Blockchain technology first gained popularity with the emergence of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In short, it's the driving force behind modern cryptocurrencies. It maintains the peer-to-peer connections and transactional records that make cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin a viable option in the first place.
However, the application of blockchain technology isn't limited to cryptocurrency. In fact, there are many legitimate uses for blockchain in the 21st century.
Supply chain monitoring: Let's face it – paper trails are hard to follow. Not only does blockchain technology eliminated the need for paper-based records, but it makes it much easier to identify suspicious trends and their origin.
Loyalty rewards programs: Rewards programs are a big hit with consumers. While some are inherently better than others, they all provide incentives for regular product use and brand loyalty. These programs are also a great fit for blockchain technology as it eliminates much of the potential for fraud as well as the waste that is typically associated with paper- or card-based reward systems.
Smart contract management: The blockchain also lends itself to smart contract management. These are created on top of a blockchain-based ledger and are even capable of running individual functions as needed.
Data encryption: With growing concerns over data privacy and the ever-present threat of identity theft, consumers are more interested in encryption than ever before. The private key system that blockchain currently uses provides a shield that is nearly impenetrable by anyone but the intended target.
Voter verification and identification: As modern polling technology has come under fire for its accuracy and vulnerability, IT experts are beginning to consider the ramifications of a blockchain-based voting system. Not only is blockchain fully verifiable by all parties, but the results are easily audited by anyone who is interested in doing so.
Real estate and property ownership: Some real estate companies are already using the blockchain to buy and sell houses, but it can also be used to store important documents like property titles and other transaction records. The increased transparency reduces the amount of time it takes to ultimately close a deal.
Stocks: While many cryptocurrency sites already act as miniature exchange markets on their own, blockchain can be applied to the traditional stock market, too. Not only does it provide instant transfer and settlement, thus negating the standard two- or three-day wait, but it's a far more cost effective way of doing business, too.
Data backup: Blockchain technology can even be used to archive and backup data. The idea is so popular that Boeing is already considering its usage on GPS receivers meant for new jets and airplanes.
As you can see, there are a myriad uses of blockchain technology. While it's gained somewhat of a bad reputation, primarily due to the extreme fluctuations seen in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, blockchain itself is a highly secure, efficient and verifiable platform that offers many different benefits in modern computing. Although there's no telling what the future holds, it's hard to imagine making much progress without involving blockchain technology.
Examining the Uses of Blockchain Beyond Cryptocurrency
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