What is the blockchain? It is quite often the case that a revolutionary technology expands its reach onto unparalleled fields, breaking down the traditional barriers of what technology can and cannot do. Automation and computer technology could have never been perceived as a tool for healthcare, but now healthcare is inconceivable without the idea of computer technology and automated processes. The blockchain is a similar mode of technology that has now expanded onto different spheres that immensely transcend its own, particularly because the technology was introduced solely as a mechanism for the finance sector, ensuring that the traditional barriers posed to profit-making and financial efficiency could have been broken down.
The article will describe how can be the blockchain used daily in:
- blockchain in Travel
- Real Estate
- Public Transport
- Marketing in the era of the blockchain
- Human resource
- Education on distributed networks
- Cloud storage
Blockchain, however, quickly expanded onto fields such as travel, banking, and insurance— an expansion based on the technology’s ability to control, dispense, and make available large pools of data while also ensuring that data is secure, valid, and verifiable. While blockchain has primarily been used for the creation of cryptocurrencies and a decentralized mode of financial transactions, in its fundamental and foundational self, it is a neutral instrument that can be used for the collection of data.
How Blockchain Works
At the very core, blockchain applies to such a wide array of fields concerned with the dispersion of data because it can provide a universally accessible repository of data that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, and at any time. This means that records can be posted onto blockchain, and it can act as a global archive for anyone to access. Here is a list of the different fields, industries, and processes that the blockchain will work to revolutionize.
While Bitcoin and blockchain generally go hand in hand, Bitcoin is the manifestation of a blockchain-based cryptocurrency. Bitcoin uses a very basic version of the blockchain, wherein it uses the blockchain as a public ledger that is used to audit every transaction on the system. Bitcoin’s rise to fame was the monumental price fluctuations that it saw (there is no shortage of Bitcoin blogs), and it is essentially the first version of a cryptographic currency operating on the block chain ledger.
With Bitcoin news and Bitcoin stores all over the internet, people tend to ignore the rise of Ethereum, which uses an advanced version of the block chain. Ethereum uses the blockchain for smart contracts- a digitalized version of contracts based on the block chain that allows the verification of any transaction in decentralized exchanges. Ethereum is often referred to as Bitcoin 2.0, particularly because it uses an advanced application of the blockchain.
Cardano is essentially a third-generation version of cryptocurrencies based on the blockchain; unlike Bitcoin, Cardano provides proof of stake, which is essentially an advanced and more efficient way of ensuring that transactions are validated; this use of the block chain is essential for many of the applications that we will mention later in this article, since the proof of stake model allows for cloud nodes and cloud storage, hence providing a more efficient way of ensuring that data is distributed.
Flying High: Blockchain in Travel
The most pertinent impact that blockchain will have on travel is in terms of stability and security; one of the most important features in any travel-related work is the ease and speed with which information is transferred, which essentially means that the faster and more accurate information is transferred across systems or across networks, the better and more efficient any travel-related procedure will be.
With the blockchain, it is quite easily understandable that information will never go, ‘offline’; that is, all information will be stored in an accessible repository available for view by all, which essentially means that factors such as fluctuating price because of demand or bad reviews because of a particular isolated incident will have less of an impact in determining the decisions made by travelers and travel agents alike.
Blockchain may also be able to consolidate the various processes that entail the buying and selling of real estate- it may be possible for a homebuyer to complete the sale of a house, along with various other buying-related exercises such as insurance and fees, by buying from a website that operates on the blockchain.
The blockchain will essentially help in consolidating and connecting all procedures related to buying a house via its decentralized network, meaning that the immense hassle associated with the various legal and/or other processes that underpin buying a house can easily be eliminated when the blockchain comes into play.
Blockchain and hassle-free Public Transport
Similar to other data-sharing related processes, public transport can also greatly benefit from the blockchain and blockchain related systems. As was the case with traveling, public transport greatly benefits from the blockchain’s ability to be stable and provide security.
