The Potential Disruptive Power of Blockchain Technology

3 minutes   |  SYSTEMS & TECHNOLOGY


Blockchain technology continues to drive the way digital information is distributed. It has altered the landscape of the financial sector, but it has by no means reached its full potential yet.1 In order to get a glimpse into the true disruptive power of blockchain technology on sectors beyond the financial industry, one needs to be clear about its definition. Put simply, blockchain technology acts as a global public ledger that’s efficient at mechanically recording and verifying high volumes of digital transactions, regardless of location.2 It’s the technology which underpins digital currencies such as Litecoin, Bitcoin and Ethereum, among many others.

You only have to consider the five underlying principles of blockchain technology to see its potential to disrupt various processes across diverse industries:3

  1. Distributed database
  2. Peer-to-peer transmission
  3. Transparency
  4. Static records
  5. Computational logic

The untold potential of Blockchain

Cryptocurrencies are proving blockchain’s usefulness in the banking sector, but it has the potential to disrupt and transform many other industries. It’s easy to understand why, as there is a growing need among many industries including voting, internet identity and DNS, critical infrastructure security, internet advertising, education and academia for applications that offer a verifiable and transparent register of transactions.

This is especially true as blockchain’s use of decentralised platforms makes it resistant to fraud.According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 25% of Global 2000 companies will use blockchain-related resources by 2021 as a basis for digital trust.5 The IDC predicts that by 2022, worldwide spending on blockchain technologies will exceed more than $11 billion.6

Many visionaries are poised to take full advantage of the incredible potential of blockchain, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who joined a blockchain firm, Planet Capital in 2015. Wozniak will work as an advisor and director at the company, involved in exploring the opportunities of emerging blockchain technologies. According to Dan Sokol, chief technology officer of Planet Capital, “Having an engineer as innovative as Woz around to look over our shoulders and make suggestions is priceless.”7

Insurance

The insurance sector is primed for the integration of blockchain technology. Utilising the distributed ledger’s inimitable authentication ability, insurers can independently verify information contained in contracts to enable a simplified process at every stage.8 From minimising fraud to developing a system where some claims can be verified and handled very quickly, blockchain technology’s computational could streamline basic processes.9

Voting

Around the world, whether in developed or developing countries, ensuring the integrity of the voting process is a major concern. Voting processes need to be accountable and fair, and there can’t be any doubt as to their legitimacy. Blockchain technology is set to have a major impact in this area.

This is due to blockchain’s distributed ledgers being publicly accessible and immutable, leading to increased transparency in the process.10 In particular, blockchain technology’s transparency and static records will enhance the authenticity of voting results as anyone with access to the network can view actions of associated values.

Forecasting

Many companies, like Gnosis, a prediction market platform is a perfect example of how to use this technology in the development of global decentralised prediction markets.11 Its peer-to-peer transmission and distributed database capabilities could help streamline data organisation in forecasting, from weather prediction to traffic models.12 This is not the only application for blockchain technologies in forecasting.

WeatherBlock,13 a decentralised ecosystem for peer-to-peer weather data exchange, is another example. Powered by BloomSky, this smart weather camera station is the world’s only network with visual weather data used to train image forecasting models with the use of machine learning. It uses a system of data, which is based on macro-atmospheric circulation that uses next-gen blockchain platforms.14

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 25% of Global 2000 companies will use blockchain-related resources by 2021 as a basis for digital trust.

Retail

The retail industry is geared for this level of disruption. Blockchain technology has the potential to bring sellers and buyers together directly, thereby removing the middleman and keeping rates competitive.15 The peer-to-peer principle underscoring blockchain is a perfect example of how this technology has the potential to remove the bank as the middleman between the buyer and seller.16 This would keep fees to a minimum so that both the buyer and seller wins.17

Real Estate

The real estate sector is an industry susceptible to both fraud and bureaucratic delays due to a lack of transparency.18 Australian Celebrity Chef, Dani Venn, was recently hacked out of $250,000, indicating the real estate sector is also vulnerable to creative scams.19

Public records are also frequently riddled with mistakes.20 Blockchain technology could lead to speeding up real estate sales and transfers, and keeping records honest using the transparency and static record principles that underpin it. By helping along the process of tracking and verifying ownership, and also reducing the use of paper, blockchain technologies are set to vastly improve the real estate sector.21

A practical way in which blockchain is changing the way the real estate sector operates is through the introduction of smart contracts. It allows records to be available to everyone, and not just those who subscribe to exclusive listing services. In fact, smart contracts have the potential of reducing the role of realtors in the industry, and thereby reducing the fees and commissions associated with completing a real estate transaction.22

Australian Celebrity Chef, Dani Venn, was recently hacked out of $250,000, indicating the real estate sector is also vulnerable to creative scams.

It’s clear to see how the potential disruptive power of blockchain technology is poised to impact the way the world’s economy operates.23 Through smart contracts, static records, distributed databases and greater transparency, blockchain’s impact is being felt far beyond cryptocurrencies. Sectors across the global economy are set to benefit from a blockchain disruption in the near future, and we’re yet to touch the tip of what blockchain can do.24

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