Although blockchain technology was initially created to enable the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, its uses have far surpassed the original intention. The decentralized, transparent nature of blockchain makes it an excellent resource for various other fields.
Guest post by Amanda Peterson
Over the past several years, many experts have predicted blockchain will revolutionize our daily lives, but very few have explained how that will happen. Blockchain’s capabilities have become more widespread and can be used by nearly everyone, every day. Below are 5 ways blockchain can benefit our day-to-day lives.
According to research by Bright Local, 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends. Review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor have become an important resource for customers looking for honest reviews prior to making a purchase. However, these companies can control which reviews are shown, and may even filter out or delete the unfavorable comments. By implementing blockchain’s permanent, immutable ledger into review platforms, users can be sure they’re receiving authentic information that hasn’t been altered or removed.
Supply chain management
Many of the processes involved in the supply chain management are slow and rely heavily on paper records — a process that leaves a large margin for error. Blockchain, on the other hand, creates a permanent digital log that records orders, tracking, deliveries, and all other logistical information. Replacing the manual record-keeping with blockchain technology drastically reduces the likelihood of mistakes and can speed up the process at the same time. Major logistics companies such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL have seen success from implementing blockchain into their supply chain strategies, and are urging others to follow suit.
Decentralized cloud storage
Cloud storage has become a popular way for organizations and consumers to store their data. However, the majority of cloud storage is controlled by Google, Microsoft, and others. The questions of security, control, and ownership have become a hot topic recently because these organizations ultimately have control over the information being stored in their cloud platforms. Blockchain technology has emerged as a favorable alternative. Rather than placing data in the hands of a large corporation, blockchain offers a decentralized, open-source hub. That means there’s no company controlling the data; it remains in the hands of the original owner.
Electronic health records (EHRs) contain a patient’s entire health history. They can be accessed by medical providers on any platform and updated in real-time for the most current patient information. This inevitably creates cause for concern when it comes to keeping that data private and safe. Integrating blockchain has offered a higher level of confidence in the security of such highly sensitive information. The technology can be used to store and track patient data in a timestamped, unalterable record that can only be accessed by permitted parties. This allows healthcare professionals and patients to have access to the most updated information.
One of the most pertinent uses of blockchain lies in smart contracts or digitized contracts that operate over blockchain without the need for a third party. Smart contracts are legally binding, unchangeable and automatic. For instance, if two parties reach an agreement for a paid project, they can enter the information into the smart contract with certain criteria that need to be met. Once all specified conditions have been completed, payment will automatically be made. Since everything is automated from the beginning, the entire process is secure, quick and leaves no room for interpretation — an important factor in business transactions at all levels.
Taking these five examples into account, it’s pretty obvious that blockchain is useful for much more than cryptocurrency transactions. From authenticating online reviews to keeping health records safe and supply chain management, blockchain has begun playing a vital role in our day-to-day lives and will continue to do so moving forward.
Amanda Peterson is a contributor to Enlightened Digital and software engineer from New York City. When she’s not trying to find the best record store in the city, you can find her curling up to watch some Netflix with her Puggle, Hendrix.