No matter what industry you’re in or what you do for a living, inevitably blockchain technology will revolutionize it.
If you’re a crypto fan you already know that it’s the technology on which Bitcoin and all its digital coin competitors is built. If you’re unfamiliar with cryptocurrency and the blockchain then you’re probably asking how is this relevant to me?
For starters, the blockchain is simply a sophisticated online, decentralized accounting ledger that allows everyone at any time the ability to see any transaction. In the crypto world it’s used any time a new digital coin is made (a process called mining) or anytime a transaction is made.
I do business with people around the world and anytime I need to send them digital money (or vice versa), that transaction is done via the chain. Every time a block of information is completed it’s added to the chain. Hence, we have the word “blockchain.”
The blockchain allows people to send money instantly with almost no fee. It also allows anyone to securely send sensitive information via a smart contract at any time and to any place with an internet connection.
The reason it’s so secure and so efficient is that it is built on a peer to peer network. This means that there are people at any moment verifying each other’s transactions.
Did you ever have that teacher in school that allowed you to trade your test papers with someone else in the class?
You took one person’s test to grade and handed yours to a 3rd person. The results couldn’t be tampered with because you couldn’t “help” your friend and expect to have that favor returned because your paper was with someone else.
The results? Everyone’s papers were graded in just a few minutes and that overworked, underpaid and most likely sexually frustrated teacher made it to a long overdue happy hour on time.
In a nutshell, that’s how the blockchain works as well. It eliminates the need to have a teacher, driver, lawyer, banker, CEO, purchasing manager, farmer, electrician or President “grade” each paper. In fact, they don’t need to grade any paper. This results in secure, quick and cheap transactions being done.
If that weren’t enough, the blockchain adds many more benefits. Insert your favorite infomercial voiceover here, “But wait, that’s not all!”
If you’re not into cryptocurrency I know you’re probably thinking, “That’s nice and all, but how does this impact me and my industry?”
What do you do for a living? What cause or charity do you support? No matter what it is the potential for blockchain technology to improve it is endless.
Here are several examples of some exciting real world applications:
- Banks (many banks are feeling threatened and fighting this disruptive technology by the way) are able to send money without the need for verifications and approvals (decentralization). This makes transactions quick AND cheap. Have you ever tried to wire money internationally?
- Supply chain managers use it to track inventory at all times and cut down on time, expenses and waste.
- Farmers are leveraging it to track their animals, monitor crops, and to allow consumers total transparency to track their food. Organic proof anyone?
- Fashion designers proudly wanting to show their “Made in…(insert country here)” can’t lie due to complete transparency.
- Organizations trying to help provide clean drinking water around the world are able to view supply-line data in real time and make that secure data available to everyone (Can we say Flint, Michigan?)
- Energy companies can improve measurement readings, trade energy with other energy companies and even manage the billing process for electric-vehicle charging stations. Side note: self driving cars are on the chain too.
- Consumers of electricity can buy, sell, and trade power to their neighbors
- Pipeline companies can accurately track data and avoid pipeline leaks (BP, wouldn’t you have loved this a few years back?).
- Cell phone users can sell extra data to someone needing it and not wanting to pay the excessive fees to the cell phone company.
- Peer to peer micro lending is made exponentially easier now, allowing for small business owners to quickly get much needed capital.
- Musicians, particularly indie artists, are using it to sell their music and can actually keep their revenue rather than paying it out to expensive streaming companies.
- Airlines are using it to issue tickets (and hopefully no longer dragging passengers off of overbooked flights).
- Doctors and health care providers are using it to instantly access patient records; this could eventually lead to patients no longer having to pay for medical records.
- Pharmacists also have everything they need without having to call other pharmacies and doctors to move a patient’s prescriptions.
- Education – we just moved to Florida from Texas and enrolling our kids in school would’ve been so much easier (and teenage angst free) had their academic records been on the chain.
- Elections…wait, do people actually think that elections around the world are handled fairly? Insert your own joke here.
- The emerging “sharing economy” that is currently dominated by players such as Uber and Airbnb could soon be upended by the decentralization and time and money savings that is blockchain technology.
I could go on and on filling many pages with ways that the world will be changed by blockchain technology. If I missed your industry, it’s because it’s not important. I’m kidding!
As I mentioned earlier, there’s not a single industry or idea that can’t be made better via blockchain technology. And if you still haven’t gotten into cryptocurrency, do a google search of your industry followed by the letters “ICO” and you’ll probably find a blockchain startup company that’ll interest you.
Photo courtesy of ventureradar.com