You hear it a lot – blockchain and cryptocurrencies aren’t the ‘same thing’. And that’s true (to a certain extent). Yes, Bitcoin combines both cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to create an entire network of digital, transferable and immutable value, but it’s not the only example of blockchain technology. Today we’re going to take at different enterprise and business contexts in which blockchain is either actively being used, or developed for in the future. Enjoy!
Stating the obvious, but blockchain technology is already being used extensively with both Fintech (that’s financial technology) companies and more traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. How so? Through the leveraging of blockchain technology for:
- Public and private cryptocurrency payments
- Financial record keeping
- Data protection
Blockchain-based token platforms, such as Ethereum, EOS, and Stellar all allow for the tokenization of any asset class. Furthermore, lightweight networks such as the Stellar protocol make it really easy for developers to create usable point-of-sale applications for both corporate and local business use-cases.
Tillbilly utilizes Stellar in order to provide blockchain-based payments for existing stores and customers, promising faster and cheaper transaction times, as well as transferable and trackable loyalty points. PundiX also promises similar functionality, as well as the ability for tuition fees, retail purchases and utility bills to all be settled digitally and on the blockchain.
Online and Cloud Computing
Many comparisons have been drawn between the cloud computing revolution of the early 2000s and the emergence of blockchain technology. Despite this, DLT has the potential to disrupt much of the centralized services that cloud computing has to offer. The rise in data-hacks of companies like Facebook has drawn attention to the security risks that centralized data centers pose for sensitive consumer information
Bespoke initiatives include Scroll (SCRL), Proxeus and Sia all offer various iterations of encrypted, decentralized storage and identity management. As a result, users will be able to rely on the security of the underlying blockchain technology in order to protect their information. This will also help combat the ever-encroaching worry of privacy for internet users targeted by advertising companies (looking at you, Google).
Ever visit the doctor and have trouble keeping your medical records updated between different physicians? Tried to get repeat medication out-of-hours? You and millions of other people are not alone.
The decentralization and securing of vital medical records are long overdue. Inefficiencies in communications, treatments and prescription administrations cost healthcare services and governments billions every year. Overworked healthcare professionals can almost spend more time on paperwork than do on treating patients.
Again, problems with centralized data security and compatible systems hold much of the progress back. However, blockchain technology is, unsurprisingly, looking to disrupt this industry as well. Iryo offers such an information service, hoping to simplify the whole medical process for EU-based countries. Nebula Genomics wants to revolutionize the sharing of vital statistical, medical data; incentivizing users to contribute to genomic research.
These and other enterprise and business applications are already being disrupted by blockchain technology. Where these advancements will take our society next will be as fascinating as it is exciting to experience.