As most people know, blockchain technology is the backbone of cryptocurrency and what makes it work. However, there are a plethora of other uses as well.
Blockchain is a network which can be used to share information across numerous industries, particularly where data sharing is essential.
The number of industries that may be affected by blockchain is astounding and it is likely to be a huge industry disrupter in the near future.
We are yet to see all possible applications of how blockchain can be used, but it can affect almost any area where data is shared.
There are still new innovative ways people are coming up with every day to apply blockchain technology. Many of them are yet to be used or started.
Let’s look at some of the ways blockchain is applied today and where it may be applied in future.
Blockchain technology has the potential to change the healthcare industry in a number of ways.
For a start, it can change the way we share medical information such as research and people’s records across hospitals.
With blockchain, it is possible to build an online library of medical research that can be used by everyone.
This library can be used to create a consensus about the right treatment for different illnesses across the globe, which could dramatically help the developing world.
Contributors to such a system can also be compensated for what they provide the blockchain with.
An algorithm can measure how much they have contributed. The more they contribute, the more they get.
This may be a more effective way to conduct medical research, rewarding them for contributions that widen a topic.
Patient medical records
Healthcare can also benefit from storing patients’ records all in one place.
If patients’ records are all readily available on a blockchain, they will be much easier to access and review when a patient is admitted instead of asking the patient about their medical history.
Not just for doctors, but also nurses and pharmacies. When drug prescriptions are given out, they can be tracked and doctors can know if patients are taking their medicines correctly.
On top of that, it makes it easier if a patient goes from one hospital to another for their tests to be readily available so the second doctor doesn’t have to perform the same tests and ask the same questions.
This saves time and can speed up the whole process of treating a patient, which can be crucial in some cases.
But this is not without problems. Some critics have cited the right to be forgotten. If information is put on the blockchain and it is immutable, hospital patients may not want this.
And to make things more controversial, the security of people’s health information needs to be addressed.
Hospitals are known not to have the best and most up to date computers and software. By using a blockchain to protect such information, it may be safer from hacks.
However, there is also the danger of medical records being accessible directly through the blockchain. If this happens, patients’ data could be leaked, especially if the blockchain is public.
That said, with blockchain technology, patients could own their data, not the hospitals or doctors. While they won’t be able to edit the information, they will have control over who sees it.
They will also have the ability to add a permission key on the blockchain, not the data itself, to keep the data accessible, but not public.
Doctors will need to be given consent from the patient. One way this can be done is with smart contracts.
There are many people involved in logistics and a lot of communication is necessary which usually means a lot of paperwork.
By using blockchain technology, end to end flow of information is achieved without being clogged with paperwork and the time it takes to ensure each file is correct.
Perhaps one of the most obvious ways blockchain can be used is to trace delivery, not just the items moving from one location to another, but the documents required to move the items and who is in possession of them.
Blockchain technology can also store information about how they are being transferred and monitor important factors such as temperature which may affect some items.
Information is also more secure with blockchain technology.
Instead of relying on numerous databases that do not communicate and may not all offer the same amount of security, blockchain can tie it all securely and cannot be changed by hackers.
Hashes can be stored of documents on the blockchain. This way only the right people can access it, but still be public, similar to the example we gave above about medical records.
As documents can be viewed in one place, this can speed up the process and allow those involved to get resources ready for the delivery in advance.
Maersk and IBM have created a blockchain system which can simplify the process of logistics.
Blockchain technology can also be used to monitor if funds and other aid reach their intended place when delivering aid.
It can be tracked when it is being delivered and confirmed when it reaches the right location.
If funds are misused or redirected to the wrong places, this can easily be seen, which can act as a deterrent.
Music and entertainment industry
Artists rarely get all that is owed to them whether that be loyalties or simply for performing.
Further to that, artists may not get paid for songs they wrote, especially if they are not the ones performing the song.
This is because streaming services claim that they are not always able to pay or credit artists correctly because they cannot always figure out who the music belongs to.
Promotion and distribution are two parts of this which artists need to keep track of but it is difficult to do so.
And this doesn’t affect just the primary artist involved, but others involved in the music, such as other musicians, songwriters and technical contributors.
When music crosses borders it gets even more complicated as laws are different, and this can affect all areas of entertainment, not just music.
With blockchain technology, artists can get a clearer picture of how their music is being sold, distributed and used. They can be integrated into one system in which the artist is paid fairly.
The system can also be updated in real-time because different databases will be able to communicate with each other.
For example, uniting Spotify with YouTube will give artists a whole picture of how many times their songs were listened to.
Doing so can also record the change of ownership rights to the music as well.
Another use of blockchain technology is to prevent illegal streaming and piracy.
Intellectual property rights using distributed ledger technology and blockchain can be used in court, theoretically.
Micropayments can be made to the artist by fans every time they listen or purchase a song on a platform like YouTube.
For example, Bitcoin is broken down into satoshis. One satoshi is the 100 millionth of a Bitcoin.
Artists will also have more control over how their music is used.
By using smart contracts they will be able to ensure music is only used the way they want it to be, at their price, locations and reasons.
Creating a closer link between fans and artists
Fans will be able to give their money directly to the artist, not just to the record company, cutting out the middleman.
