Blockchain is radically disrupting almost every industry given its inherent capacities for immutable, transparent, decentralized and highly efficient means for recording and sharing data and transactions. This is highly significant for business, be it for global supply chain management, interbank transaction processing or even buying and selling real estate. After eagerly exploring how blockchain will change the real estate space, I’ve come to realize that this is no longer just enterprise-level technology. It’s now having a huge impact on regular people like you and me.
As this technology earns its stripes through every successful implementation, we too can take advantage of the myriad benefits of blockchain technology in our daily lives without having to understand the highly technical aspects that make it work.
From my perspective as a blockchain advisor, I can tell you with certainty that blockchain is precipitously advancing the proficiencies of so many industries, social interests and humanitarian efforts, and is bringing about equally valuable transformation that we can leverage today to improve our lives.
The value of blockchain technology in the health care market is expected to surpass $16 billion by 2025 (paywall). Securely maintaining and efficiently distributing patient data is one of the ways in which blockchain is currently transforming the industry. Enabling doctors, clinical researchers and pharmacists to access secure and reliable electronic health records, blockchain platforms facilitate managing extensive medical records while ensuring personal privacy and regulatory compliance.
For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, MediLedger is utilizing blockchain to provide a secure platform that offers its users the option of smart contracts and traces certain prescription drugs from the manufacturer to the patient’s doorstep. By utilizing a blockchain network, each step on the process is able to be stored and time-stamped.
Earlier this month at the Global Blockchain Summit in Denver, I had the pleasure of speaking with the leaders of Denver-based health-tech companies Orderly Health and BurstIQ, which are partnering to offer an “integrated machine learning and blockchain solution for best-in-class provider data management.” Tapping into the traceability and immutability of blockchain will enable accurate, trusted provider data management.
At the same time, blockchain technologies are forging new and better ways for people and societies to interact more productively. Any technology that drives social impact, promotes transparency, reduces costs and creates greater efficiency is sure to be a valued advancement. According to a study published by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, “20% of social-good blockchain initiatives are providing a solution that would not otherwise have been possible without blockchain, and 86% are material improvements over existing solutions.”
As we know, one of the most critical elements of fair trade is provenance — transparency in the chain of custody. Not being able to verify and track an asset’s provenance can be highly detrimental as there is no way to determine authenticity, which can not only lead to significant financial losses but also to losing considerable consumer goodwill. Is this diamond truly conflict-free? Is this coffee really fair-trade? Blockchain is enabling the establishment of verified and tamper-proof attribution from source to sale. As products move along the supply chain, the use of blockchain allows them to be tracked permanently, leaving an auditable trail ensuring complete transparency and creating an ecosystem of trust amongst stakeholders.
So, when it comes to doing our best to live as mindful humans and ethical consumers, blockchain-empowered businesses and organizations are where we might focus our “voting power” with our money. Everledger is one such business using blockchain technology and working with a wide range of stakeholders across the diamond supply chain to enable consumers to be well-informed regarding the lifetime journey of that precious representation of eternal love.
Outside of the diamond industry, blockchain is being put to good use. Walmart has been working with IBM to develop a food safety blockchain solution, and recently announced it is now requiring suppliers of certain vegetables for Sam’s and Walmart to upload their data to the blockchain. So hopefully, before long, we will no longer have to worry about E. coli in our produce anymore.
Traveling opens minds, brings about greater understanding and is usually a rewarding experience. At the same time, tourism is a powerful economic force for many nations around the world. While a lot of money is generated through tourism, it is also one of the least regulated industries, but now blockchain allows for transparency, efficiency and convenience to be put squarely in the tourists’ domain.
Travel is a social engagement, after all, so it seems reasonable that blockchain-based travel platforms would take shape as social networks. For example, Tryvium is a decentralized booking platform for all kinds of accommodations that brings tourists worldwide into their tokenized booking and loyalty ecosystem. Also joining the fray is On-Life, which is creating active tourist communities where people share their experiences through the blockchain-based app intended to prevent fake reviews while offering business owners the opportunity to be recognized and profit from providing superior products or services. Blockchain enables the creation of unique travel experiences while becoming independent from external centralized sources that can manipulate information.
These are just a few examples of how blockchain is currently in the process of transforming our lives for the better. Whether we’re aware of it or not, blockchain is not just a crypto-asset platform, nor simply a new-fangled accounting system, but a benefit-packed software platform that can be adapted to solve so many of the challenges of modern life that have been without solution prior to now. It makes you wonder: What challenges are you facing that the powers of blockchain could solve?