While mainstream financial institutions in the U.S. have generally been reluctant to dive in to the cryptocurrency market head first, many companies and industries have been far more likely to explore the possibilities inherent in blockchain technology.
Already, businesses have 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. Blockchain, as a distributed ledger technology, allows for cryptocurrencies to function as they do. It may even extend its impact beyond the realm of cryptocurrencies and even if digital currencies as a group fade from interest. Below, we'll explore some of the industries that blockchain may soon help to revolutionize.
Banking and Payments
Banking and payments 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, says blokt.com. 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.
Insurance as an industry is primed for integration of blockchain technology. Using the distributed ledger's unique verification ability, insurance companies could independently verify data within contracts to facilitate a smoother process at every stage of the game.
Around the world, insuring that voting processes are fair and accountable is a major concern. Blockchain could help to enhance this process and increase reliability and security. Using blockchain technology, voting processes can improve everything from registration to vote counting. Best of all, the fact that blockchain's distributed ledgers are publicly accessible and immutable means that it would increase transparency in the process.
Some companies, like Augur, have already made use of blockchain technology to develop global decentralized prediction markets. 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.
For many, the word government is synonymous with bureaucratic slowdowns and red tape. Beyond that, many aspects of government are neither efficient nor transparent, meaning that they are also susceptible to corruption. With blockchain, various aspects of governmental procedure could be streamlined, thereby decreasing bureaucratic holdups and improving information security and transparency.
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.
Individuals shoppers, either at a brick-and-mortar store or online, place their trust in retail systems. With blockchain, buyers and sellers could potentially come together directly, eliminating the middleman and keeping prices competitive. Smart contracts could also be developed to enhance this process and increase security as well.
Real estate as an industry is susceptible to both bureaucracy and fraud because of a lack of transparency. It's common for there to be mistakes in the public record, too. Blockchains could help to speed up the real estate industry and keep the record honest. By reducing the use of paper and assisting in the process of tracking and verifying ownership, blockchain systems could improve real estate in numerous ways.
Of course, there are countless other industries that could stand to benefit from blockchain integration. As more and more companies open up their doors to blockchain and its possibilities, it's likely that the above list could grow even longer.