With the rush and buzz of several buses and trains going around several different places in a localized area, it is essential that data is managed in a chronological order that remains secure and stable. It would be phenomenal if all the data- from the information of each commuter to each bus that carries them, is deposited in a single chronological repository that provides access across the board.
One of the biggest issues with music and the sharing of any artistic work is copyrights; there have been several occasions wherein the inability to properly track information or to understand how information is transferred from one place to another has led to massive financial losses amongst other reputational repercussions.
Blockchain will essentially make sure that the transfer of any and all data or information is audited by all those with access to the data, which would mean that any malicious intent would immediately be detected.
It is perhaps essential to understand how medical data is stored within the blockchain before moving onto the different ways through which blockchain can be applied in medical data collection. When any data is uploaded onto the system, it will be assigned to a content class based on the medium of origin.
For example, data provided by the customer will be uploaded to a different content class, whereas data provided by, say, the insurer, will be uploaded to a different content class. This classification of content will then be logged onto a pre-formulated index, and meta-data will be used to provide accessible classifications on the index. The system will also create a documented portal for the entry of new data, and these will also be sorted depending on their content class so that data is sorted and consolidated.
The application of blockchain in medical data records is quite simple and intuitive. It is essentially premised on the idea of creating a unitary and singular repository of medical information that exclusively holds the medical records of all the different data collection centers for healthcare information, and then broadcasts it on a globally accessible platform that can be used for both, the uploading of new data and the collection and consolidation of data from all the different data collectors that are linked to the blockchain.
This will essentially ensure that the imperfection of healthcare and medical information is significantly reduced since the variety of data collection centers that hold different components of data, sometimes even on one patient that has had medical treatment from a variety of different health care providers, will all deposit information on one forum that automatically collects all this information and consolidates it into a singular block of data.
Marketing in the era of the Blockchain
Blockchain-based marketing is revolutionizing the way marketing seen in the world; it is a representation of the broad-based and all-encompassing nature of the blockchain technology and embodies the very nature of information distribution in a decentralized system.
Through its decentralized nature, blockchain allows communication between all relevant parties without marketing, ‘middle-men’ that can jeopardize a project because of poor communication or ill-intentions. It is also important because it keeps data safe and secure; for example, if a company has access to groundbreaking research on consumer preferences and does not wish to disclose such information, there is perhaps no better solution than to upload the data on the blockchain; this would essentially mean that data can move from one ‘block’ to the other only when all those with access to said data permit the transfer.
You are hereby summoned to provide information faster than ever before
Similar to marketing, Law sees essential benefits from the system that the blockchain hopes to establish; an important component of all law-related projects and procedures is the need to ensure that information is chronologically and coherently collected, both of which are essential not only in the implementation of law but also in discussions about and research on law.
For a process and a system that is so immensely essential to the smooth functioning of any nation or government, the fact that the blockchain, in its capacity as a decentralized and connected repository of information, provides a valuable asset in making the Law more accessible and effective is representative of the immense benefits that the technology brings.
Blockchain in insurance will essentially serve three main functions: providing comprehensive data sets, reducing the possibility of fraud, and creating a dynamic relationship between insurers, clients, and healthcare providers.
With the ability to consolidate information through smart contracts and be a unilateral information repository for the entire healthcare field, blockchain will have the ability to provide insurers with a comprehensive set of data about a client’s medical records and medical history.
This will not only ensure that the data collection costs of insurers are significantly reduced because they only require access to one data collection system, but is tied to the second function, reducing the possibility of fraud. Many insurance companies have stringent and extensive measures to ensure that they are not being duped by individuals who provide partial or incorrect medical information, and blockchain, by virtue of being a comprehensive collector of data, will ensure that withholding information becomes very difficult.
Finally, it will ensure that data is constantly updated and broadcasted onto all recipients of a data cloud, and hence will ensure that insurers, the insured, and medical professionals are constantly informed of each other and are aware of the different facets of the relationship. This significantly reduces costs and simultaneously ensures that all healthcare-related activity is efficient and quick.
