H eard about Bitcoin and Altcoins lately? You probably have, thanks to the entire buzz surrounding Bitcoin’s record-breaking growth. 2017 was definitely the year of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies where the former one has surged from more than $950 at the beginning of the year to as high as $20,000.
The blockchain is another “B” word that is very popular. However many people are mistakenly lumping cryptocurrency into the same category as Blockchain. True, the two are undoubtedly related, but they’re not one in the same.
The blockchain is defined as a digitized, decentralized ledger that registers all cryptocurrency transactions. A Blockchain records every single digital transaction and exchange of services and value or private data exactly as it occurs. To make it simple, picture a global spreadsheet running on millions of computers. All the transactions being made are visible to everyone and they’re all conducted without any middlemen.
The main supporters of this technology? Big banks & tech giants. And that’s no surprise because we all know that big businesses drive innovation. In the beginning, Blockchain caused a stir, mainly within the tech sector, but it has pronged out to other sectors. The benefits are more than big enough to sustain its relevance for generations to come. It is predicted that by 2022, the market for Blockchain related products and services will reach $7.7 billion. More and more, industries are testing out this technology in order to run a more efficient, transparent and secure system — not to mention remaining current and competitive.
Without further ado, here are the top industries that that could be disrupted with Blockchain technology in coming years.
1. The Banking Industry
The banking and financial services industries have a complex relationship with Blockchain. Banks securely store money for their customers and handle money transfers. For these services, they charge high fees. Apart from the monthly charges, customers also pay fees for things like making payments on their credit cards.
Blockchain’s secure system could solve several problems for banks. The undeniable, lasting record of transactions could lower risks for banks.
Customers easily will be able to see the status of their payments at any time.
However, change isn’t easy, especially when changing requires the revamp of existing systems as well as an alliance among banks and financial service providers who perhaps never thought they would work together on anything. But, with many startups and banks interested in the possible value of Blockchain technology, it’s no longer a question of Blockchain disrupting this industry.
2. Remittance Industry
The transfer of money by a foreign worker to an individual in his/her home country is called Remittance. These cross-border transfers are economically important for many countries that are at the receiving end.
Therefore many remittance companies make their money by collecting a fee from someone who transfers money through their platform. So how could Blockchain disrupt the remittances industry?
- Reduced time: A Bitcoin transaction takes approximately 10 minutes to be confirmed by the Blockchain network; now imagine sending money to your relatives or friends from overseas in that time as against the present scenario where it takes one or two days for confirmation.
- Reduced cost: remittances from abroad costs about 5 per cent of the transaction. The bank which is sending the money, receiving bank, clearing central banks all receives a commission from the transaction. Blockchain avoids these mediators, thereby reducing costs significantly.
3. Stock Trading
The stock trading business profits from commissions and fees. When people buy or sell stocks, they need to pay a broker or middleman. Companies have worked to make the process of buying and selling stocks easier, but there are still more improvements that could be made.
With Blockchain technology, trades can be made precisely and inexpensively. Blockchain offers huge potential for tracking securities repo, margin financing and monitoring systemic risk.
The first trading company to start issuing its stock through this Blockchain technology was Overstock.com. In the long term, more companies may follow its lead.
4. Online Music Industry
Blockchain technology has the potential to shake up the online music industry. Through this technology, artists may be able to offer their songs directly to their listeners. This will let them avoid the streaming services completely. Artists may also decide to offer songs through the technology instead of going through a record label. The immutable security that Blockchain technology provides can be utilized to find solutions to prevent unauthorized distribution. A music track can be encoded through Blockchain which ensures that a unique record is created every time a song is played preventing ‘ripping’ of the content.
5. Real Estate
One of the major investments that most of the people make in their lifetimes is buying a home, yet to date, there have been very few technological advances to speed up the process and make it more secure for buyers, lenders and homeowners alike. Currently, there’s a lot of paperwork involved with real estate transactions. Mistakes in the paperwork could slither into public records with fraud being another possible complication. These issues keep real estate agents and mortgage companies busy.
With Blockchain technology, real estate data like land titles can be stored safely and permanently. Smart contracts could be shaped that would only release funds when contract conditions are met. That’s what escrow companies do now, so this new technology could be quite disruptive for them.
From medical records to the pharmaceutical supply chain, there are plenty of opportunities to use Blockchain technology in healthcare.
Managing and protecting information within healthcare is the major idea impacted by possible Blockchain adoption. For patients to get good care, their medical records need to follow them from one doctor to another.
When patients see a number of doctors, it’s easy for records to get lost. Sometimes the records are not even transferred between doctors. This causes issues and patients could receive poor care. They could be misdiagnosed or receive treatments that aren’t effectual due to their partial records.
The blockchain is an excellent platform for data storage, and it can be used to hold patients’ medical records. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and other healthcare institutions could all see patients’ complete medical records.
7. Shipping and Logistics
The world is run by trade!!
Logistics and communication flow is a vital aspect of human existence which forms the backbone of the transfer of goods and services.
As global trade and logistics continue to expand, more proficient methods are being developed to assist effective service delivery and value transfer. However, Blockchain is bringing a different facet to the logistics industry especially in the areas like efficient tracking and transparency.
Shipping out anything is a series of handovers and having an absolute record of custody chain transaction makes it impossible to misplace the track of who is liable for an asset during each handover.
This technology combines custody chain control with the transparency of undeniable record-keeping. This creates a network that daunts any malicious activity as they will ultimately become known due to system transparency.
8. Ride Sharing Industry
Ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber disrupted the taxi industry. However, that doesn’t make them unaffected by disruptions of their own. To use the service of any ride-sharing company, customers should go through a centralized network to find drivers. The ride-sharing companies are mediators between drivers and riders and take a commission from the fees.
Since Blockchain implementations are promptly widening across every business, signs of this technology overtaking the cab industry are apparent. For a business that’s been constantly evolving over the ages and over years, moving to a step further won’t be a surprising development in any way.
9. Education And Academia
Could Blockchain revolutionize education?
Universities, often the birthplaces of new ideas certainly think so and they are leading the way with this new technology.
People misplace essential papers now and then. Sometimes students lose their diplomas at the most inopportune time. And then, there are students from war zone areas planning to continue their education in a different place. Students who have trouble getting a copy of their educational records can get the advantage of Blockchain-encrypted credentials.
The “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” (MIT) with their app called “Blockcerts Wallet”, is now issuing virtual diplomas that their students can receive through their smartphones along with the traditional paper certificate. The digital certificates are tamper-proof and can easily be shared with other universities and employers.
While Blockchain has the ability to revamp these nine major industries, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Organizations are still looking for the ways through which this technology could improve their services and fix issues that exist in the world today. Any industry that would benefit from secure centralized data storage now has the option to grab the opportunity that Blockchain has provided. It is clear that Blockchain could change not only these industries but our everyday lives as a result.
Many experts predicted that since the creation of the Internet, Blockchain will be the most disruptive technology. Given the number of industries which are changing by this distributed ledger technology; it is starting to look like this prediction will come to fruition.