Written by Gordon Meyer
Blockchain has gotten a lot of hype in the past few years as the technology behind cryptocurrency. While the buzz around Bitcoin has faded, companies of all sizes are quickly catching onto the untapped potential of the technology to revolutionize the way they do business.
According to a 2018 study, business technology buyers predict that 56 percent of enterprises will be using blockchain technology by 2020. This rapid adoption of blockchain has already started with some of the largest companies in the U.S. like IBM, Bank of America, and Microsoft investing heavily since 2015.
Why are these tech and financial giants flocking to the technology? Blockchain essentially helps keep information, data, and money safe. It also improves computing speed at record-breaking rates. As a decentralized and distributed ledger, blockchain allows pieces of the database to be edited without compromising the safety or speed of the database as a whole.
While blockchain is applicable to any business working with data, these are seven of the key top industries that have the most to gain from blockchain technology.
Banking and Finances
Because blockchain got its start in cryptocurrency, companies managing actual dollars and cents were naturally among the first to pay attention. Blockchain is ideal for managing private and public finances by keeping transactions more secure and cutting down on transaction times from days to minutes. Reports are revealing that 69 percent of banks are already experimenting with the technology, and the implications are international.
AIn 2018 IBM announced a joint venture with Maersk to digitize global supply chains using blockchain. This will effectively reduce barriers to international trade that could potentially increase international trade by 15 percent, creating jobs and boosting global economies.
When it comes to protecting consumer data, the healthcare industry perhaps has the most to gain from blockchain. Our current system of healthcare record management leaves personal data scattered across decades and multiple doctors’ offices.
Imagine being able to access a lifetime of personal health information in a single, secure location. Not only could patients have a more reliable way to access their information, but physicians could be granted immediate access that could provide life-saving information.
The real estate industry is notorious for creating long paper trails. With large amounts of money, paperwork, brokers, and bankers—the process is long and susceptible to hacking. One feature of blockchain that could revolutionize real estate in particular is smart contract technology.
Smart contracts help you cut out the middlemen by transferring money and property more transparently in a single secure location. Think of smart contracts like a vending machine. Parties put information in and a signed legal contract comes out. Instead of going through a brokers and lawyers, you would be able to use the smart contract drop in your digital currency and personal information and process the transaction securely in one spot.
Additionally, when it comes to paying rent, mailing checks and money orders could be a thing of the past with blockchain transaction technology.
Politics and government
Say goodbye to voter fraud and tedious ballot counting. Blockchain has the potential to save countless hours and human-error mistakes by transferring votes securely through distributed ledgers.
Beyond voting, the implications of blockchain on government functionality and corruption prevention are endless. Smart contracts could protect government funds by only distributing money safely only once specific criteria are met. Individuals who depend on government funding or approval could bypass red tape to receive instant approval or denial. And by increasing security and transparency, political corruption could decline in historic measures.
The effect of blockchain on the legal industry will likely prove to be as nuanced as the industries lawyers represent. Groups like the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium are already organizing to set the legal groundwork for the use of blockchain for law firms across the world.
Blockchain has the potential to expedite criminal cases and cut out paperwork with smart contracts. It also has the power to completely transform the corporate filing system by storing records in a single, high-speed location. Beyond the endless use cases, the law itself will evolve to set standards for blockchain technology. Just like the Internet, blockchain will help lawyers be more efficient rather than eliminate jobs.
Small business ready to scale
When it comes to getting ahead and scaling over the next five years, blockchain is an inevitability. There is good news for businesses that don’t have the budget and bandwidth of IBM. Because blockchain is still relatively new to the market, small businesses can get in on the ground floor by getting up to speed with the technology and starting to strategize a small-scale implementation plan.
If you are ready to join the blockchain revolution, enroll today in our 8-week course, Blockchain for Business. Go from basics to a full business strategy by learning directly from blockchain industry experts.