The continuing integration of technology has become a global norm. Hence, it is no surprise that blockchain technology plays a significant role here. More transparency, lower costs, and overall increased efficiency are just some reasons why companies are starting to invest more time and energy into developing solutions based on blockchain.
Numerous public companies are already engaged in this phenomenon, and over the upcoming years, several breakthroughs are expected, including in sectors such as healthcare, finance, voting, and others.
Businesses have a soft spot for this technology because it has multiple benefits, mainly impacting productivity and ensuring operations can be conducted transparently and efficiently. In addition, the blockchain inspires trust, a must for both sides to complete healthy transactions.
Sometimes when the parties (the customer and the provider) are still not familiar enough with each other, a mechanism for building trust and ensuring that everyone holds their side of the deal — in terms of payment and supply — can be helpful. A well-structured blockchain can do that, lowering costs by removing ‘middle-men.’
Moreover, it is no secret that there is dissatisfaction with the big fintech companies, such as PayPal and Payoneer, which practically decide how we pay online and how much they charge for it. Blockchain, on the other hand, promotes the idea of decentralization. As a result, no single entity influences the process and can change the rules at any point.
Security and privacy are also manners of concern, or in the ‘old economy. With blockchain entering the picture, the possibilities are seemingly endless. End-to-end encryption, decentralized storage of data, and various other concepts can help keep financial transactions more secure. On the privacy front, data is anonymized and requires permissions to access.
Enhanced speed is another reason why companies are gladly embracing blockchain technology. The elimination of intermediaries and replacing manual processes with digital ones make the blockchain operate smoothly and quickly, increasing overall productivity. Furthermore, with more and more processes being conducted via blockchain, scalability solutions such as Layer 2 are now entering the picture, pushing the technology to an even higher level of performance.
Data is one of the essential commodities in a world dependent on technology. Blockchain can take care of this, enabling individual control of data. As a result, your information is under your complete control. However, when sharing it with other parties, rules-based solutions (such as smart contracts) put necessary boundaries on how the data is being shared.
Tokenization is another significant benefit because it’s the process that enables participants to interact with each other using digital assets. On top of traditional cryptocurrencies, which are gaining traction compared to conventional money, digital tokens can be used in financial transactions and the NFT sector as a backup for artwork or other valuable assets.
When it comes to healthcare, blockchain can change how providers securely exchange data with each other. As a result, a reduction of redundancy, and improvement in diagnosis speed – without invading the patient’s privacy – can be achieved more quickly.
Additionally, the technology can monitor supply chains related to drugs, improving safety and fighting counterfeit medication manufacturers, while also lowering health insurance premiums. As a result, the global market size of blockchain applied in healthcare is expected to surpass $200 million in 2022 and grow at over 60% per year by 2028.
The financial sector accounts for over 60% of blockchain’s worldwide market value. The likes of Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and XRP attracted those who see potential in the alternative, decentralized financial system.
While it might be argued further improvements are needed in the way this system functions, such as broader regulation on a global scale, investors were pouring capital into digital assets at a record pace in 2021.
According to Fortune, $30 billion entered the crypto space last year alone, leading to rapidly rising valuations on some leading names. The global crypto market capitalization topped $2.8 trillion in November 2021. Despite a substantial setback recently, digital assets valuations remain elevated compared to historical figures, while new participants in the market continue to be attracted to trading cryptocurrencies.
The blockchain can innovate voting, making it easier, faster, and more secure compared to the current situation. It can protect voter identity while also supporting remote voting. Preventing fraud and tampering issues is also potentially possible.
For that reason, there are several startups currently designing blockchain-based solutions for secure online voting.
One of the most popular discussion topics in 2022 is the Metaverse, described by Binance as “a concept of a persistent, online, 3D universe that combines multiple different virtual spaces.” This relatively new concept of digitalization is now attracting a lot of capital, and the design of the blockchain fits well into this picture.
Blockchain users can benefit from digital proof of ownership, digital collectability, transfer of value, governance, accessibility, and interoperability. Although the term “Metaverse” can be traced back to the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, it has only recently rapidly grown into a promising trend, one that could change how businesses, governments, and people conduct their daily operations.
Generally speaking, paper records are problematic, since they come with multiple flaws such as theft, loss, and forgery.
The blockchain can negate many of these, including recording physical assets. For example, when discussing the manufacturing of auto parts, companies can track them in a supply chain and spot those that are counterfeit. This technology can also be helpful when an automotive recall is needed.
This is not just a vision but a reality. For example, there are tens of millions of cars recalled each year. In addition, top automakers such as Ford, BMW, Honda, and GM have already formed the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), a solution for tracking vehicles and parts. Basically, with Vehicle Identity (VID), cars have online track records, including maintenance history and registration.
As highly regulated as it is, construction is another industry where blockchain can generate improvements. Via solutions like identify validation, checkup, and tracking is made to be much simpler.
At the same time, blockchain technology can ensure materials are sourced from trusted providers at an adequate quality. With smart contracts, real estate firms can reduce fees and costs while making purchases.
Some companies are already using the blockchain in this sector. One example is HerenBouw, a firm based in Amsterdam that relies on a ledger to create an accurate, auditable record of the orders placed and paid out.
But wait, there’s more
Several other sectors where blockchain technology can come in handy are the Internet of Things (IoT), energy management, research, clinical trials, government and public records, law enforcement, and gun tracking, to name just a few.
However, for this vision to materialize, there needs to be an initiative from the industry itself, and regulations set up clear guidelines on how the blockchain can be used appropriately.
To summarize, blockchain turns out to be more than just a disruptive technology, with an upside potential that has yet to be explored. Used appropriately, and with rules-based processes behind it, blockchain can also have a substantial economic impact in the long run.
Increasing productivity is critical, especially after the past two years, during which supply issues became a concern worldwide.
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