Ever since it was first invented in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, blockchain has mystified the world. A construct initially as mysterious as its pseudonym-carrying creator(s) Satoshi Nakamoto, it now carries actual real-world implementations that were not previously possible.
Reputed for its immutability, transparency, security, and traceability, here are 5 ways blockchain will improve the world.
1. Improving traceability and security in the banking and finance sector
Given its state and architecture as a distributed ledger, blockchain lends itself perfectly to banking and finance.
According to Investopedia, “A distributed ledger is a database that is consensually shared and synchronized across multiple sites, institutions, or geographies, accessible by multiple people. It allows transactions to have public ‘witnesses.'”
This unique infrastructure means blockchain is perfectly positioned to help support the banking sector in validating transactions, securing them, and making sure all parties have 100% visibility and traceability of them. This is in contrast to centralized ledger systems in use by most banks and companies today, which contain all the accounts for recording transactions relating to a company’s assets, liabilities, owners’ equity, revenue, and expenses, and are prone to cyber attacks.
2. Luxury and hospitality clients can enjoy better security and convenience
Finance is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the flexibility of blockchain implementation. Blockchain’s unique infrastructure and open source nature also position it to benefit the hospitality industry.
Take luggage for example, which changes hands multiple times across a single journey. With blockchain, travelers can make sure they can track their bags at all times, and incidents of not being able to find misplaced baggage will be a thing of the past.
Convenience will also be improved. Since passengers “are often required to provide ID at various stages of their journey… industry-wide adoption of blockchain could potentially allow for a shared digital database, with passengers providing, for example, a finger print to quickly and seamlessly verify who they are, reducing waiting times,” hospitality news site Revfine explains.
Taking it a step further, clients can rest knowing they can trace any transaction or orders they perform on an OTA’s (online travel agency) site, or at a hotel. The next time you have a complaint for a customer rep, the full visibility afforded by the blockchain means both parties will have full visibility of all proceedings.
Additionally, hospitality firms have been dabbling with bolstering their loyalty programs with blockchain, where clients are awarded special tokens that can be used at any time. One such company is MENA-founded GOZO, which AMEinfo previously interviewed here.
3. Tamper-proof voting and elections
The sanctity of the voting booth is a basic understanding of all democracies. With this ongoing pandemic, however, voting through physical means becomes a health hazard. That’s not accounting for electoral fraud and vote tampering, which humanity has seen a history of across the centuries.
Once more, blockchain is perfectly positioned to solve all these issues. While the technology incorporating both fields is not perfect just yet, in a perfect world, recording votes digitally on the blockchain could potentially lead to a fully genuine representation of the populace’s consensus.
4. Making supply chain networks fully traceable
In an increasingly globalised world, traceability across supply chains is more important than ever. This is why companies in the sector have seen major potential in the technology of blockchain. Top examples of this include industry giants such as Walmart, Maersk, UPS, Fed Ex, and British Airways.
For Walmart, it typically took approximately 7 days to trace the source of food. After implementing blockchain, this has been reduced to 2.2 seconds. That substantially reduces the likelihood that infected food will reach the consumer, Tech Crunch explains.
More recently, if we look at the Beirut port explosion, for example, officials could have accurately traced the origin of the 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that caused the blast had a blockchain system been put in place. There are conflicting reports about the true origin and owner of this shipment of the volatile material that caused this tragedy. A distributed ledger would have solved this issue.
5. A new way to stream video content and earn money
Today, the ongoing pandemic has only served to remind us of the staying power of streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+. Companies like Theta Labs, which is a blockchain video delivery network, are looking to change the way we stream content on the technical side of things.
“Currently accounting for 67% of internet traffic, the video content and streaming market is a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to explode.” Theta Labs explains. “However, the ecosystem today is highly centralized and inefficient, resulting in low quality streaming, high cost of content delivery, and limited revenue flow back to content creators. The solution is a decentralized peer-to-peer network leveraging the power of blockchain.”
The core of the network enables users worldwide with un-utilized PC bandwidth and resources to cache and relay video streams to others in the network and in turn mine Theta tokens, similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum. Imagine, a user in the middle of Brazil goes to sleep with his computer on, wakes up in the morning and has made a few dollars by running his Theta app in the background.
The company recently onboarded Google as an enterprise validator, and has involved the co-creators of YouTube and Twitch.