You’ve probably heard of blockchain. This decentralized distributed public ledger is being lauded as the next big technology that’s going to revolutionize our way of life. You might have heard about it in the context of cryptocurrencies.
While Bitcoin’s ledger was the first blockchain, the technology has since expanded to a plethora of other uses. So, how exactly can we use blockchain?
1. Digital Currencies
We’ll start with digital currencies since they’ve been so important to the development of blockchain and because it is one practical use of the technology. It’s useful because it allows for immediate transfers of funds, cuts banks out of the equation and makes the financial records in the ledger immutable and transparent.
Since the introduction of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies have gained a lot more acceptance. Various retail stores now accept it, and some governments are even looking into creating state-sponsored digital currencies.
2. Supply Chain Monitoring
Another use for blockchain is the monitoring of supply chains. Using the blockchain could enable supply chain managers to see every time an item changes hands and access a record for each item.
Ultimately, it could help make supply chains more efficient and reduce errors by improving visibility into the network and promoting collaboration between supply chain participants.
Blockchain could one day revolutionize elections. Blockchain could help prevent voter fraud because the digital records, the votes, would be unchangeable. It could also help increase voters participation because since citizens could vote online from anywhere. Blockchain voting has already undergone some minor testing in the U.S., and other nations, such as Thailand, are experimenting with it as well.
4. Property Transfer
Blockchain could also replace paper records used to transfer ownership of homes, land, cars and other large assets. Instead of using a paper title, you can store the title on the blockchain, creating an easily accessible, clear documentation of ownership.
Several companies, such as Atlant, are also using blockchain to decentralize real estate investing and allow anyone to purchase token representing a portion of a real estate investment.
5. Data Storage
Blockchain could also become the go-to technology for storing data in the future due to its security features, and experts believe that decentralized cloud storage could be one of its most advantageous uses. This technology could change cloud storage by getting rid of the need for cloud storage providers to control the data. It would also help prevent data from getting lost, stolen, leaked, accidentally deleted or otherwise messed with.
6. Medical Recordkeeping
Medical records are especially sensitive kinds of data that need to be protected. Blockchain could help do that by creating immutable, secure records and giving patients more control over their data.
Medicalchain, one of the first companies working in this area, lets patients decide who gets permission to their records. It also makes it easy for them to share anonymized records with research institutions and compensates them for doing so with tokens.
7. Digital Identification Authentication
Microsoft is also getting in on the blockchain action. It’s working to create a system for blockchain-based IDs that would help people take control of their digital identities.
This solution could help prevent identity theft and enable people to prove their identity. Instead of giving their personal information to numerous apps, people could just use their secure digital IDs, reducing the amount of personal data spread between apps.
8. Copyright and Royalty Protection
In the digital age, ensuring creators get paid the royalties they’re owed is a challenge for the entertainment industry. The blockchain could help with this issue by creating a transparent but secure ledger of royalty payments, ensuring that artists get paid for their work.
Blockchain is certainly useful for a lot more than just cryptocurrency. The above applications are just a few of the current and potential ways we can use this technology. Don’t forget about blockchain — you’re sure to keep seeing this technology around for a while.
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