Exploring the Next Wave of Blockchain Innovation
Talk about blockchain and the first thing that comes to mind is Bitcoin. Blockchain has been stereotyped or correlated with Bitcoin and crypto currencies even though its applications lies far beyond, with high potential in auditing, healthcare, business and even cloud computing. The technology has come a long way since its inception and is now being adopted by enterprises for day-to-day functions like invoice automation, fraud control, patent tracking etc. People are gradually realizing that blockchain technology can have myriad applications.
The global blockchain market is expected to be worth $20 billion in 2024. Blockchain becomes the core enabling technology for financial institutions to move into the modern age of real time transactions. Government, medical and IT industries are all experimenting with the advanced blockchain solutions. Corporates can work with NGOs/ non-profit organizations to sustain a healthy and transparent way to give back to society by creating a social good ecosystem. Holistic policies are used to create a paradigm shift in using blockchain technology for creating directional social impact. By bringing digital technology into real time computing systems management, blockchain changes all aspects of our economy including healthcare, shopping, entertainment, education as well as social networks.
Blockchain new-age applications
Blockchain applications have been extracted from the use-case of Bitcoin to varied fields. It started off with banking and is slowly moving in to different fields.
- Citizen data: Blockchain empowers government to verify citizen’s identity for legitimate voting. It facilitates government to store immutable citizen data with an extra level of protection to private data. With blockchain technology census enumeration can be made more accurate. Citizenship participation and crowd-funding ventures can also be revolutionized using blockchain technology.
- Healthcare: Blockchain offers a secure, decentralized, and efficient solution for digital health records exchange and pharmaceutical supply chain management. Blockchain technology makes redundant the siloed nature of health records by compiling them in distributed ledgers. This interoperability allows doctors to view patient details which are otherwise scattered across many systems. This technology can be further leveraged for temperature monitoring and counterfeit drug prevention in pharmaceutical supply chains. All access control can be with the patient though.
- Environment and Energy: Blockchain technology helps to increase the efficiency of existing-grids as well as the peer-to-peer transaction of energy and payments. It can increase trust and transparency in the carbon credit exchange and reward individuals who recycle as well as produce clean energy.
- Agriculture: Farm to fork can be revolutionized with blockchain technology with improved transparency, traceability and efficiency in the entire supply chain from farmers to consumers. It can help to save revenue by bringing down food contamination and food fraud incidents by taking out the third party and improving supply chain tracking. The technology will ensure that farmers receive timely payment for their produce.
- Philanthropy: Blockchain technology has caught the attention of Philanthropists as they are using it to bring in more transparency toward the rightful usage of their generous contributions. Blockchain also helps charitable organizations by enhancing transparency, reducing costs through disintermediation, and enabling new mechanisms for monitoring and tracking impact. It will also provide emerging models for new sources of revenue and fundraising.
- Digital Identity: Blockchain based digital identity allows user-centric databases which allows individuals to have a complete control over who has access to their data. This will help to reduce fraud, increase transparency and efficiency.
- Land Rights: Blockchain technology brings in transparency to land registration process and allows storage and verification of titles and ownership. It reduces documentation-based fraud and paves way to improved information, efficient processes and transactions. Blockchain enabled smart contracts can make official processes like land registration much easier and save time and cost.
- Education: Blockchain technology will help to reduce the administrative cost levied to verify and authenticate records as well as to provide a secure and immutable record of attendance and performance which can replace current methods of issuing certificates. It can enable a compiled portfolio of all student related information. Students can benefit from it by compiling their workbook into a distributed ledger that peers can benefit from.
- Sanitation and water supply: Blockchain technology creates an efficient way to track and record water data as well as to create more efficient markets for natural resources that are being exploited.
Focusing on Blockchain’s potential to reduce cost, increase efficiency, instill trust and improve security will enable this technology to move away from the hype and become a full-fledge technology enabler in all spheres of businesses.
(Disclaimer: The author is Founder and CTO, Empirical Data and views expressed in this article are those of the author.)