Blockchain technology is already the core component of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and it is significantly disrupting the payments sector. But blockchain technology has many applications and the potential to significantly disrupt many industries.
Even if digital currencies fade from popular interest or become illegal entirely, blockchain technology is likely here to stay. Keep reading to get your head around all of the sectors and industries that blockchain tech has the potential to disrupt.
- Blockchain technology can improve all organizations, regardless of industry, by enhancing processes like human resource management and accounting.
- Enterprises in the private sector ranging from insurance companies to manufacturers to philanthropies can uniquely benefit from blockchain technology.
- Almost every entity and service in the public sector—such as elections, education, and waste management—could be improved by incorporating blockchain technology.
Industries That Blockchain Technology Can Disrupt
There are some ways that blockchain technology can benefit all organizations, regardless of industry, such as:
- Corporate governance: Blockchain technology can increase the transparency of how an organization is governed through the use of smart contracts—electronic agreements that automatically execute based on predetermined conditions. Blockchain technology can also be used to enable shareholder voting by proxy and collaboration on proposals.
- Human resources: Managing human resources can become more efficient by using blockchain technology. Smart contracts can more quickly perform functions like conducting background checks and verifying employment histories.
- Accounting: Blockchain technology can benefit accountants by automating data collection and organization, in addition to automating many routine accounting functions like payroll. Blockchain tech can potentially reduce instances of both human error and fraud.
Here's how blockchain tech can benefit or otherwise disrupt many industries within the private sector:
- Insurance: Blockchain technology could help to establish consensus among the various parties involved with insurance claims, making processing claims more efficient. The tech could also facilitate cross-border insurance coverage and payments.
- Real estate: Applying blockchain technology to real estate transactions could make transferring property more efficient. Blockchain tech can potentially be used to record and track real estate transactions, in addition to ensuring the accuracy of documentation.
- Retail: Blockchain platforms could significantly disrupt the retail industry, including both brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce. Decentralized marketplaces can enable buyers and sellers to directly connect, which could lower prices by eliminating the markups charged by retailers. Sellers could avoid fees and restrictions traditionally imposed by retailers. Retailers themselves can potentially use blockchain technology to enhance gift card and loyalty programs.
- Digital advertising: Blockchain-based web browsers may change how online advertising works. Blockchain tech can enable companies to advertise directly to internet users, with consumers receiving fewer ads that are better targeted to their interests.
- Cloud computing: Blockchain technology may help to decentralize cloud computing, making cloud technology's use of computing resources and data storage more efficient. Decentralizing data storage could also make cloud-based networks more secure.
- Internet security: There are many ways that blockchain tech can potentially improve internet security. Blockchain technology could eliminate the need for human intermediaries—which would greatly reduce instances of fraud, corruption, and human error. Blockchain tech can also make internet-of-things (IoT) networks more secure.
- Healthcare: Hospital systems and other healthcare networks could use blockchain technology to share data, including patient records, more efficiently and securely. Permissioned blockchains may enable records to be efficiently shared without compromising privacy.
- Food and beverage: Blockchain technology is well suited to making food and beverage supply chains safer and more efficient. Food supply chains on a blockchain are more transparent, which enables tracing contamination to its source to occur more quickly. Certifications like being organic could also be more easily verified, with blockchain technology providing more visibility into the supply chain.
- Cannabis: The legal cannabis industry is tightly regulated, which creates an opportunity for blockchain technology to make regulatory compliance for cannabis companies more efficient. Blockchain tech can increase the transparency of the cannabis supply chain, boosting the safety of the product and proving its legal status.
- Pharmaceutical drugs: Blockchain technology can potentially speed up drug discovery, which is notoriously slow, by enabling more and better collaboration among researchers. The drug development process can become safer with blockchain tech increasing the transparency of the process.
- Fine art: A blockchain-based distributed ledger is capable of tracking the histories, provenances, and archival materials for collectible art pieces. The arts are already being disrupted by non-fungible tokens—which also use blockchain technology—being used to signify ownership of digital art.
