Latest guest post from Misys.com (see also ‘Tech rivals take on banks with instant payments‘). MisysFS, aiming to to transform the global financial services industry, through making financial institutions more resilient, efficient and competitive.
The surprising benefit to many industries beyond finance.
Back in March 2016, Australian computer scientist Craig Steven Wright owned up to being the creator of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that has attracted as much acclaim as it has controversy in recent years.
Decentralized and available to anyone, Bitcoin has been labelled by some of its former supporters as a ‘failed experiment,’ citing the resistance among some of its key developers towards allowing a level of growth that could ensure the digital currency serves as a viable alternative to standard forms of transaction for the mass consumer market.
Yet whilst we may not be swapping our mobile banking apps for Bitcoin wallets any time soon, it would be wrong to label Wright’s “experiment” (if he is indeed the rightful creator ) as an out-and-out-failure.
After all, without Bitcoin, we would never have blockchain, the technology which lies at the heart of the digital currency.
In basic terms, blockchain is at best described as a public ledger capable of automatically recording large volumes of transactions in a ultra-secure fashion. It’s a technology which has been nothing short of groundbreaking, leading experts and entrepreneurs alike to speculate that it could well revolutionise far more than just the financial sector.
Here then are ten industries we should expect to see adopting blockchain in the near future.
1 Public Sector Services
Over in Central America, government officials in the Republic of Honduras have reportedly joined forces with blockchain company FatCom in an effort to cut corruption and fraud in the country’s public land ownership registry.
Elsewhere, governments and public sector bodies are exploring the potential to use blockchain for creating secure registers for welfare distribution, personal identify records, and even vehicle registration.
Whilst the automotive industry are equally as excited about the idea of blockchain-based vehicle registration, we still haven’t yet seen that particular idea manifest. What we have seen however, is a partnership between DocuDocuSign and Visa which utilizes blockchain in simplifying the process of hiring a car . By using the public ledger, consumers can complete the entire process, from selecting a car to signing insurance documents with no more than a few taps on a smart device.
Needless to say, the potential to take this one step further in transforming the way we purchase cars has not been ignored, with several big innovations from leading car manufacturers expected over the course of the year.
Sticking with a familiar theme for a moment, one Israeli-based firm has developed its own Bitcoin-like currency to provide a decentralized alternative to popular ride-sharing apps like Uber . Using La’Zooz, travellers exchange coins for rides, eliminating the need for a centralized network such as the one currently used by Uber.
4 Elections and (hopefully) politics!
Though debates over national voting processes wage on, younger generations are now looking at blockchain to provide secure, tamper proof means of registering votes in university elections.
At the same time, leaders of Spain’s Agora Voting project suggested a number of ways that Bitcoin technology could be used in creating a truly independent, anonymous, and decentralized system of voting online.
Should these prove successful, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine calls for blockchain to play a role in the way we vote for our governments.
5 Media and Publishing
It’s perhaps fair to say that the publishing industry hasn’t always been known for their enthusiasm nor efficiency in successfully integrating new technology into traditional models, but in 2016, they are at least willing to get on board with blockchain.
Proving particularly useful for subscription-based news sites, the industry is making strides in using a method similar to Bitcoin transactions to offer per-page micropayments, negating the need to sign up for a monthly subscription to read a single article.
It’s likely that this will result in increased revenues for publishers who can now appeal to readers who would rather hit the back-button than pay up expensive subscription fees for a small amount of content.
6 Music Streaming
Much as with news publishers, the battles between music companies and modern tech have been notoriously ugly. Yet in a world where streaming services like Spotify are continuing to gain traction despite increasing criticism from artists, some savvy entrepreneurs are turning to blockchain to create streaming systems which they hope will prove to be a fair to both music makers and listeners alike.
As in other industries platforms such as PeerTracks and Ujo Music are aiming to use the technology to essentially cut out the middle man, allowing listeners to stream music and pay the artists directly via blockchain.
7 Online Security
Perhaps one of the more obvious industries to be taking advantage of blockchain, cybersecurity specialists are currently exploring ways in which the technology can be used to significantly reduce hacking attempts. Again, this all comes down to cutting out the middle man and moving towards a system of transaction recording that cannot be tampered with or altered .
Sticking with security, blockchain’s tamper-proof technology is currently being harnessed by a number of healthcare providers, who have teamed up with the aforementioned FatCom to create solid registers for storing records, something which those involved in the development of the new system also say will ultimately speed up record processing.
A similar approach is being explored by some universities in an effort to free up the man hours and cost involved in manually authenticating academic certificates, something which other education bodies are keeping a close eye on in the hopes that will alleviate much of the problems caused by those making false claims as to their academic credentials.
Smart contracts have been gaining traction in recent months, and show no sign of slowing down. Essentially, they make use of blockchain’s ability to eliminate the need for human beings to be part of the process and automating the execution of traditional contracts.
According to business innovation blog FastCompany, smart contracts could soon be put to use in helping homeowners to facilitate mortgage agreements , ultimately eliminating processing fees and lending to lower rates for consumers.
Sure, many of the innovations listed above are still in the development stage, and only time will tell as to just how successful blockchain is in revolutionising everything from the way we pay for our homes to the way we read our news, but if there’s one thing we do know for sure, it’s that the technology’s reach must be far beyond anything Craig Steven Wright imagined when he first laid down the foundations for the ‘failed experiment’ that is Bitcoin.