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First conceptualized in 2008, blockchain quickly became the vehicle and core component of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Today, blockchain is viewed by many as the go-to solution for problems, spanning a number of industries, ranging from banking and finance to healthcare and voting. But what is blockchain and how exactly is it supposed to revolutionize so many seemingly different industries?
What is blockchain?
You can think of blockchain as a decentralized way to store information. Now, why is that important? Because information, and more importantly sensitive information, can be processed and stored safely without a single, centralized authority in charge of managing all the data, including agencies and authorities, banks, governments, or any other entity that is needed to verify all the transactions, something that was previously done using centralized networks.
Blockchain technology relies heavily on cryptography as a means of ensuring efficient and secure transactions, and on other computers on the network to approve each and every transaction. As important as AI has become in its ability to elevate cybersecurity, blockchain promises to revolutionize it.
Every transaction in this decentralized network is registered as a block. A transaction can be anything previously agreed upon, including any type of digital activities, voting record details, cryptocurrency transactions, etc. Once a block is finished, it simply gets added to a chain of previous records. Even if the identities of parties performing a transaction are hidden, the transaction itself will remain accessible and visible to anyone using the network.
Today, the technology is being used to power Bitcoin and other blockchain-related platforms such as Ethereum and VeChain to improve authentication and item tracking. Google has already revolutionized their advertising efforts with AI, but projects such as Basic Attention Token aren’t looking to revolutionize advertising, but rather re-imagine it completely. What are some other projects that incorporate blockchain and what will their impact on the future look like?
Donations and Fundraising
Donating to the less fortunate has always been a worthy cause. That said, a lot of people choose not to donate because they fear their money won’t actually end up with those who need it the most. With blockchain and its system of safe and transparent transactions, people can be sure that their money is going exactly where they intended it to go. We’re already seeing a number of Bitcoin-enabled charities who are trying to ensure trust by using smart contracts and transparent ledgers to allow their donors to see where their charitable work is going to.
Economy, Law, and Smart Contracts
Unlike other, more traditional businesses and industries, banks, and financing institutions don’t need a revolutionary transformation of their processes in order to adopt blockchain technology. In 2016, a German bank has used blockchain to complete an instantaneous payment between two clients across borders.
The transaction took a mere 20 seconds, whereas a traditional bank transaction would require hours. Financial institutions across the world are expected to implement blockchain technology as a part of their daily financial activities and bring quite considerable savings by 2020.
Cryptocurrencies aside, blockchain technology also brings a number of convenient possibilities, one of them being smart contracts. These contracts are automatically executed only if and when specific conditions are met. Smart contracts can also be used to create customizable insurance policies that aren’t regulated by a single point of authority. While it may be unclear how contractual disputes can be settled, the idea of marrying blockchain and law processes is as exciting as it is new.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things refers to a network of connected devices, including buildings, cars, doorbells, and refrigerators who share their data to bring convenience into our lives. However, all the devices operate using a centralized communications hub, making it easy for hackers to take advantage of all this interconnectivity. Blockchain’s decentralized appeal has the potential to resolve critical concerns in regards to safely storing and transferring personal and sensitive information.
Search Engine Optimization
Blockchain can also bring a number of changes into search engine optimization, by helping verify the legitimacy of users and contracts between them and various businesses. With blockchain, digital ad campaigns can be charged per actual click-through rates, greatly reducing advertising fraud and increasing online security at the same time.
It’s safe to say that the leading digital marketing agencies won’t blink twice before implementing this technology into their everyday business in order to secure authority, increase accountability and ensure the trust of their business partners, clients, and users.
With the last US election getting worldwide press for potentially rigged results, people are considering blockchain as the most viable solution for this age-old problem. Blockchain can be used to speed up voter registration and verification process, and increase the efficiency and transparency of the entire voting process by making all the information publicly available and fully accessible.
If implemented correctly, blockchain promises to revolutionize the way we function on a daily basis. It could completely eliminate the need for a middle man and make fraud and security issues. But what are some other aspects and industries you think will be most affected by this technology?