- Photography: Licensing and copyright information for photographs can be managed and stored using blockchain tech. Photographers—along with other creators—can use blockchain technology to connect directly with their supporters and control their own pricing and distribution.
- Online gambling: Blockchain technology can bring much-needed transparency to online gambling, potentially disrupting the ability of digital casinos to tilt the odds in their favor. Players can also potentially maintain greater anonymity through the use of blockchain-based betting platforms.
- Gaming: Distributed ledgers enabled by blockchain tech can enable gamers to transport personas, skill sets, and digital assets across gaming platforms.
- Air travel:
- Publishing: including online content creation including video streaming
- Communications: including online messaging platforms
- Energy: including energy management
- Manufacturing: including 3D printing, industrial IoT
- Forestry: logging and timber
- Construction: including architecture
- Transportation: including ride hailing
- Automobiles: including car manufacturing, car sales,
- Farming: plant agriculture
- Animal agriculture:
- Forecasting: Some companies have already made use of blockchain technology to develop global decentralized prediction markets. Aside from these types of wager systems, there are other forecasting applications for blockchain technology besides these types of wager systems, though. Indeed, blockchain could help streamline data organization in forecasting ranging from traffic models to the weather.
- Lending and credit: including car leasing
- Estate planning:
Blockchain technology is also increasingly in use by the public sector. Government agencies, more than private sector enterprises, are plagued by bureaucracy and inefficiencies that blockchain technology can potentially remedy. Blockchain tech can also make governments more transparent, and therefore potentially less susceptible to corruption. Here's a breakdown of parts of the public sector that may be transformed by blockchain technology:
- Elections: Around the world, ensuring that voting processes are fair and accountable is a major concern. Some have posited that blockchain could help to enhance this process and increase reliability and security. Using blockchain technology, voting processes could potentially improve everything from voter registration to vote counting. The blockchain's distributed ledgers are publicly accessible and immutable means that it would increase transparency in the process. However, a 2020 report from MIT raised serious concerns about the security of blockchain voting.
- Education: including academia / higher ed
- Law enforcement:
- Public safety: including gun tracking
- Mail service:
- Public assistance:
- Public transportation:
- Waste management:
- Defense: including aerospace
- Public record keeping:
How Blockchain Tech Is Further Disrupting Finance
Blockchain technology, as the core component of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, is already disrupting the payments sector of finance. But blockchain tech has the potential to disrupt the payments sector even further, in addition to transforming several other sub-sectors within the finance industry.
Here's how blockchain technology can impact the financial sector in the years to come:
- Banking: companies have already demonstrated major interest in blockchain technology. With blockchain, users around the globe could gain access to banking opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have. Particularly, individuals in developing nations and without standard banks readily accessible can make use of blockchain to access these services. Partnering with digital currencies, blockchain could allow for instant transfers of money between countries and without major fees and delay times. While some mainstream financial institutions in the U.S. were initially reluctant to delve into the cryptocurrency market, they were much less reticent about exploring the possibilities inherent in blockchain technology.
- Asset exchange: including crypto exchanges, stock exchanges
- Institutional investing: including hedge funds
- Fund raising: including Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding has risen to prominence in the past several years to become one of the most popular ways for individuals to raise funds for all kinds of projects and goals. At the source of crowdfunding is a relationship of trust between those seeking to fund a project and others willing to contribute donations in support of those goals. Crowdfunding sites typically sustain themselves by charging fees for their services, acting as a middleman between project developers and givers. Blockchain could help reduce the need for a middleman, better connecting project managers to those willing to give in an efficient way.
The Bottom Line
Businesses have already explored the ways that blockchain can revolutionize the way that cross-border payments are facilitated, the way that identity and data secrecy can be enhanced, and the way that smart contracts can extend functionality into the mainstream business world. With the sheer number of industries and sectors that blockchain technology can potentially disrupt, it's very likely that blockchain technology is here to stay. The impact on the world of blockchain tech will continue to grow as the technology also further develops.