by Ishan Gupta
Globally, blockchain technology is currently somewhere between the stages of early adoption and early majority. It has been one of the most talked-about new-age technologies since it appeared on the global stage. Blockchain was the springboard that launched cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc into global prominence and as highly sought-after investment products. But there’s a lot more to blockchain than just cryptocurrencies. With all its immense digital capabilities, blockchain technology holds the potential to fundamentally transform the global business landscape, while bringing a level of democratisation across some of the most important fields like banking and healthcare, for instance, which are essential services for people the world over.
At present, blockchain is actively being tested and implemented for wide range of applications across multiple industries that could have a paradigm changing impact on their efficiency. While there are at least 20 different industries that stand to benefit from blockchain-powered systems, here are some of the top industry that are poised for a major transformation with the help of this ground-breaking technology:
Spearheading the financial inclusion revolution
Despite the level of sophistication achieved by our modern banking systems, there’s still a lot to be desired. A major limitation of the global banking industry is that it is non-inclusive and inaccessible to large section of the world’s population, especially in developing economies. The interest rates and transactions are heavily skewed in favour of large corporations and financial companies, while average consumers remain grossly underserved by banks.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency can change this situation. With a smartphone and an internet connection, both of which are available widely, anyone can bank, start a business and receive payments. With secure immutable ledgers and no centralised authority, banking and financial services delivered through blockchain technology would give the power to the individual, providing them effective and useful solutions that are easily accessible. The banking industry even estimates that it can save up to $20 billion by eliminating infrastructure and middleman costs through the implementation of blockchain.
Streamlining healthcare data
Delivering quality healthcare services to the people is a major challenge for the healthcare industry due to the lack of interoperability between various service providers and the absence of standardisation of data. With blockchain, however, clinical data, healthcare records, etc. can be stored on a decentralised ledger, allowing much easier sharing of information between service providers and stakeholders. The immutability of data stored on a distributed ledger makes sure that no information can be hacked or tampered with in the absence of appropriate authorisations. Furthermore, blockchain could also have benefits like curbing fraudulent transactions within the healthcare industry, saving service providers ass well as consumers a great deal of money.
Smart contracts for a smarter supply chain
The supply chain industry is burdened with several challenges, some of the most critical of which are curbing rising costs and logistical concerns such as supplying products to retailers and customers in an efficient and timely manner. The global supply chain industry, worth billions of dollars, has a highly underutilised potential, but with the digital capabilities of blockchain, it could see far greater growth in the future.
Smart contracts offer a potential solution to many of the problems faced by the supply chain industry. With smart contracts, funds could be locked into a contract, and manufacturers would produce specific goods only after a certain number in terms of demand has been reached. This could potentially save the industry millions annually since the use of resources would be optimised to meet a certain output volume. Additional savings will be possible by minimising shipping delays and ensuring smoother movement of goods from one point to another. It will also enable better trust and transparency within the sector by giving every stakeholder – be it government agencies, manufacturers, logistics providers, and end-consumer – with a comprehensive view of all goods and shipping related information, thus allowing for better management of deliverables. The World Economic Forum estimates that such a development could potentially increase global trade by around 15% and give a much-needed boost to economic activity and job opportunities.
Managing real estate hassles
The task of finding property to rent or purchase, interacting with landlords, and handling security deposits is quite tedious. The need for efficient ways to approach real estate transactions, preferably without the involvement of any third-party is something most people who have either set out to rent or purchase property have felt at some point or another.
Blockchain technology offers such an efficient, secure, and seamless solution to overcoming the hassles of complex paperwork and transactions. Smart contracts powered by blockchain technology can play an important role in managing both fulfilment of legal requirements for real estate transactions and help in disbursing funds as soon as the pre-determined criteria for the sale/purchase of assets have been met. Furthermore, as landlords and tenants will be able to interact and transact directly through a blockchain-powered system, it would eliminate brokers and their exorbitant fees from the entire process.
The advent of blockchain technology and its adoption across some of the biggest global industries has opened up an unparalleled opportunity for new-age professionals to progress their careers with new skills and knowledge. With the world of work expected to be restructured in the wake of blockchain, the time is just right for aspiring blockchain professionals to equip themselves for an imminent global transformation, with the knowledge and skills to capitalise on the emerging opportunities on the horizon.
Ishan Gupta is MD (India) of Udacity.
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