Blockchain technology is currently catching the attention of mainstream industries around the world. Various startups from various sectors are now lining up to adopt this distributed ledger technology which promises far greater levels of transparency, efficiency, security, and productivity than most current technologies offer.
The blockchain technology offers a decentralized and transparent method for two or more parties to conduct transactions involving money and high-value assets and exchange valuable documents or information in a highly secure manner.
Although the most popular and successful application of blockchain technology has been in the creation of digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, etc. the Blockchain technology can prove to be highly transformative to several industries.
Let’s take a look at a few of them:
While the digitization of healthcare systems and records are a reality in many parts of the world, India’s healthcare industry is still heavily reliant on paper-based records. There is a pressing need for modernization and digitization within this sector which is still encumbered by inefficient systems. Blockchain technology has the ability to help make healthcare information transparent and easily accessible for patients and providers while keeping it secure from hackers.
As music and videos went digital about two decades, piracy became a growing concern for music artists, production companies, and record companies who lost control over ownership of content as well as revenue streams due to online downloads. However, today the entertainment industry is looking towards blockchain technology to create better digital rights management systems for media such as music and videos and find new content monetization opportunities. Many companies are developing blockchain-driven solutions that are aimed towards creating a standard system for authenticating content ownership and rights on a global scale.
Real estate industry
Anyone who has ever purchased or sold a home knows just how much paperwork is involved in a real estate transaction. Blockchain technology can eliminate all the hassles of such paper-based processes and complex transactions arising at the time of the exchange of fixed real estate assets between two or more parties. With blockchain, all documents are involved in such deals. Smart contracts powered by blockchain will play an integral role in managing both fulfillment of legal requirements for real estate transactions and help in disbursing funds as soon as the pre-determined criteria for the sale and purchase of assets are met.
The blockchain is a technology that has caught the attention of not just private businesses and crypto exchanges, but also the Indian government, which has committed a substantial amount of money for the development of IndiaChain, the country’s own home-grown answer to Blockchain.
According to reports, the government is also exploring the possibility of blockchain being used to maintain land records, health data, and linking it to India Stack, a digital framework developed around Aadhaar. The government has also been keen on using the distributed ledger technology as part of the Digital India initiative and bring greater transparency and accountability in the country’s existing banking system. It is no surprise that alongside developments like these, blockchain players operating in India find themselves in an unusual fix due to the government’s ambiguity in recognizing virtual currencies.
Although IndiaChain is envisioned as a foundation on which a decentralized digital banking system will be based, allowing blockchain-powered cryptocurrencies to operate, albeit in a regulated environment, will be the key to building a truly digitized and cashless economy.
Therefore, the government’s approval for the use of virtual currencies will not only help transform the way in which financial transactions are conducted, but also bring more transparency into them to prevent fraudulent transactions from taking place.
Banking and Financial Industry
Without a doubt, the most popular application and the launchpad for cryptocurrency into the global economy is the financial industry. The issue with today’s banking systems, as sophisticated as they are compared to decades past, is that they lack inclusion and fairness. Interest rates and transactions are heavily lopsided in favor of financial companies, and customers gain little from their interactions with banks.
The situation is made worse when one notes that banking services are absolutely necessary. Individuals are forced into unfair deals. Additionally, there are billions in the world who have no access to a bank at all, which is an even worse circumstance to be in.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain can universally rectify the situation. With a smartphone and an internet connection, both of which are widely available, anyone can bank, start a business and receive payments. With incorruptible ledgers and no centralized authority for oversight, financial services on the blockchain would place power back in the individual’s hands, offering solutions without exorbitant interest rates and middleman fees. The banking industry even suggests that up to $20 billion can be saved by eliminating infrastructure and middleman costs.
Bitcoin has the first-mover advantage, and we need only look at the news to see how Bitcoin has disrupted the financial industry. Ripple comes from a different angle – it seeks to work with banks and not do away with them. Ripple has drawn attention for its notable partnerships with many banks, most recently with Saudi Arabia’s central bank. Its emphasis on speed for large global scale transactions between banks and its growing network of participating banks has made Ripple a true disruptor.
Another cryptocurrency to keep an eye on in this space is OmiseGo. It is an Ethereum-based platform that has one very clear goal: to offer the full range of financial and payment services to any individual. They have an eye on the developing world, where many citizens are without a bank account. Their platform is designed to be agnostic between currencies – it does discriminate between fiat and cryptocurrency usage. A secondary objective is to help people transition from fiat usage to cryptocurrency usage.
This looks rather like an unexpected application of blockchain, the publishing industry too can benefit from decentralization.
Today’s publishing industry is largely in the control of a small group of publishers. It can be difficult for a yet unrecognized writer to break into the industry, and their success is dictated by the whims and fancies of these publishers. Digital publishing and the internet have made it easier for writers but even then, the scale and recognition of traditional publishing are still lacking.
A platform like Authorship is set to overturn the current system, where influence is in the hands of publishers, by using a tokenized system that recognizes the work of any writer. Publishers can choose to digitally publish writers and print their books, should they feel convinced of their quality and should demand exist. The token system ensures that writers get their fair share of pay. Writers can also write and publish without the assistance of publishers. Translators will also receive payment and approval from publishers if they choose to translate a work.
The bottom line here is, in whatever industry financial mechanisms favor one party over the other, blockchain, with its transparent and trustless nature can come in to equalize the system and ensure that everyone gets their fair cut.