Although best known for its use as the underlying code used by Bitcoin, blockchain technology has the potential to transform many industries. The versatile yet secure open-source code is currently revolutionizing areas far beyond just cryptocurrency.
Blockchain can also improve how we secure traditional fiat currency. Since banking has gone digital, the double-spending issue has become a real threat to fiat. Applying blockchain to digital banking solves the problem just as it did for cryptocurrency.
Blockchain-based cryptocurrency has also been proposed to back fiat the way gold once was used. There is only a finite amount of a given cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, so this method would minimize inflation.
Land Record/Property Title Management
Maintaining accurate land records and property titles is crucial to fighting poverty throughout the developing world. Title disputes often disenfranchise women and the working class since these groups are often unable to prove their rightful ownership. Additionally, natural disasters such as Haiti’s 2010 earthquake end up destroying records making it nearly impossible to determine who really owns anything.
Several blockchain-based title registries have been created in response to this problem. By securely recording transactions, geographic coordinates and owner names, blockchain makes it possible for rightful property owners to prove their claims. Maintaining and defending property rights could ultimately help people break out of cycles of poverty.
Blockchain can solve the two greatest problems plaguing healthcare records: confidentiality and completeness. Blockchain is praised for its ability to securely store records in a tamper-proof way. As a result, healthcare records can be shared with the appropriate professionals and even the patient without fear of being corrupted or manipulated.
The failure to maintain thorough and complete healthcare records interferes with proper care and can cost lives! Patients who see multiple specialists and/or seek treatment across states are especially vulnerable to incomplete healthcare files as providers may not share all documents with each other. Blockchain can store all this information in a single, secure location so providers can see a patient’s full medical history.
Agricultural Supply Chains
The inability to quickly and accurately track agriculture can have dire consequences; food borne illness kills over 400,000 people per year. While blockchain can’t eradicate the microbes that cause these illnesses, it can be used to accurately track food to determine the origins and distribution of contaminated ingredients. As a result, food poisoning outbreaks can be reduced to isolated incidents before they become outbreaks.
Blockchain can also be used to verify if food is organic, non-GMO, sustainable and/or cruelty-free. As more and more consumers want to ensure their food is of specific origins, these labels have become little more than a clever marketing tactic for some companies. However, if a brand uses blockchain to track every step of the supply chain, it can prove such claims are true.
Blockchain can help ensure the origins and authenticity of gemstones. In recent decades, it’s become apparent that many diamonds are mined using exploitative labor practices. Known as “blood diamonds,” these stones have led to consumer distrust in the jewelry industry. Now, blockchain can be used to track the supply chain so those purchasing engagement rings can confirm how their jewelry was sourced and manufactured.
Using the same process, blockchain can determine a stone’s history. This helps avoid fraud by verifying that the jewelry was not stolen and that any alleged backstory is in fact accurate.
Blockchain can help prevent voter fraud as well as election tampering. Just as blockchain has solved the “double-spending” issue, the code can also be used to prevent the same individual from casting more than one vote. By decentralizing the voting process, blockchain also gives citizens confidence their digital ballots are not being manipulated by a central authority.
The world is only beginning to understand the use cases and potential of blockchain. Blockchain can completely transform banking, the food industry and important records management. While cryptocurrency is exciting, blockchain has far more to offer.