Blockchain has become a buzzword in the FinTech realm as financial institutions scramble to find practical ways to implement and leverage the technology for profit. As the underpinning technology for cryptocurrencies, most people associate blockchain with crypto and assume that it only applies to finance. But the potential applications of blockchain technology reach far beyond finance and crypto, and it promises to take the world by storm in ways we never saw coming.
Here are seven ways that blockchain technology promises to impact our everyday lives in the coming decade, mostly for the better.
1. Decentralized Social Platforms
The rapid rise of technology has by far surpassed the capacity of regulators to keep up, resulting in products and platforms that invade our privacy and threaten our rights to free speech. Blockchain promises to disrupt invasive social platforms that censor our content and mine and sell our personal data, by providing secure and private decentralized social networks that put the user in control.
Decentralized social platforms underpinned by blockchain allow for end-to-end encryption of every interaction, providing personal privacy and individual control over user information. By contrast, mainstream social media platforms exploit user information and behavior for profit, turning users into commodities to be sold to the highest bidders.
Blockchain-based social media platforms protect users’ rights to uncensored expression, allowing you to voice your opinions without risk of retaliation. In addition, blockchain’s distributed ledger technology lets users make private monetary transactions that are inaccessible to the scrutiny of third parties. Blockchain SM users can permanently save their published content without fear of having it deleted.
Here are a few blockchain-based social platforms to explore:
2. Immutable Digital Records
A blockchain is essentially a massive digital ledger that records financial transactions. It can also be used to securely keep important and valuable records, protecting them from alteration, theft or abuse. Property deeds, birth and death certificates, financial transactions, insurance records, legal disputes and other sensitive documents can be safely recorded in encrypted code and stored on the blockchain.
3. HIPAA Compliant Healthcare
Patient privacy is a key concern in healthcare, and HIPAA compliance is critical for healthcare providers. The privacy and security provided by blockchain technology holds promise for a broad spectrum of healthcare processes, including:
- Less expensive, more efficient patient care
- Immutable protection of patients’ sensitive data from security breaches
- Data security across mobile applications and remote patient monitoring software
- Real-time insurance claims processing
- Protection against genomic data theft
- Electronic patient health records with blockchain-protected restricted access
- Transparent medical supply and pharmaceutical tracking
4. Travel and Hospitality
Travel is often fraught with inconveniences, from long lines to lost luggage. Numerous startups are already disrupting the travel and hospitality industry with blockchain solutions that dramatically reduce booking errors, securely store frequent traveler information, and more.
In addition, blockchain solutions cut out the middleman in booking transactions. Popular booking platforms often offer discounted rates for travel, car rental and hospitality. However, entrusting your sensitive data to intermediaries makes it vulnerable to identity theft and abuse. By eliminating the middlemen in booking transactions, blockchain ultimately reduces the cost of travel and increases the security of travelers’ personal information.
In the coming decade, be prepared for sweeping changes in the travel industry that significantly reduce stress, increase security and elevate the enjoyment of travel on a global scale.
5. Voting and Public Policy
Voter fraud has become a growing concern as ballot machines made by independent foreign entities have proven to be both hackable and unreliable. Encryption and decentralization afforded by blockchain technology provide a platform for an immutable and incorruptible database that ensures that voting records are 100% verifiable.
With blockchain, voter identities and political preferences are protected from public view. A single protected ID for every vote makes tampering impossible, and votes on the blockchain can be accurately tallied by election officials without concerns for duplicate voting or fraudulent identity.
Blockchain technology was successfully used on a large scale in 2018 during primary elections for Thailand’s Democrat Party. And in the 2020 US Presidential election, Independent candidate and entrepreneur Brock Pierce received the very first vote using a blockchain application.
In addition to dramatically reducing the risk of voter fraud, blockchain could have an immense influence on our democratic processes. A blockchain protected system that empowers Americans to directly vote on public policy could potentially obliterate lobbyists and corrupt politicians who don’t represent the interests of the American people.
6. Intellectual property
From high-tech patents to fashion and entertainment, blockchain tools are being used to deter the theft and fraud of intellectual and creative properties, and to establish proof of ownership. Blockchain use cases for IP include:
- Authentication of provenance
- Distribution tracking
- Evidence of first use in trade or commerce
- Digital rights management
- Enforcement of IP rights via smart contracts
- Real-time payment transmission authentication
- Detection of counterfeit goods
- Retrieval of stolen goods
7. Self-Sovereign Digital Identity
Most large data breaches succeed by gaining access through stolen user identifiers. User IDs and passwords are notoriously vulnerable to theft and hacking, and password security is becoming increasingly complex as users create new accounts and conduct transactions online. For many users, logging into websites with multi-layered protection becomes a hassle that causes them to steer clear of certain ecommerce sites.
Blockchain-based identity authentication solutions wrest control of identities away from online entities and government agencies, and place it in the hands of self-sovereign individuals. They enable users to safeguard secure IDs without sharing them with third-party entities, empowering individuals with autonomy over their unique identifiers.
In addition, blockchain-protected access enables enterprises to safely share and store data without risk of data breaches and fraud. Companies can enable restricted access tiers for cloud data according to the security clearance of individual employees, reducing the risk of data breaches. And blockchain encrypted identifiers can protect data from hackers as it transits from the cloud to the personal computers of remote workers.
Moving into the Future with Blockchain Technology
It is human nature to resist change, especially when it disrupts long-established ways of doing things. There will no doubt be many industries and individuals tapping the brakes on blockchain development, but its adoption on a grand scale is inevitable.
With any new technology comes the potential for abuse, and rather than trying to fight blockchain innovations, we should safeguard against their misuse for nefarious purposes that do not serve humanity. Blockchain has enormous potential for improving our lives in the near and distant future. We should embrace this promising technology and mindfully steer its course, to harness it for the greater good..