Cryptocurrency—based on blockchain technology—is having somewhat of a heyday. Many of the prices are skyrocketing for different types of cryptocurrency (Bitcoin is the most famous), but to us, the real opportunity is not the cryptocurrency itself but the underlying technology that makes it all work.
Right now hundreds of companies are investing in blockchain technology to make all of our transactions more authentic, transparent, and trustworthy. That’s because blockchain technology allows for transparent and trustworthy collaboration across multiple parties without a centralized authority—like a bank or a government. Here’s what different types of blockchain applications are being developed for and how that might change your future.
Banking and other financial services.
The innovations that blockchain can bring to financial transactions are really astounding.
In traditional financial systems, a central authority has to be in charge of transactions. And a growing number of financial services are using blockchain to create real innovations within the financial industry.
If you ever tried to transfer money to another country, you know how long the process can take. The money leaves your account and then goes into never-never land as it hops from bank to bank. It may reach his destination in a week or two weeks, but you can never be sure until you hear from the recipient.
Blockchain applications can change this entire process. The blockchain ledger creates far fewer errors and simplifies the process because you don’t need those intermediaries anymore.
Claims processing for insurance.
Currently, insurance processors must worry about fraudulent claims, data sources that are all over the place, and other places where error can occur readily. Blockchain allows for much more transparency within the claims processing process. And the encryption that’s built into blockchain allows insurers to know for sure that an item being claimed was really owned by the person claiming it.
This particular blockchain application is one of the most exciting that I’ve seen. Right now, contracts are written in all kinds of legal terms and require an intermediary to ensure that all parties follow through on those terms—f somebody falls down on their end of the contract.
Blockchain eliminates the needs for third parties entirely and ensures a high degree of integrity for both the contract details and terms and knowing when the conditions are met to execute the contract. In fact, it can automate a lot of the process of complying with the terms of the contract.
Here are some examples of smart contracts using blockchain:
Blockchain technologies could ensure that only people that are supposed to get certain restrictive prescriptions to get them. It can also be used for personal health records, and to make sure that they follow HIPAA laws exactly. Finally, receipt of health care could be validated by a recipient through blockchain technology in order to reduce insurance fraud.
In the last few decades music has undergone a seismic shift with music being distributed and consumed digitally instead of through physical hard copies, like records or CDs. And that shift is producing major problems with ownership rights, transparency, and royalty distributions.
Smart contracts technology for music can create a decentralized and accurate database of the rights of ownership. And the ledger aspect of blockchain can provide incredibly transparent payment of artists royalties. This would happen automatically as royalties are accumulated according to the terms of the contract.
Right now, dating apps mostly reward those whose profile looks best and have nothing to do with transparency.
Blockchain applications are looking to change that. The technology can allow space for different types of dating models that create incentives to be good citizens and create a much more transparent experience.
Since blockchain technology is built on the idea of trust and transparency, it makes it easier to verify somebody’s actual identity. And even better, this technology helps to create strong incentives for users to add more details to their profile and undergo verification processes.
Final Thoughts on Blockchain Technology
Blockchain applications have the potential to change almost everything we do, perhaps even the way we vote. They won’t be something that you notice on the surface, but the technology will be part of the underlying structure that creates more accountability and transparency in our day-to-day interactions.