One of the most discussed topics in tech industry today is blockchain technology. We are beginning to understand what a blockchain is, but how can we best use this technology within our business? At its simplest, cryptocurrencies, or digital coins, are coins that are passed through an electronic network. You can use various kind of virtual currencies, most famously Bitcoin (BTC) but also Litecoin, Peercoin, or Dogecoin, among others, where you use an electronic coded address to make the transaction.

Technically, Blockchain is a distributed database, spread across many computers with no central control that could transform governance, the economy, businesses and the functioning of organisations. And by the way, it’s already here, not only in Bitcoin, but in many other services and commodities – badges, credits, and qualifications.

Here are the 10 Blockchain applications that will transform society in 2018 and beyond,

1. Blockchain Internet-of-Things (IoT)

In the coming years, IoT will look completely different than it does today. Many industry experts and excited consumers have pegged The Internet of Things (IoT) as the next Industrial Revolution or the Next Internet. Blockchain working along with IOT will create new opportunities. For instance, a code connected to your appliance can be linked to the internet and alert you when your cookies are ready or if your laundry has stopped. These alerts keep your appliances in good condition, they save you money regarding energy efficiency and help you control your devices when away from home, among other benefits. Encrypting these appliances on the blockchain protects your ownership and enables transferability.

2. Blockchain Healthcare

Personal health records could be encoded and stored on the blockchain with a private key which would grant access only to specific individuals. The same strategy could be used to ensure that research is conducted via HIPAA laws (in a secure and confidential way). Receipts of surgeries could be stored on a blockchain and automatically sent to insurance providers as proof-of-delivery. The ledger, too, could be used for general health care management, such as supervising drugs, regulation compliance, testing results, and managing healthcare supplies.

3. Trade Processing and Settlement and Cross-Border Payments

This bring a huge opportunities for broker, custodian, or the settlement manager. In a traditional approach each one keeps their own records which create significant inefficiencies and room for error. The blockchain ledger reduces error by encrypting the records. At the same time, the ledger simplifies the process, while canceling the need for intermediaries.

In 2015, cross-border payment flows totaled more than $150 trillion. But, the whole system still remains error-prone, costly and open to money laundering. The blockchain is already providing solutions with remittance companies such as Abra, Align Commerce and Bitspark that offer end-to-end blockchain powered remittance services.

4. Digital Voting

The greatest barrier to getting electoral processes online, according to its detractors, is security. In the 2016 election, Democrats and Republicans questioned the security of the voting system. The Green Party called for a recount in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Using the blockchain, a voter could check that her or his vote was successfully transmitted while remaining anonymous to the rest of the world. In 2014, Liberal Alliance, a political party in Denmark, became the first organization to use blockchain to vote.

5. Blockchain Identity

Imagine never having to worry about your digital security every again. It’s a massive problem in the world. Which is now estimated to cost the industry about $18.5 billion annually, according to a report released Thursday by Distil Networks.

Some companies whom we purchase from sell our identity details to advertisers who send you their ads. The blockchain blocks this by creating a protected data point where you encrypt only the information that you want relevant people to know at certain times.

6. Your car/ smartphone

Primitive forms of smart property exist. Your car-key, for instance, may be outfitted with an immobilizer, where the car can only be activated once you tap the right protocol on the key. Your smartphone too will only function once you type in the right PIN code. Both work on cryptography to protect your ownership.

The problem with primitive forms of smart property is that the key is usually held in a physical container, such as the car key or SIM card, and can’t be easily transferred or copied. The blockchain ledger solves this problem by allowing blockchain miners to replace and replicate a lost protocol.

7. Travel And Hospitality

For travel and hospitality, a shared distributed ledger can simplify the settlement process. Blockchain technology can support loyalty points programs that include a more advantageous accounting of liabilities created by the accrual of points, real-time updating of points balances, and improved points management across franchised operations.

8. Blockchain Applications in Music

Key problem areas in the music industry include transparency, clarity of ownership, and royalty distributions. Ever since online music sharing began, the industry has struggled with finding new ways to monetize digital music files that have now become non-scarce digital goods.

By utilizing blockchain technology and smart contracts to create a comprehensive and accurate decentralized database of music rights, the possibility for instantaneous and totally transparent transmission of artist royalties, including realtime distributions to co-writers, producers, technology partners, publishers, and even labels is now a possibility.

9. Automating regulatory compliance

Beyond just being a trusted repository of information, blockchain technology could enable regulatory compliance in code form – in other words, how blocks are made valid could be a translation of government legal prose into digital code.

In the case of banks, for example, this could mean improving efficiency in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. Blockchain technology can be calibrated to do different things – permit transactions or report transactions of a certain type according to exact rules.

10. Ride-sharing services

One of the most important properties of blockchain technology – the elimination of the need for central authority and middlemen – could become a backbone for the real sharing economy, or sharing economy 2.0. In the current model, every ‘sharing economy’ service has a central authority, while similar services built and operating on blockchain technology would directly connect supply and demand in the most efficient manner.

In the ride-sharing industry, for example, Uber and Lyft and two dominant players leading the pack. Both are brands that consumers and drivers trust to match supply and demand. Soon enough, blockchain could fundamentally transform the model with the next generation of companies taking over the niche.

About Author

Biplab Ghosh

Biplab lives his life around technology and is particularly keen to explore the intersection of technology and human behaviour. Always looking for new ideas, and ways that can make things simpler. He is a geek with the flair for travel and has great passion for music and theatres.

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