involves long lines, delayed meetings, and a lot of extra steps.
What if there was a way to bypass all that?
Let’s take a look at some features of Blockchain technology and how they can benefit the government sector:
- Smart contracts. This is a form of programmed application that executes automatically once a certain prerequisite is met. For example, did you make your monthly loan on your car? Through the assigned smart contract, you’d automatically continue being the owner as long as you continue making payments. If you missed it, however, the contract would trigger a process to revert the car back to the original leader. Now, imagine this whole process without any unnecessary middlemen such as repo agents or a collection agency. For the government, smart contracts can improve the auditing process, how they handle transactions, and the whole record-keeping process altogether.
- Voting. If there’s one field that requires an extra knot on security, it’s the election. Through Blockchain’s highly encrypted data transfer, casting, tracking, and counting votes become more secure. Like how Blockchain can record and hold transactions, keeping track of voting means that they would no longer be tampered.
- Digital government. If there’s one country that’s embracing the change with open arms – it’s Estonia. In Estonia, (or E-stonia), almost everything is done digitally now – from filing your taxes to paying for car parking. This is because almost all information is available online. Estonia’s digital signature system uses electronic signatures, through which you can access all of the above information online. If you want to see a country embracing future technologies – just look at Estonia.
Companies in the entertainment field using the latest technology applications are now starting to rethink their whole business model altogether. This is how you can tell when industries are being disrupted.
And this is also the case with the entertainment sector.
All fields that focus on monetizing value in one way or another can benefit from Blockchain technology.
So, let’s break it down.
The music industry, for example, has been growing steadily since 2012.
But with so many different streaming services, it’s hard for local artists to get started and get a word out.
As of now, Spotify pays about $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream to artists. Through Blockchain, musicians can be rewarded for their content directly everytime someone plays their music. No cuts from the publisher, for the streaming service, and so on. Artists would be actually independent.
Another example has to do with the online gambling field. Whether you like it or not the adult entertainment industry is worth a lot ($40B in 2015). And despite all the negative connotations to the field, it has the capacity to go through a complete 180.
Casinos are all about the trust between the player and the house, and that trust is often abused. This is how casinos stay profitable.
However, through a decentralized and a transparent alternative, many Blockchain gambling startups are already disrupting the current casino system.
Given the high level of risk involved in adult entertainment and online gaming, merchants lose a lot of transaction fees.
Blockchain solves many other issues such as anonymity, accessibility, and creates value through decentralization.
As such, Blockchain casinos would allow users to fund the casinos in return for a percentage of the profits realized. Blockchain technology has the possibility to disrupt the whole gambling industry and change the way we view gambling.
The travel sector is complex and fragmented. There are a lot of challenges that businesses in the field face: from daily financial and operational activities to retaining their customer base.
In the travel industry, this is more than just hypothetical.
For many companies, Blockchain-based services are already isolating major pain points and resolving common challenges by focusing on streamlining the process.
Essentially, companies are building a more reliable ecosystem that removes gatekeepers and makes it easier for customers to get involved.
For example, having a universal Blockchain ID simplifies travel. And because of Blockchain’s decentralized nature, there is also less chance for cyber attacks. Not to mention all transactions become traceable and instant – making the whole process even more convenient.
The travel industry relies heavily on sending information to and from many different parties, and Blockchain makes processing all that data more efficient.
But aside from tracking information, identification services also become easier. The technology can drastically reduce check-in times and queues at the airport, since something as simple as a fingerprint can replace showing your documents.
The bottom line is that the travel industry should be comfortable in an ideal world. Though, this isn’t the case yet.
But through Blockchain, the travel industry can become more convenient for everyone involved.
Finally, this is what it all boils down to.
The original goal of Blockchain was all about handling finances better and now it’s time to come to a full circle. Since the beginning, the goal of Blockchain technology has been to track and manage transactions better.
And since Blockchain came out of cryptocurrency, the focus is on keeping track of financial transactions. Similarly as to how the digital ledger manages crypto coins, the same way it can manage fiat money.
As it stands, the finance sector is already going through major changes through the many online and automating tools.
However, the biggest problem banks have at the moment is dealing with the international market. Transferring funds from country to country is an expensive and slow process.
But why is the current financial system so inefficient?
Well, frankly, because it’s old. The tech is old – based on the paper-based process way. And finally, it’s centralized.
This is Blockchain’s biggest qualm with the current system. Being centralized implies being vulnerable to system failures and attacks. Because of region-based access, it also denies many people access to basic financial tools.
With Blockchain technology, all of that disappears. And instead, is replaced with a global financial system that gives everyone equal access – no restrictions.
Blockchain is also already evolving the traditional accounting systems but can impact the whole financial sector as well.
Being truly decentralized is a great thing because it means having no single central base of operations. The distributed ledger would be running on the millions of mobile devices all over the world. Money, equities, debts, and all other assets would then be stored digitally – based on a peer-to-peer system.
Trust would then be established on an encrypted, network consensus. Two parties (businesses, individuals, etc) would be able to forge agreements and exchange value without relying on any intermediaries.
Blockchain has the capacity to change the way we do our business in many different fields, but will it?
Of course, there are a lot of details that need time to iron out first.
So, it might take some time.
On paper, it sounds great, yes. But the main challenge will be having everyone sign up and adapt to the new way of doing things. This can be hard because banks (and most people) don’t like change.
It’s important to remember that these scenarios are ideal cases, based on technology and projects still under development. No one knows whether the vision of a Blockchain-based world will become reality, especially since the tech is still in its infancy.
However, if it’s one thing for certain, it’s that the disruption of industries starts at a small scale level. There are companies already utilizing Blockchain technology. If they do continue doing well – then it’s only a matter of time till they start competing with corporations.
And when they start competing with huge corporations – we’ll start seeing the change.