Blockchain has been one of the technologies that are most cited on those “emerging technologies” lists at the beginning of each year for the past several, yet there is no mainstream indication that the technology is being integrated into tools that can benefit businesses and individuals. Today, we thought we would take a look at some of the ways blockchain technology was going to be used to improve digital systems and what is taking so long for these tools to be developed and initiated.
Explaining Blockchain Technology
Before we get into the uses of blockchain, and how far along the different uses of it are at this point in time, let’s review what blockchain technology is. Blockchain is a distributed ledger system that is encrypted to provide an uneditable chain of transactions. The technology effectively provides the security, reliability, and transparency that can make it useful in many applications; which is why it has been lauded as a revolutionary technology that has the potential to transform our world.
When people talk about a technology the way that people talk about blockchain, it’s hard to know what is conjecture and what is practical. For blockchain, however, it really is the kind of technology that can make huge inroads on making data systems more secure. This is why it is kind of surprising that development of blockchain-inherent tools aren’t being pushed too fast.
If you are talking about practical blockchain technology, it starts with cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is mined by users completing verified transactions to create blocks. As blocks are completed and added to the blockchain, users get the cryptocurrency. Depending on the blockchain that is being used, this currency can be Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, etc. While this is admittedly cool, solving the world’s cybersecurity challenges has very little to do with cryptocurrency.
All types of industries were searching for ways to utilize blockchain to improve reliability and security in their IT systems especially fields that include healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing and distribution. Since the technology has already proven its value, it’s really a matter of companies using production examples of blockchain solutions. That’s where the problem lies.
A Technology that Literally Changes Everything
The main problem with replacing the systems we have in place today with blockchain-fueled ones is a matter of—like most things in business—cost. It’s been proven, albeit in specialized cases, to effectively eliminate costs and surplus time out of almost any process, but trying to reinvent whole industries is going to take some time. It’s not just a matter of inserting a blockchain into a piece of software, and it will require a massive transformation in a lot of the parts of the value cycle to effectively implement. Decentralization isn’t the normal operating procedure and it’s going to take some time to build blockchain-integrated tools that work for businesses in different industries and for different purposes. In fact, it’s going to take people changing the way they view the transparency of information.
That’s not going to happen overnight.
Industries that are Using Blockchain
A few industries have been able to make blockchain-fueled tools work for them. They include:
- Asset management
- Capital market infrastructure
- Global trade and commerce
- FinTech and payment systems
- Real Estate
- Individual identity and access control
- Contract management
And the list is growing rapidly. It’s only a matter of time before businesses of all sizes and all strategies will be utilizing secure, reliable, and transparent blockchain technology.
What do you think? Is blockchain something that you believe in? Would you like to see more blockchain-related content to help you understand the concept a little better? If so, leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and check back soon for more great technology information.