Technology is an amazing thing. Although people are not usually very receptive to new, emerging technologies, their proliferation can change the way people live and how business is conducted around the globe.
What people need is vision to see how the new technology they are resisting today can be used to change their lives for the better tomorrow. Technological innovations and innovation-driven growth can impact a lot more than we are able to perceive otherwise. In fact, some of the innovative ideas are so powerful that they can disrupt entire industries and transform the way we do business.
The newest of these powerful technologies that is likely to take various industries by storm in the years to come is blockchain technology.
Blockchain is a decentralized database that uses a mathematical structure for storing data in a way that’s nearly impossible to fake. Such a database can be programmed to store not just financial transactions but virtually everything of economic value.
Let’s say you have a Microsoft Word document where some changes need to take effect from a collaborator’s end. The traditional way of sharing this document would be to send it to the recipient with a request to make changes. However, you’ll not be able to see or make other changes until you receive a return copy. Since you’re locked out of editing the document, the only way you can proceed is once the other person is done with the work.
That’s usually how databases work in today’s business environment: Two collaborators can’t alter the same data at the same time. It’s also how financial institutions make financial transfer and maintain money balances: The access to the financial data is briefly restricted while a transfer is being made, then the other side is updated, and then access is reopened.
Now, with a cloud-based app like Google Docs, both parties can have access to the same document at the same time and the single version is visible to both of them. This shared documents analogy explains the underlying concept of blockchain technology. When distribution comes into play, the document is run on millions and millions of computers and, through state-of-the-art cryptography, the information is made accessible to everyone in the network, but with virtually no possibility of alteration. What that means is that you can add new entries to the database, but the old data stored in it, in the form of blocks, cannot be altered, adjusted, or changed.
Blockchain technology is poised to revolutionize industries and the way businesses operate around the world. By rendering a central authority irrelevant, it establishes trust through collaboration and code. So, you may no longer need a financial institution just to maintain balances or make money transfer around the globe. Neither may you need an escrow account or a real estate agent to enter into a home purchase deal. In fact, you may not require a central authority to facilitate a business transaction of any kind at all.
While technological improvement and supporting platforms around the blockchain ecosystem are constantly evolving to widen its scope, some industries are going to benefit from this technology sooner than others. Here are the three industries that are most likely to be impacted by blockchain technology in the near future:
Blockchain technology facilitates a more secure way of storing banking records and more efficient and economically feasible way of transferring money through decentralization. Since there is no central “vault”, the risk of system collapse, or a run situation is going to be minimal. It’s as if the power of running the financial affairs will be placed back in the hands of individuals, with each person’s money having its own secret vault that no other individual or institution can access. And those financial institutions that are operating at maximum efficiency can focus on new ways to cater to their customers and their individual needs.
Cybersecurity is going to feel the power of blockchain technology a little earlier than most. Since the whole basis of blockchain technology is to create a tamper-proof, decentralized mechanism of storing, verifying, and encoding data, using it to improve online security can prove vital across industries. Data storage in the cloud which is not centralized and is secured through advanced cryptography helps eliminate many of the problems associated with data hacks that have become a real concern for major of industry players over the last few years. Through blockchain technology, organizations can protect data from hackers, prevent any potential fraud, and reduce the possibility of information from being compromised or stolen.
One of the key challenges business face in today’s communication environment is safety. Electronic communication is certainly faster and cheaper than traditional/print medium, but it is also susceptible to interception and manipulation. With blockchain technology, we can mend the frayed fabric of trust in the digital communication ecosystem.
All ill-intended efforts made to access, steal, and misuse data (in forms of clickjacking, malware, spyware, phishing, cross-site scripting, session hijacking, privacy-invasive software deployment, man-in-the-middle attacks, and any other kinds of fraud attempt) will be rendered “economically infeasible” since it would involve a virtually impossible amount of work to game the system. Blockchain technology’s consensus-based and tamper-proof mechanism delivers a record of the shared digital truth based on evidence rather than trust, which uniquely addresses our concerns for data safety and security.
Other than the aforementioned industries, blockchain technology can also disrupt business processes in a range of different other industries. From eliminating massive paperwork in the real estate industry to enabling a secure sharing and storing of medical records in the healthcare industry to streamlining verification process of academic credentials in the education industry, the technology’s application is as far-reaching and multi-faceted as the solution it provides.
The question remains: How flexible and willing are businesses to to transform their core operations, and what role may blockchain technology have in their planning for the future?
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