Everybody’s still talking about blockchain. It’s the technology trend of the moment. In a recent report, CB Insights found that the term “blockchain” was mentioned almost 300 times during Q1’18 earnings calls.
Just a few weeks ago, over 4,000 attendees gathered in New York City for the 4th Annual Consensus blockchain conference. Financial and technology experts from all over the world met to discuss all things blockchain related.
Even the recent drop in Bitcoin value hasn’t seemed to damper the industry’s interest in blockchain technology. So, where exactly is the blockchain headed? How will it affect the way we do business?
Let’s take a look at a few ways blockchain will impact our lives in the very near future.
Blockchain in healthcare
The very definition of blockchain, which is basically "a secure, distributed, and transparent ledger of transactions", makes it a perfect solution for the highly fragmented healthcare industry.
Blockchain has the power to totally transform the complicated process of recording and transferring patient health records. With so much information gathered about one individual across many healthcare providers, it can be difficult and confusing for both the patient and the doctor to get a clear analysis of their health and previous treatments.
With a healthcare system based on blockchain technology, every time a patient visits a doctor, emergency room, or any type of healthcare provider, the information would be verified and added as a block to that patient’s individual blockchain. This allows future healthcare providers to see a real-time comprehensive record of the patient’s medical history instantly, instead of having to request documents from previous providers.
When you consider the amount of time and money that could be saved by implementing this technology in the healthcare industry, plus the added benefit of patients having instant access to their entire medical history, you start to get the sense that blockchain could be the answer to making healthcare more affordable for everyone.
Blockchain for supply chain
The manufacturing supply chain is another industry that stands to benefit greatly from blockchain technology.
Manufacturing produces a large amount of data and paperwork through orders, invoices, contracts, payments and more. There are so many stages that a product has to go through from origination to final destination, and it’s extremely hard to keep track of all these phases in a concise and cohesive manner.
Consumers today are also much more concerned about where their products and goods are coming from and want to make sure they are shopping ethically. This calls for a high level of transparency that hasn’t been available until the concept of blockchain.
Because records on the blockchain cannot be erased, changed, or tampered with, and consumers can track their products throughout the entire supply chain cycle, a new level of consumer confidence and manufacturer transparency is now a reality.
Blockchain is already being used by several high-profile companies to track their food products, including Walmart, Tyson and Nestle.
Blockchain in education
UC Berkeley recently showcased its commitment to blockchain education through its "Blockchain at Berkeley" student-run organization. The group is a sort of blockchain social network that is comprised of students, alumni, and enthusiasts that meet to discuss all of the practical applications of this new technology.
In addition to studying and learning about blockchain, what if the technology was actually used to measure knowledge? It could transform the whole concept of “college credits” and diplomas.
The University of Nicosia in Cyprus is the first college to actually utilize the blockchain in awarding university diplomas. By placing diplomas on the blockchain, employers and other academic institutions are able to quickly verify a candidate’s credentials. This lessens the chance of applicants lying about their education on their resumes.
Knowledge.io – a startup focused on education and learning solutions – recently developed a blockchain-based Knowledge Score system. The scoring model is based on the gamification of learning and a reward system of knowledge tokens. This type of blockchain accreditation for education could disrupt the entire university grading system as we currently know it.
Just as mobile phone technology and the apps and smart devices that go along with it permeate our everyday lives, the blockchain will soon become just as important and integral to our society.
It will become the new way we conduct business, exchange currency, and transmit information.
Of course, we have a long way to go before Bitcoin replaces cash and before graduates have to find a way to frame their blockchain diploma, but one thing is certain about the future of the blockchain…it has the potential and the power to transform everything about the modern world.
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