Blockchain is today re-inventing the internet and redefining the way we record, share and network with Data. It is the technology of the future and it is here to stay. Many Tech pundits are calling Blockchain the revolution in the tech industry bringing about disruption in multiple work processes and sectors like Governance, Supply Chain, Banking, File Storage, IoT, Data Management, Stock Trading, Verifications to name a few. Blockchain has multiple applications and multiple uses. How do you explain what Blockchain is to a Non-tech person?
“The Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” - Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016)
Well, that sounds to be a textual definition to begin with. In simple words, blockchain is a distributed database across multiple nodes having multiple control points thereby making it difficult to hack or corrupt the data. When I share any file or record an operation or make a financial transaction, it gets recorded or entered across multiple points of the value chain simultaneously. The data flows in ‘Blocks’ and gets interlinked like a ‘Chain’ in the structure hence the name ‘Blockchain’. So what makes Blockchain so unique?
2. Difficult to corrupt, over-ride or hack the data
3. Cannot be controlled by a single point or node or user
4. No single point of failure or collapse
5. De-centralised Data spread in Networks
6. Enhanced Security Standards
I mentioned in brief about the sectors Blockchain is absolutely bringing about a revolution, but when I think about the technology more, I think of numerous diverse ways the concept or technology can be used or applied to solve more grave problems the world is facing. In my limited understanding of the concept of Blockchain, I thought of below sectors, which can transform themselves if the concept of Blockchain is used in them;
EDUCATION & LEARNING: It is said that knowledge is exploding and multiplying almost every second in the world. The frequency at which new information is generated is doubling every moment. Having said that, we still see a chasm in the way information or education is made available. There is still a huge disparity in the way knowledge is accessed by people across the globe. There is still a discrimination in the way opportunities are made available uniformly to everyone. Not everyone today has access to basic education.
When I see the teenagers and youngsters in Asian and African countries, it always makes me think of the huge opportunity cost the world is missing out on by neglecting Education in these places. There is a huge untapped talent that just goes waste or un-utilised because of lack of access to right information at the right time. I imagine of a more progressive world where education, information and knowledge will be equally available to everyone through a robust network called blockchain. What happens in developed countries will also be made available to developing and underdeveloped countries. I imagine of opportunities, scholarships and grants made equally available to everyone to study and learn through blockchain. Real time knowledge getting accessed real time by every deserving student. I imagine of a world where everyone gets a fair chance to prove his talent, skills and abilities. The huge gap we keep seeing in first world and third world countries can be covered to a substantial extent if blockchain is applied to basic necessities.
HEALTHCARE: One of the major causes of deaths in the African continent is lack of proper Healthcare. Similar is the case with Asian Countries as well. Having access to adequate and quality Healthcare is anyone’s basic right, but we see a lot of discrimination and negligence taking place in this sector. Healthcare is not uniform and common to everyone. Only the affluent class can afford for a quality and respectable Healthcare, else you are forced to take up a loan and be indebted for life. We are seeing medical science and healthcare technology take massive strides, but is this progress and growth incorporating every strata of the society? Can’t we have a distributed information and care network which makes Healthcare affordable, trustworthy and accessible by everyone in the network? We see so many foundations and NGO’s contributing and working towards social activities in African and Asian continents, what is needed is channelizing all efforts for a much larger cause and creating a system that treats everyone equally. A Blockchain in Healthcare will give access to new research, latest cures for deadly diseases and viruses, information about funding agencies and foundations on one single network. A lot can be done and lot can be solved if we make a collective effort.
“Blockchain solves the problem of manipulation. When I speak about it in the West, people say they trust Google, Facebook, or their banks. But the rest of the world doesn’t trust organizations and corporations that much — I mean Africa, India, the Eastern Europe, or Russia. It’s not about the places where people are really rich. Blockchain’s opportunities are the highest in the countries that haven’t reached that level yet.” - Vitalik Buterin, inventor of Ethereum
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Blockchain is serving a great purpose in Identity Management and Verification processes. Today, very few countries have digital registries of their citizens. A select few who are privileged to have an internet connection have profiles on Social Media. But there are many unfortunate who are nowhere in the virtual world. They have no record and exist just in their physical real world. This makes them more vulnerable for illegal flesh trade and human trafficking businesses. A Blockchain technology network which encompasses the less fortunate as well on one network will contribute to a greater purpose in reducing the menace of flesh trade and human trafficking. Strong biometric based registration systems will help track the vulnerable across the network anywhere.
HUNGER: Hunger is something which is remotely connected to technology but can be solved to a greater extent through it. It is painful to see hunger exist in the 21st century, when the world is progressing so fast and has almost found out solution for everything. Hunger is the cause of improper distribution of resources and wealth in pursuit for Profit, Power and Position. A collective effort by all nations, governments, organizations, corporations, foundations, NGO’s, NPO’s and the rich and wealthy to create a common system or network to fight hunger can help a lot. An effort to make a distributed network globally which gives an equal access of resources to all the less privileged will enable them to atleast have one time meal daily.
Technology that widens the gap between the classes in society and makes people more vulnerable is short-lived. I really hope that we prioritise and use technology first to solve the grave problems of the world, make everyone equal and then make progress and grow together.
Co-Founder and Director
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