Blockchain technology rose in popularity due to its association with cryptocurrency. However, its applications have now expanded beyond recording bitcoin transactions. It’s currently being used to store all sorts of data in different fields, such as healthcare, human resources, and real estate.
For the uninitiated, blockchain is a distributed ledger of sale, transfer, and purchase transactions of digital currencies. With solid security as its best feature, blockchain has caught the eye of many public and private sector organizations that intend to use it for building immutable databases.
Blockchain technology can improve data integrity, security, and transparency, which are critical factors for companies in data-driven industries. Furthermore, blockchain can help simplify transactions and reduce operational costs.
The Economic Impact of Blockchain
With the benefits enumerated above, it’s pretty clear why so many enterprises are interested in incorporating blockchain technology in their operations. In fact, worldwide spending on blockchain solutions hit $2.1 billion in 2018.
That’s not surprising, considering the technology’s recorded potential annual savings to the tune of $8 billion to $12 billion for banks that have adopted it.
A blockchain’s shared infrastructure can help streamline processes and ensure consistency. Hence, it can provide ways for businesses to modernize costly and non-secure systems and platforms, as well as make data gathering and analysis more efficient.
Blockchain offers a higher degree of protection and privacy for an organization’s confidential information. It’s especially valuable in areas like asset management, financial transactions, supply chain management, and data collection.
How Blockchain Can Help Consumers
It’s evident that blockchain can benefit businesses in large industries. However, how does it affect everyday consumers? Below, we’ll discuss several ways it can change multiple aspects of our future lives.
More accurate voting systems
Politics shape how societies function. Blockchain can help revolutionize this field by providing a more secure and effective infrastructure for casting, counting, and monitoring votes.
A blockchain network can capture votes as time-stamped transactions. Because it’s an immutable and transparent system that requires authentication, the technology can eradicate the risks of fraudulent voting.
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Increased transparency of government records
Many government organizations still rely on paper-based records. With blockchain, data can be organized and managed in a highly secure network that keeps a history of traceable modifications. This will increase the organization’s accountability and reduce the risk of fraud.
Moreover, because blockchain is a decentralized network, it provides more transparency than typical databases. In this digital age, people value public access to information, especially government records.
Convenient retrieval of medical records
Medical records can be misplaced, especially for patients that go to multiple healthcare facilities. In addition, the system software of one facility may be incompatible with another, making the transfer of data inconvenient. Plus, there’s the threat of healthcare fraud, which happens when patients are billed for services they did not get or treatments not necessary for their conditions.
Blockchain technology can help medical centers build a system that protects each patient’s confidentiality while ensuring no record is lost or tampered with. With a patient’s permission, one’s entire medical history can be safely saved and instantly retrieved when needed. Also, medical fraud can be prevented with a system that is protected against hacking.
More efficient financial services
Blockchain technology can simplify various aspects of a consumer’s personal finances, from taxes to investment records.
Another good example is credit card use. Suppose you use your credit card to purchase something. That transaction will undergo several verifications. In addition, the merchant will be charged a service fee. With the help of blockchain technology, credit card transactions can be completed without an intermediary, thus eliminating the extra cost.
Moreover, blockchain technology will allow banks to automate processes, thus reducing the number of mediators needed for conducting transactions. Automation will push banks to reduce processing fees since they don’t need human intervention.
Improved transparency of charitable donations
Blockchain also enables individuals to track their donations accurately. They can stay updated on where their contributions are going and how they will be spent.
This functionality enhances transparency and accountability in the donation process. Plus, it can help resolve the growing problem of charitable organizations stealing donated money.
Seamless processing of loyalty programs
A blockchain network can decrease the need for intermediaries to release gift cards and monitor sales transactions that involve the use of the issued gift cards. This way, it will be much harder for unauthorized users to steal accounts. Moreover, this will make the process of opening accounts in loyalty programs smoother and more cost-effective.
Growth of video streaming and gaming sectors
When blockchain is incorporated into the processes of video streaming and gaming companies, they are predicted to enjoy significant growth.
With its decentralized ledger, blockchain technology can allow gamers from around the globe to exchange assets across multiple computer networks, get rewards, and track the information they upload.
More convenient peer-to-peer payments
By limiting the participation of third-party intermediaries, blockchain can improve relationships between sellers and buyers. With the use of digital wallets, blockchain technology can make peer-to-peer payments faster and more convenient.
This system is especially helpful for retailers since they can easily track payments using blockchain. As a bonus, the technology also boosts security and adds a sense of transparency through smart contracts.
Blockchain enables users to maintain their unchangeable and unique identity records. Because of the network’s intense security, personal data cannot be accessed or obtained by any unauthorized party.
It can also safeguard computer systems from DDoS attacks and provide an extra layer of protection on a user’s private online messages.
Blockchain technology has revolutionized the operations of numerous companies in a vast range of industries. This development will benefit not only the businesses that use blockchain but their customers and the general public, as well.
In the future, blockchain can further improve how we process and manage data. With that said, cryptocurrency may be a promising venture to help you become your own boss should you explore the field.
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