When most people hear about blockchain, their minds immediately turn to cryptocurrency, and more specifically bitcoin. But while blockchain does form the basis of all cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges, it actually has many more use cases. Blockchain is essentially a decentralized electronic ledger, and this kind of tool is being adopted by a wide range of industries, from finance to gaming to supply chain management and more.
Blockchain’s big potential for disruption lies in its decentralized, trustless nature. Essentially, it facilitates automated data management between peers without the need for a central authority to authorize or verify records (e.g., transactions, but also inventory, contracts, and so on) on the blockchain. At the same time, all the nodes on the blockchain must verify the ledger to make it permanent, which protects against fraudulent activity. This non-hierarchical structure can open a radically different way of doing things.
Here are a few ways blockchain is disrupting several industries:
Banking and Finance
Cryptocurrency is a new form of financial instrument, but blockchain itself is changing the way we do banking, even using traditional fiat money. Smart contracts, which are self-executing programs on the blockchain, can carry out financial activities (financial transfers, payments for labor, loans, etc.) in a trustless and near-instantaneous way, cutting down on the long delays and onerous fees that we associate with the banking system. JP Morgan Chase is already using smart contracts to make trading and auditing more efficient. Financial institutions are also experimenting with publicly accessible blockchains, which could usher in a new era of financial transparency.
Data and supply chain management are the main uses of blockchain in healthcare. A unified blockchain record of health data can be kept up to date and quickly accessed by medical professionals, patients, and insurance companies for greater accuracy and efficiency. The same goes for supply chains of medical equipment, drugs, and other items, the management of which can be greatly streamlined using a blockchain ledger.
Not only can you hire software developers to create a blockchain platform for you, but they can also be paid via smart contracts and cryptocurrencies, making the collaboration more efficient, especially if it involves offshore, nearshore, or other cross-border payments.
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