Blockchain is a powerful distributed-ledger technology that is set to revolutionize the way entire industries do business from supply chain tracking to real-estate transaction processing and everything in between.
The Blockchain is now an exciting new alternative to traditional currency, centralized banking, and transaction methods that is not only changing the way we handle financial transactions, but also alternative uses that will change the world.
In short, blockchain is a distributed ledger that maintains a continuously-growing list of every transaction across every network distributed over tens of thousands of computers. This makes it almost impossible to hack, changing the way banking is done.
PAYMENTS AND MONEY TRANSFERS
One of the most well-known blockchain application is being able to send and receive payments.
By using blockchain technology, you’re able to transfer funds directly and securely to anyone you want in the world, almost instantly and at ultra-low fee because there aren’t any intermediaries slowing down the transfer of funds between several banks and charging outrageous transaction fees.
DISTRIBUTED CLOUD STORAGE
Cloud storage will be another application that businesses can take advantage of. Storj, company that’s using the blockchain to provide users with affordable, fast, and secure cloud storage. While talking to VentureBeat Storj founder Shawn Wilkinson said that, “Simply using excess hard drive space, users could store (data) on the traditional cloud 300 times over,” much like how you can rent out a room on Airbnb. Wilkinson added, “Considering the world spends $22 billion + on cloud storage alone, this could open a revenue stream for average users, while significantly reducing the cost to store data for companies and personal users.”
NETWORKING AND IOT
The IoT market is slated to top $2.48 trillion in revenue by 2022. An increasing number of tech companies are looking for ways to get a share of that market. the result is that blockchain business use cases are now entering the landscape. The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology cannot be over exaggerated. With everything from cars to connected homes hooking up, the market for technologies to support IoT is enormous.
IBM and Samsung have teamed up for a concept known as ADEPT, or Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry, which uses blockchains “to provide the backbone of the system, utilizing a mix of proof-of-work and proof-of-stake to secure transactions.”
With ADEPT a blockchain would act as a public ledger for a large number of devices. This would eliminate the need of a central hub and would “serve as a bridge between many devices at low cost.” Without the need for a central control system, all of these devices could communicate with one another autonomously in order to manage software updates, bugs, or manage energy.
Here are a few applications where blockchain is being used to make IoT fast, flexible, and secure:
- Automating community solar energy cooperatives.
- Hosting unit-tracking platforms for law enforcement.
- Hosting and automating smart city Internet of Infrastructure (IoT) processes.
- Offering trust and verification solutions to the IoT industry.
“Blockchain technologies make tracking and managing digital identities both secure and efficient, resulting in seamless sign-on and reduced fraud,” writes Ameer Rosic, founder of Blocgeeks.
“Blockchain technology offers a solution to many digital identity issues, where identity can be uniquely authenticated in an irrefutable, immutable, and secure manner,” says Rosic. “Current methods use problematic password-based systems of shared secrets exchanged and stored on insecure systems. Blockchain-based authentication systems are based on irrefutable identity verification using digital signatures based on public key cryptography.”
With blockchain identity authentication, “the only check performed is whether or not the transaction was signed by the correct private key. It is inferred that whoever has access to the private key is the owner and the exact identity of the owner is deemed irrelevant.”
Blockchain technology can be applied to identity applications in areas like IDs, online account login, E-Residency, passports, and birth certificates. Companies such as ShoCard are using the blockchain to validate an individual’s identity on their mobile device.
Of the many business applications for blockchain, the insurance industry presents one of the best opportunities for disruption. Blockchain can easily organize, track, and secure data. It can also execute agreements. All of these can benefit every kind of insurance.
Here are just a few advantages insurance companies are already reaping from using blockchain for insurance:
- Processes are simplified.
- Turnaround times are reduced.
- Improved efficiency and risk management mean reduced premiums.
- Fraud detection and prevention is greatly improved.
- Policy information and owner health/driving history is available to authorized parties.
- Regulatory compliance remains the primary challenge to full adoption. Even so, there is no stopping the disruption that is sure to transform the industry.