For many people the world over, the first thing they ever learn about blockchain technology is that it’s the fundamental technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin. A blockchain is, in essence, an encrypted virtual ledger that can process and store high volumes of digital transactions in real time. Because it’s not managed by any central body, it’s often touted as a highly fraud-resistant platform.
The various ways blockchain has revolutionized banking and financial services are well-known. The privacy-focused cryptocurrency XMR, for instance, promises its users anonymous and untraceable transactions through a specialized Monero wallet. Completely peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading platforms now also exist, eliminating the need for middlemen such as banks and facilitating direct exchanges between buyers and sellers.
Beyond finance, however, companies from all sorts of different sectors have begun incorporating blockchain technology into their operations. Devotees of blockchain also predict that many more will follow suit in the near future, touting the technology’s possibly game-changing potential for innovation. Here’s a quick look at just a few of the most noteworthy industries that have embraced blockchain in recent years.
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In healthcare, blockchain technology has been employed to help providers share data with one another speedily and securely. More specifically, health data exchanges between these providers can take place on software specially fortified with a blockchain to manage user permissions and access rights. The technology thus ensures that everyone involved in the healthcare chain has complete access to one another’s networks without compromising data security, a must especially in the event of emergencies.
Efficient data collaboration between emergency services teams, hospitals, insurance companies, and other relevant parties can significantly impact a patient’s potential outcomes. Ultimately, improving the ways these parties share information paves the way for faster and more accurate diagnoses, more specialized and effective treatments, and overall improved patient care.
Travel and Transport
The travel and transportation sectors often incorporate multitudes of moving parts in their regular operations, usually in the form of multiple business-to-business transactions. The process of booking plane tickets, for example, is a complex chain of interactions between booking agents, airports, carriers, and credit card companies. Such an involved process is naturally vulnerable to errors, transaction disputes, and other setbacks.
A blockchain, however, can help streamline transportation arrangements by consolidating necessary data in a secure environment and ensuring that this information is visible to all parties involved. Common visibility in turn eliminates the possibility for inconsistencies and errors and allows operations to proceed more smoothly. Blockchain technology can also save transportation providers large amounts by cutting out the additional expenses brought on by employing financial middlemen, such as bank transfer fees, credit card fees, exchange rate fees, and others.
The telecommunications industry is one of the most essential industries in the modern world. As a result of the sector’s ubiquity and influence on business and daily life, players within the telecommunications industry also face much more extreme competition and greater pressure to innovate than those in other industries. Telcos the world over concentrate prodigious amounts of effort and resources to bringing in new customers and also safeguarding the satisfaction of their client base. As part of these efforts, these companies continually race to provide clients with the newest, fastest, most innovative technologies currently available.
Telco executives have long been aware that success in the industry hinges upon not just meeting demand, but also on coming up with ingenious ways to distinguish oneself from competitors, expanding the range of offered products and services, and bringing in fresh revenue. Many telcos turn to blockchain to tackle these challenges, particularly when it comes to addressing data privacy concerns and improving customer experiences.
Blockchain-based software solutions, for example, can protect the data of a particular telco’s subscribers from spam callers and texters. This software utilizes a scrubbing process that allows approved telemarketers to only contact users that have opted into receiving ads. Telcos are also well-positioned to use blockchain to expand their services in the direction of e-commerce. In an age where goods and services are frequently bought and sold through smartphones, offering users access to unified global payment platforms based on a blockchain affords telcos significant advantages over their competition.
Blockchain applications have been utilized within the entertainment industry to help address two of its most pressing problems: intellectual property infringement and the exploitation of artists by industry intermediaries such as record labels, music managers, distributors, and the like. Hence, many believe that the fully transparent and decentralized nature of blockchain-based solutions has the potential to shift the entertainment landscape more fully in the direction of artists and creators than ever before.
Through a blockchain, creators can encode their content’s metadata on the network and store and manage their IP rights. Because a blockchain’s ledgers are time-stamped and cannot be edited, creators can then more easily take legal action in the event that any infringement attempts are detected. Blockchain applications can also be used to facilitate peer-to-peer sales and distribution from artist to audience, cutting out the need to rely on costly and sometimes exploitative intermediaries.
Blockchain is clearly on track to catalyze even more emergent technologies and kickstart new business strategies beyond the realm of finance. As more companies employ it to support their drive toward greater data transparency and veracity, you can anticipate that interest in the technology will continue to spread through other sectors.