Blockchain is a decentralized, shared database which holds transaction records. Since it is a digital ledger, any change in the data is transparent and visible by all participants with permission to access. The ties between the blocks are sealed by cryptography. Unlike in centralized databases, there is no possibility of data forging and neither can the previous transaction records be destroyed. This ensures a level of trust among the participants, which centralized databases lack.
Although the technology has been around for some time now, it has gained momentum in the last few years only. The future of blockchain is promising. In fact, according to a report by International Data Corporation, it is forecasted that worldwide investment in the technology will rise to a whopping $11.7 billion in 2022. Another survey by Deloitte comprising of over 1,000 CEOs confirmed that half of them were already planning to incorporate blockchain solutions in their companies and 30% of them were already using it.
The future of blockchain and cryptocurrency, if implemented, promises a number of rewards and benefits. Envision a decentralized system vowing security, immutability, and transparency.
Transactions histories will become more transparent. Since we already established that blockchain is a distributed ledger form, all the participants share a mutual document instead of individual copies. These documents are updated with everyone’s consent. If one wishes to change the record of a single transaction, he/she will have to alter all the subsequent records. This makes the process consistent, accurate and transparent.
Security is one of the biggest concerns for companies. Transactions need to be agreed upon. Once a transaction is approved, it is linked to the previous transaction after being encrypted. Since data is stored on multiple computers rather than just one, it becomes difficult for hackers to attack. This stops unauthorized activity and prevents fraud.
Traceability is another important issue when dealing with products via a complex supply chain. The knowledge about their origin is hard to trace. Blockchain helps in data collection of the asset and also records every stop that it made throughout the journey. This makes the authentication of the asset easier.
Trading is a time-consuming process as it involves traditional heavy paperwork and documentation. There is also the risk of human error, requiring third-party mediation. Blockchain can automate and streamline trading processes with proper and efficient record-keeping. Since a digital ledger is involved, it also reduces paper clutter and allows everyone with permission to access the records. This also leads to quicker settlements.
Reducing costs is a top priority for any business. With blockchain in practice, the need for any middlemen and third-parties is eliminated. The data on the network is the only guarantee needed.
With its implementation, it can be expected that our day-to-day services and businesses will change for good. Every industry, no matter how big or small, in some way, can be affected by its potential. This disruption by blockchain will most likely enhance the following industries the most.
Collection, storage and access to patient’s health records will be secured, preventing discrepancies. Sometimes, it is the lack of sufficient data or delay in accessing it that can cause fatalities. This can be limited and prevented with blockchain technology in the healthcare system.
Charitable organizations use funds to support a cause. There have been outright cases of corruption where the funds received were used for purposes other than the cause. Thanks to blockchain technology, receipts of each transaction will be stored in a public ledger. This will make the system more transparent and those offering donations will know that their hard-earned money is used for the right cause.
Data storage is another field that will drastically improve with blockchain innovation. Storage will become incorruptible, transparent and secure. Undoubtedly, technology will revolutionize the way cloud computing functions.
The energy sector is also ruled by the middlemen. Blockchain technology will eliminate the need for them altogether and allow individuals to sell and buy energy via smart contracts. Communities can develop microgrids where homes can be powered with energy and prevent any outages due to a disturbance in the demand and supply.
The banking industry is going to be disrupted by instantaneous transactions via the internet via safe networks, faster data management, reduced costs and zero human error. Doesn’t that look like the perfect solution for banking institutions? This is something that blockchain can provide you with.
When adapted, tamper-proof ledgers can store personal data about potential employees which will help the HR departments to sift through for the ideal candidate without any tedious and laborious background checks. Not only will this save everyone’s time, but it will also streamline the tangential processes.
Data storage from the very first transaction to the last in orderly blocks can help with the verification and tracking of the overall costs, waste, emissions, and labor.
Government agencies too will go through a reshaping process with blockchain technology. For starters, sufficient time will be saved that is otherwise, used up due to delay from internal financial institutions. Blockchain technology will create, enforce and implement budgets using simple and transparent practices, preventing monetary losses in the process.
A decentralized voting system will guarantee transparency to voters as they may access and audit their records anytime they want. This will limit the manipulation and rigging via computers and prevent any alteration to the election results.
E-commerce shopping will become safe and easy. With the adoption of blockchain, people will prefer buying online using digital currencies as it is easier to trace back payments and installments.
Blockchain technology can render middlemen like brokers, inspectors, notary publics and escrow companies obsolete. Think about it, instead of paying several different parties separately, the seller and buyer can deal directly. Since every document will be a part of a decentralized network, there will not remain a need for any third-party intervention to verify the process.
The future uses of blockchain offer myriad options for business. Its promise to offer transparency and legal authority to trace ledgers makes it an intriguing and exclusive technology. But what does the future for blockchain technology hold for those intrigued with the idea of implementation? Here are some blockchain future trends and possibilities worthy of a discussion.
Smart contracts make blockchain a desirable technology. Smart contracts are software programs that offer overseeing aspects of an agreement from its facilitation to execution. When parties commit to all the conditions, they become self-enforcing and self-executing. It is safe to say that smart contracts feature a more automated and secure alternative to old-fashioned contracts. The potential applications can be limitless and encompass an extensive range of businesses and industries.
Cross-border transactions have been slow and expensive for centuries. One reason is that when multiple currencies are involved, it takes more time for transfers as the transactions have to go through multiple banks and locations before getting to the recipient. It isn’t that there aren’t services to facilitate and speed up the process, they are just a bit expensive at the end of the day. But this will soon stop as more and more people start relying on the blockchain technology. It has the potential to make faster and cheaper international payments, cutting the cost from a whopping 20% to just 2% in remittance costs.
Identity security is one of the biggest concerns in today’s internet-driven age. As much as companies promise you to keep your personal info safe, there are always some nefarious players looking to get hold of that information and use it against you. Blockchain technology provides identity management solutions with an impressive level of security with its robust verification processes, eliminating the possibility of identity thefts, scams, and hacks.
The job market will witness an increase in the demand for blockchain developers. Since blockchain is a relatively new field, it offers a great opportunity for individuals wishing to embark in it. Many freelancing websites report an increase in the demand for individuals with blockchain skills. To say the least, the future of blockchain developers looks prosperous and promising.
It is also expected that more IoT companies will implement blockchain technology to set an accessible framework for future communication between IoT devices. Blockchain has already gained approval for its high resistibility against cyber-attacks. Hopefully, it will continue to do so in the future as well.
It is still too early to predict what the future of blockchain technology will look like. What we do know is that the technology is gaining momentum at a swift rate. After all, it is because words like transparency, immutable, and trustworthy are associated with it.
So if you are still deliberating whether blockchain is something you should implement or not, know that there will come a time when the question will not be “Whether you should opt for it or not?” but “Why aren’t you using it, already?”