Blockchain is a database but still differs from a typical database such that it collects information together in groups, also known as blocks, that hold sets of information. Blocks have certain storage capacities and, when filled, are chained onto the previously filled block, forming a chain of data known as the “blockchain.” All new information that follows that freshly added block is compiled into a newly formed block that will then also be added to the chain once filled.
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain.
With its decentralized and trustless nature, Blockchain technology can lead to new opportunities and benefit businesses through greater transparency, enhanced security, and easier traceability. Blockchain's greatest characteristic stems from the fact that its transaction ledger for public addresses is open to viewing. This technology also enables smart contracts. Smart contracts are simply programs stored on a blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. They typically are used to automate the execution of an agreement so that all participants can be immediately certain of the outcome, without an intermediary's involvement or time loss.
Blockchain is the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the US dollar or Nigerian Naira, but it is digital and uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds. Although it is popularly known that the blockchain powers the crypto but there are other applications of blockchain in different sectors in the world.
In this article, you will understand the benefits of blockchain technology in the world, beginning from major sectors of the world.
The other places that blockchain can be applied are as follows:
1. Healthcare: Blockchain innovation can change medical care, setting the patient at the focal point of the medical care environment and expanding the security, protection, and interoperability of wellbeing information. According to blockchain analysts, this innovation could give another model to health information exchanges (HIE) by making electronic clinical records more effective, disintermediated, and secure. While it's anything but a panacea, this new, quickly advancing field gives fruitful ground to experimentation, venture, and confirmation- of-idea testing.
News from medical.net stated the various ways where blockchain can be implemented for ease of medical services: Blockchain can allow for seamless switching of patients between providers, individual patients can access with private keys and unlock their information from the chain to share with alternative organizations for medical care.
Another important application of the blockchain in the health sector will be in the area of data security. Research showed that from 2009-2017 there have been over 176 million data breaches in respect to health data records. The safe features associated with the blockchain can help ensure wellbeing data much better. Every individual will have a public identifier or key and a private key, which can be opened uniquely as and for the time frame necessary.
Other health-related areas of application include: Tracking and securing medical supplies, health insurance claims, tracking diseases and outbreaks, only to mention a few.
2. Media & Entertainment: There are several use cases of blockchain in media and entertainment. Findings have shown that in the media industry, for example, music in most parts of the world especially in the US where the music industry thrives the most, there are cases of the artists getting a lesser percentage than the overall earnings on their work. Using blockchain features, like peer-to-peer systems and smart contracts, sales of media products can be automated thereby eliminating middle parties for the sale of media productions.
Blockchain features will enable artists to mechanize a huge bit of the business organization work encompassing licensing, contracts, and payments. Once works are done based on contracts, the cost of using intermediaries will be slashed and eventually eliminated so that creators can sell their work P2P. Blockchain-based marketplaces for digital content allow creators and consumers to interact without costly intermediaries.
On a blockchain-based platform, creators can transfer unique works, independently publish, control licensing choices, and oversee the distributions. This enables the creator to be paid out based on smart contracts for every piece of content purchased. An example of how the sale of media products has been influenced by blockchain is in the idea of the Non-Fungible Tokens. NFTs allow for digital items and products such as videos, paintings, pictures, etc to be sold on a blockchain-based platform and once sold cannot be duplicated and resold.
3. Real Estate: It may be surprising and seem impossible that blockchain technology can revolutionize the real estate sector as well but as surprising as it sounds, it is hugely possible and has even already been implemented in some parts of the world. The major feature of blockchain technology is its decentralized feature which eliminated sectorial intermediaries and that exactly is what it will do in this sector, decentralize it.
Blockchain in real estate eliminates the intermediaries, thereby reducing cost. One a blockchain-based platform, real properties are tokenized and can be traded as an asset just like cryptocurrencies, the assets can be sold and purchased at their prices based on demand and supply on an exchange without intermediaries.
These tokens are sold on online marketplaces where buyers are which eliminates marketing and reselling of the property by different unauthorized realtors. Added to this, the assets can be liquidated in no time. With smart contracts, the sales and transfer of ownership of the properties are automated which makes it easier and also made visible to all on the network, with this there can be no cheating or issues of double ownership of the same properties.
4. Logistics: Blockchain can also help make logistics companies more efficient via a public ledger system that records the motions of each shipping container. With that data, companies can implement faster routes and eliminate unnecessary steps in the delivery process. Smart contracts enable retailers and logistics companies to enter binding agreements that will immediately dissolve if all agreed-upon stipulations aren't met. These ledger-based contracts increase transparency and profits while decreasing delivery time and costly errors.
5. Government: The government responsibilities and tasks can be made easy by blockchain technology applications. In serving its citizens better and more effectively, blockchain would create a seamless way of performing government tasks.
Blockchain would help in identity management by enabling government workers and citizens to register their identities on the blockchain, manage assets and security, send and request credentials, authorize transactions, and securely manage data. Also, it will allow agencies to design and create legal documents and regulations with tamper-proof blockchain-based smart contracts. Other government record-keeping responsibilities can be handled through smart contracts like the collection of payroll tax, tracking of important vaccinations, keeping of labor sector-related data.
If you didn’t know that cryptocurrency is only one of the genius inventions that the blockchain powers, after this you should have understood the major disruptions that the technology can bring in all sectors and practices.
written by Joy Abia