Blockchain is a popular buzzword in today’s technology landscape. But what exactly is blockchain? While the concept can be confusing for many, it’s important to understand how it will affect our everyday lives. Blockchain is a digital ledger that’s managed by the community that uses it. This trusted, decentralized network makes it easy for people to transfer anything of value—from currency to data—and it does so in a secure, peer-to-peer process.
Blockchain is virtually hack-free thanks to its inherent cryptographic properties. Think of blockchain as a virtual bank; it’s the foundation for all types of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. And the fact is, blockchain will affect many areas of everyday life in the coming years. Here are four industries where you can expect major changes in the future:
Naturally, banking is the most obvious sector for blockchain disruption. First and foremost, traditional banks are plagued with a number of issues. Because blockchain is built as a highly secure system, it ensures that there will always be a permanent transaction record that is not at the mercy of the bank itself. Already, many major banks are using blockchain to facilitate the distribution of funds internationally, a costly and cumbersome process. You can also expect a significant reduction in fraud, as it’s resistant to current hacking methods. It will also help expedite some of the more common lengthy financial processes, such as applying for a bank loan.
Data & Hosting
Today, blockchain is impacting data center infrastructure, and data centers and cloud hosting services must consider the future requirements of blockchain-based businesses. Already, major corporations like Google have made significant investments in blockchain tech to address the future need for secure transactional processes.
According to Flexential, a hybrid IT solutions provider with over 40 data centers, “Edge colocation services and blockchain technology have been developing independently for several years, but their paths are unavoidably merging. Largely developed for cryptocurrencies, the security of blockchain coding is rooted in its distribution among many users. Edge colocation is the practice of locating highly connected data centers in markets traditionally underserved by big providers, thereby diffusing the risk of attack on any one data center.”
Real estate is a complex and multifaceted industry. The process of purchasing a home involves a hefty amount of paperwork, and it can quickly become time-consuming and confusing. With blockchain, transaction records and paperwork will be more easily and securely stored. And of course, it will cost less in the long-run and cut administrative work immensely. With smart contracts built on blockchain technology, buyers will be able to securely send funds that will be released when all conditions are met—eliminating the complexity of various escrow processes. Furthermore, real estate could use blockchain tech to further build transparency and trust (such as valuation details), reduce the necessity for intermediaries (like escrow companies), and make it possible to relay and receive accurate, reliable property details.
Of course, startups encompass a wide range of industries, but because they are their own ecosystem, it’s worth a mention. After all, startups are the foundation with which today’s tech scene is built upon: a small idea with little traction can notoriously become much more, changing consumer behavior entirely. Today’s startups are comprised of forward-thinking entrepreneurs with innovative visions, but finding the right investors, pitching concepts, and managing finances is a complicated process for founders with limited time and resources. With blockchain technology, entrepreneurs would be able to convey their business ideas while protecting their businesses. Case in point: as an investor in a developed country, you might want to invest in a startup from an emerging country, capitalizing on foreign talent, contributing to that country’s economic growth, and getting the most value for your money. However, there are often political barriers and a lack of policies or infrastructure to make it easy to handle this type of transaction. A blockchain-based investment platform, for example, would make it easier for startups to connect with potential investors without dealing with the hassle of local laws and regulations.