Blockchain is slowly becoming the mother of all inventions of this century. Ever since the inception of the Bitcoin in 2009 and the obvious debate of the pros and cons of it, blockchain has been the silent partner which has become the star of the phenomenon.
Blockchain is the underlying technology which runs Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Blockchain is the building block which connects the computers with crypto-codes to form a digital ledger with the rules of highly complex mathematical logic which would ensure that the links are not broken.
These logically connected links build a network so complex that all units can be stores with some pieces of information which can be about a currency, or now as we are starting to discover, other information which needs to be at one place like in a ledger.
Its data integrity on an open, verifiable network has made it the darling of financial companies looking for cheaper ways to store financial data and of the tech companies looking for bring out more such applications as a means of new revenues.
Let us look at the potential applications so far.
Distributed Cloud Storage
Currently, cloud storage still relies on a central server – it’s just different from that of the client’s. The information and digital assets stored have to be done on trust basis of this third-party provider. Blockchain can liberate it from this storage specific limitation and make the storage decentralized. This will increase the security layers as well due to the crypto-formulae which give it the inherent safety and open nature. Storj.io and factom are testing this concept with blockchain.
Digital Identities and Blockchain
The application with wide-ranging ramifications is the storage of identity data on the blockchain ledger without compromising safety. The data can be immutable, authenticated, and secured without any glitches. Identity verification can be done through the digital signatures using public key cryptography.
The reason this is simpler than the current methods is that one thing needs to be checked: whether the transaction was signed by the correct private key by a verified individual.
This simple idea can be used across public documentation – passports, house agreements, loan agreements, birth-death certificates wedding registrations and many others. This can slowly be extended to digital agreements and contracts for businesses itself.
Healthcare and Blockchain
This can make use of a blockchain ledger for storing the health records of people with access to few people with a specific private key. Medical bills and insurance claims can be shared and stored on this network for all to access with specific clearances.
Music and Blockchain
With the history and current scenario rattled with copyright and rights violations with royalties declining to a large extent, a decentralized and open database of music will help in access to all with clear agreements of artist royalties and real time distribution of revenue-share which will do away with the distrust between the creator and seller.
Transaction Settlement and Blockchain
As per a report by Spanish bank Santander, blockchain technology could save $20 billion of dollars annually in technology costs if implemented by 2020.
These are the most space and expense-consuming operations of any bank – transfer of money, clearance of transactions, verifications, and many other small operations which contribute a lot to technology costs annually.
Banks also need to adhere to various quality standards of operations such as ISO 200222 which sets the rules for real-time payments as a goal for the industry. Blockchain fits the bill to be the perfect digital ledger which can store millions and millions of such data points and help in verifying the digital identities of the transactions.
Forecasting and Blockchain
With so much data stored on different nodes, the predictive powers can be enhanced with forecasting techniques. This valuable data can be sold to analytics companies later.
Final Thoughts on Blockchain
These are just a few of the aspects touched here that have the potential to be revolutionized by blockchain as the basis.
The way forward is integrating the everyday appliances and machines with each other using cloud technology and IoT that will provide safety and storage of data through blockchain.
This interconnection will help in smart savings as these can be managed more effectively and energy can be saved. Also, massive savings are expected by logistics companies in future blockchain implementation of goods tracking while international shipping.
All this will be possible when the different nodes are made to work in tandem and an acceptable ethical standard is developed for all countries. Agreement on method of work is important to create stronger environment for businesses, more secure and transparent basis of storing and transferring data will help reduce substantial costs and connect the world at a faster pace.