Fans can receive incentives for sharing and promoting music as well, perhaps through social media. Again, these might be micropayments, but over time, these payments can add up.
Tron is one cryptocurrency that is attempting to dominate this area.
They plan to remove third-parties such as YouTube, Google and Facebook who profit from advertising that is shown alongside content created by others who do not profit from it.
With Tron, users will be able to earn from their content being shared and viewed.
There are 2.2 billion gamers in the world and the industry is estimated to be valued at over 100 billion. That said, there are a number of areas that can be improved upon and streamlined.
In fact, the gaming industry has been highlighted as one of the biggest industries blockchains may disrupt.
Many have suggested blockchain being used to host cryptocurrency specifically for gaming tokens.
It may even be possible to pass tokens on from one game and use them in another or even transfer them across consoles.
It is also worth pondering if these tokens could be used in the real world? Gamers could then make a career from playing games.
Such rewards can also be used for eSports competitions as well.
Gamers could also purchase games directly from the developers, cutting out the middleman, thus bringing the relationship between gamers and developers closer.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Reducing the costs of advertising
Developers spend a lot of their money on advertising which means less money used on developing new games.
One of the ways in which they could reduce what they pay for advertising is to allow gamers to take control of this.
Gamers can make money from playing games and advertise them by making videos. This way they can also earn from making videos and gaming. Gaming can become a career, not just a hobby.
Blockchain technology could be used to facilitate this.
By allowing gaming developers to free up this money for advertising, theoretically, they can focus on making more high-quality games and gamers can be rewarded for loyalty.
Blockchain can be used largely for ownership of games and in-game items, passing it over to the gamer, not just the developers or the companies that own them.
Some companies now make more money selling in-game products than selling the actual game.
However, to protect the game, many developers do not allow gamers to own the entire virtual object. The developers still own the rights to it.
They do this because they do not want people to manipulate or duplicate the software.
Blockchain can be used to prevent people from doing this and still hand over control to the gamer who purchased it.
Games built on a blockchain
Many blockchain games are built on Ethereum.
Blockchain cuties is one such game where gamers can make a profit selling their players. They are unique in how they are coded and cannot be replicated.
Blockchain also makes it harder for accounts to be stolen and easier to hand over to someone you don’t trust.
With it, gamers can sell gaming items across borders to anyone around the world with a universal gaming currency.
Gamers never technically own what they sell because developers do not want to give this stuff away to prevent cheating and illegal duplication.
Blockchain technology can be used to prevent this from happening, but still hand ownership over to gamers.
EOS can also be used to build games and Tron and Ripple are also involved in this area, setting up a 100 million gaming fund.
The real estate industry can greatly benefit from blockchain technology.
Perhaps the biggest reason is that there are a lot of middlemen involved in real estate. With blockchain, owners and buyers will be able to make direct transactions.
Further to that, with blockchain technology, it will be easier to see who really owns a property and this can help when buying or selling. This will reduce instances of fraud.
Paper documents, on the other hand, can easily be forged and can be more difficult to interpret as they can take many different forms, particularly if they are old.
To make things worse, paper documents can also be destroyed or even lost. If storing it on the blockchain, they can stay there forever.
Moving property from one name to another will be easier and more secure because there are fewer parties involved.
Also, because of the way cryptocurrency is broken down, it can be easier to buy a share in a small portion of land or real estate.
This allows for microtransactions and many people to purchase small shares in a property. As the property rises in value, so will the shares in the property.
Block66 is an example of a company that is using blockchain technology to start a mortgage.
Smart contracts can be used for audits and compliance, automating the process and making it faster and more efficient.
Mortgages require a lot of information to exchange hands. All these exchanges take time. By using blockchain this can be streamlined, speeding up the time it takes to be approved.
It will also be easier for regulators to monitor lenders as well.
Elections and voting
Blockchain technology can be used to monitor and improve the election process in a number of ways.
By using a blockchain, it is not necessary to go to venues to vote, instead, voting can be done anywhere.
This is very useful for people who live far away, are disabled or people who live abroad.
It also removes the threat of people who intimidate voters at ballot boxes and makes it no longer necessary to stand in long queues to vote. Votes also don’t have to be counted by hand.
With blockchain technology, we can prevent rigged elections as results will be more transparent. They will also cost less to host and less time will be required to reach a consensus.
Voters will also be able to check if their vote was counted online and, if they feel like it, change their vote.
Why is this important to trading cryptocurrency?
The advancement of blockchain technology is hugely important to the acceptance of cryptocurrency.
It gives cryptocurrency credit for its achievements and shows that there is more value behind it that just facilitating transactions.
As blockchain becomes more accepted so does cryptocurrency. It makes it more possible for people to accept that blockchain technology can be used to facilitate and function as currency.
If you remember anything from this article, make it these key points.
- Blockchain technology will likely revolutionise a number of industries.
- It can protect ownership rights. This way people can be properly paid for their work.
- Ensure that people are properly compensated. By cutting out the middleman and number of participants involved, money can go where it is needed.
- The more blockchain technology is adopted, the better for traders. Adoption helps give cryptocurrency credit and acceptance.
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