One of the biggest issues with any recruitment process is the lengthy processes that surround verification and vetting, especially when candidates are coming from different backgrounds and employment histories. The blockchain may be able to make resumes and other career-related profiles redundant by providing an automatically updating repository of every individual’s employment history. With a public blockchain available for view by employers, blockchain may be able to transform the way candidates are recruited completely.
Governance – The “Blockchain” City?
Similarly, governance can greatly benefit from the blockchain, especially because it provides an avenue through which complex sets of information regarding the entire system that underlies the operation of a country can be condensed onto a unified chain.
Each block in the blockchain can account for the various statistics and information that is essential for the smooth operation of a country or a locality, and the fact that all this data can be available across the board for different aspects of the administration to understand, benefit from, and use to their advantage means that the blockchain presents itself as an essential resource in developing what people are now calling, ‘smart cities’.
Education on distributed networks
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits that the blockchain and similar technologies can bring to society is through its application on aspects related to education and learning; education is an essential component for the progress of any society, and all educatory aspects depend on the transfer of information.
In a day and age when even education is being transferred online, it is essential that a mechanism be devised that allows the easy and accessible transfer of information. Block chain provides this luxury to educationists and students alike, particularly because it allows information to be shared on distributed networks open to access by all.
While projects such as Coursera and MIT OpenCourseWare and few at the moment, once blockchain is integrated into the system, expect more and more ways to expand learning across traditional boundaries.
Another common issue that the blockchain promises to resolve is that of transparency; while this transparency can be addressed in various avenues, perhaps one of the most beneficial ways through which the blockchain can be beneficial to society is through its ability to make sure that donations and the transactions of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are transparent.
The process through which this is done is simple; since the blockchain provides a distributed ledger, it allows all those who have been involved in a transaction on the blockchain to audit each subsequent transaction. This essentially means that every donator will be allowed to audit every transaction that their NGO makes, and any meddling with the ledger would automatically be flagged since it would require changing every transaction ever made on that particular blockchain.
Another important way through which the blockchain can play an important role in reforming the way information is viewed and understood in the international world is through improving privacy and security measures. The blockchain is configured in a way where access to information is only provided to another individual or entity if everyone on the blockchain agrees to the formation of another block; this means that the privacy of individuals, especially in sensitive cases such as healthcare and insurance, is safeguarded by the blockchain and to also allows every user to take full control of who and who does not get access to said information.
Cloud Storage operates on a similar mechanism; the storage of information is the essential basis on which the blockchain operates, not only will it allow cloud storage in terms of the quantity of the information that it can store, but the blockchain can also play an essential role in chronologically ordering any such storage and ensuring that information is coherently collected.
Blockchain can be beneficial in banking because of three main advantages: security, stability, and the dispersion of information. In terms of security, its advantages are obvious; the blockchain, as mentioned previously, provides an essential avenue for securing data in a manner that no other technological advancement has done, this means that information as sensitive as the credit card numbers of customers can be safely controlled with the blockchain, making it an essential resource.
Similarly, it provides stability in the sense that information on the blockchain can never go ‘offline’, meaning that once your bank does put all its information on the blockchain, you probably will not have to worry about the ATM not working because of a broken connection.
The Developing World
One of the most pertinent, if not the most important, impacts of the blockchain will be its use in dispersing information to areas where access to information is harder or unaffordable. For example, if a health center in a developing country does not have access to research that can allow it to cure a fatal disease, the blockchain can help provide such information through its decentralized network; this would mean that there will be no added cost to providing information to an area that is not in the usual network, and hence would allow the blockchain to play an essential role in bridging the information gap between the developed and developing world.
There are several ways through which the blockchain can provide essential, revolutionary changes to industries and processes related to the transfer and dispersion of information. While the technology does have its downfalls, perhaps the essential benefit that it has is in its ability to provide a wide array of solutions that traditional information-carrying technologies do not. Blockchain provides impregnable security, unabashed stability, and lightening-speed transfers of information that are irreplaceable in industries such as banking and healthcare.