More than a buzzword: How Blockchain is redefining top industries across the globe
It can unlock a previously unseen level of democratisation, decentralisation, and efficiency in service delivery for a wide range of applications across various sectors.
The rise of Blockchain is a curious phenomenon. It is both a nascent technology at the early stages of its adoption and a disruptive development which is already transforming the way industries operate. Since gaining prominence as the technology behind popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, Blockchain has been hailed as the ‘new cloud’, thanks to the scope of its application across multiple use-cases.
The reason behind this hype around Blockchain technology has to do with its potential to redefine the global business landscape and take it onto a new level altogether. It can unlock a previously unseen level of democratisation, decentralisation, and efficiency in service delivery for a wide range of applications across various sectors. Here are some of the top industries which are currently testing and implementing Blockchain to power their operations:
Banking and financial services
The modern banking system has evolved a lot over the years, but what has not changed is its lack of operational transparency, inclusivity, and accessibility. A large section of the world’s creditworthy population, particularly in developing economies such as India, remains underserved, even as large corporations benefit from favourable interest rates despite rising NPAs. Blockchain holds the key to fundamentally alter this dynamic.
Blockchain-powered cryptocurrencies are designed to enable anyone with a smartphone and internet connectivity to securely bank and transact through immutable ledgers. Being completely decentralised, it also provides ease of access to users through highly-effective and personalised solutions. Blockchain-powered transactions can also significantly reduce infrastructural, operational, and compliance costs for traditional banking and financial institutions, saving up to an estimated $20 billion for the industry.
One of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare sector is the lack of data standardisation and fragmented interoperability between different healthcare service providers. This, in a sector as essential as healthcare, is worrying as it impacts the quality of service provided to the patient.
Blockchain has the potential to address this pain-point. Critical information such as clinical data, patient records, and previous treatment can be stored on decentralised, immutable ledgers. The very nature of Blockchain also ensures that these records cannot be edited without proper authorisation, thus enabling a more seamless and secure way of information sharing between various stakeholders along the healthcare value chain. It can also curb fraudulent transactions within the sector, thus providing greater value-addition to service providers and consumers.
Supply chain management
To say that the supply chain industry is very fragmented would be making an understatement. Challenges with managing logistics and ensuring timely, efficient delivery to the end-customer make it difficult to fully realise the potential of the global supply chain, limiting the industry’s growth. With its digital capabilities, Blockchain presents a way to address this challenge and unlock greater growth for players in the supply chain domain.
For instance, Blockchain-powered smart contracts can be used to lock funds which are automatically released once the specified conditions (number of finished products, delivery of the shipment, etc.) are met. This implementation can drive value-addition of millions of dollars, as players across the supply chain optimally utilise available resources to meet contractual requirements.
It could also be used to ensure better management of deliverables, as well as to minimise delays and regulatory hassles faced by ensuring smoother movement of shipments. Moreover, the technology can facilitate better trust and transparency for stakeholders across the supply chain by providing a transparent view of all information related to the shipment. Gartner estimates that blockchain could potentially add business value of more than $3.1 trillion by 2030, while the World Economic Forum expects Blockchain implementation to drive a 15 percent increase in global trade.
Whether to rent or to buy, the process of searching for a new real estate property is always a challenge. Owners looking to rent out or sell their owned properties are also frequently burdened with underutilised inventory for long durations, even as they pay for ownership costs such as maintenance and property tax. This is exactly why Blockchain implementation in the real estate sector could be such a disruptive development.
The technology offers a secure and efficient way of connecting property owners with prospective tenants/buyers. Smart contracts provide a seamless alternative to the complex paperwork usually involved, allowing the parties involved to fulfil the legalities of the transaction and ensure seamless disbursal of funds. This approach can also eliminate brokers and middlemen from the value chain, bringing down the costs for both property owners and tenants/buyers.
Content piracy is a major threat to the continued growth of the global entertainment ecosystem. According to recent reports, the industry loses around $6-8 billion on an annual basis because of piracy. Blockchain-powered digital rights management (DRM) holds the key to curb this growing menace and realise this unfulfilled business potential. Smart contracts based on Blockchain could help entertainment businesses to securely manage the access rights to their owned content. User access records saved thus are completely immutable and can be used to verify if a particular user is authorised to access a particular piece of content. This will not only make it possible to improve content security and transparency in the domain but can also enforce better content monetisation and contract enforcement.
The rise of Blockchain has unlocked massive opportunities of value realisation and addition across multiple industries. What it has also done is open up a lucrative career avenue for new-age professionals. With Blockchain expected to continue to reshape the world in its image, the timing is opportune for professionals to equip themselves with new skills and knowledge in this field. The world stands at the cusp of a large-scale transformation in the wake of Blockchain, and those who have the required knowledge and skill-sets to capitalise on emerging career opportunities in the domain will be the ones to benefit the most.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)