Many people are familiar with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, but not as many know how the use of blockchain in business is currently changing the world. While blockchain technology isn’t widely adopted, the application of the technology in other areas than cryptocurrency is getting more traction.
While an enterprise blockchain and a cryptocurrency both are decentralized ledgers, the most significant difference between an enterprise blockchain and a cryptocurrency is that cryptocurrency transactions are usually public and anonymous, while an enterprise blockchain is typically private and have identity verification.
Since participants usually need to have an identity on an enterprise blockchain, the users are known to each other and are in a sense trusted parties. By only giving trusted parties access to the blockchain, the blockchain becomes what is commonly referred to as permissioned.
While the parties might not necessarily trust each other in a permissioned blockchain, since their identities are known, they are instead tied to laws, agreements or other governance structures and rules.
By doing so, a permissioned blockchain usually has more transaction speed and faster confirmations than a permissionless one such as Bitcoin. There are many use cases for these types of decentralized ledgers, and below are some of the many different industries where blockchain technology can have an impact.
The most prominent use case for blockchains outside of cryptocurrencies are financial settlements. By speeding up the time it takes to do a settlement or transaction and improving things such as identity – financial institutions will be able to save both time and money.
According to a report from Accenture, investment banks around the world could save as much as 12 billion by adopting blockchain technology.
Healthcare is an area where private blockchains and verification could have a leading role. One problem that hospital faces are the ability to store information between patient health records and information from monitoring systems and other devices. By using the blockchain, the data recorded will be both secure and tamperproof.
Another area in healthcare that blockchains could have a leading role in is in verifying the authenticity of pharmaceutical drugs. By recording all the data in the supply chain, from manufacturing to the end-user, blockchain technology can help in fighting fraudulent drugs. This use-case leads us to another industry on the list.
Supply Chains and Logistics
It is just not in healthcare that it is crucial to have traceability. In supply chains and logistics, it is imperative to be able to trace the origin of a product to a source, and in a world which is increasingly becoming global, for a multinational logistics company to be able to settle payments across borders will provide a convenient alternative for some.
Maersk, the worlds largest shipping company, and IBM is working together to create a blockchain solution to improve the handling of their shipping containers. In an industry where the cost of bureaucracy and documentation can reach as much as one-fifth of the total cost of moving a container, blockchain technology could help in reducing that expenditure.
Blockchain could also help in transforming manufacturing. By giving a manufacturing robot a verified entity on the blockchain, a machine could be able to share data between other devices. By doing so, the autonomy of the manufacturing robot will be improved and the need for a human to oversee a manual ledger containing that data is reduced.
However, the current progress and interest in adopting blockchain technology in manufacturing are not that great. But it is not impossible that in the future we might see a manufacturing robot being able to know when a certain part is needed and order a new one from the supply chain, completely autonomous and using funds from its own wallet.
These are just some of the industries where blockchain can make a significant impact, but there are many other use-cases. The interests in doing so, however, is still low. According to a survey made by Gartner, only 1% of CIOs said that there was any blockchain adoption in their organization.
So while adoption and interest in blockchain technology for the industry is low, it still has plenty of room left to grow. But the organizations that are progressive and willing to implement them might get a head start over the competition.
Image Source: “Flickr”
Bought my first Bitcoin in 2013, but when Ethereum was released in 2015 I decided to make cryptocurrency my biggest focus in life since I realized what impact smart contracts will have on society. It has since then been my biggest passion in life and it usually takes up most of my waking hours. I like to program and have followed and interacted with what happens in blockchain pretty much constantly during this time, and spent countless hours researching this amazing technology. I believe this is why I have a good technical understanding of all the different blockchains and its concepts, which is something I try to do my best to spread while working at Toshi Times.