Even as digital currencies fade from widespread interest or become illegal or heavily regulated, blockchain technology is likely here to stay. That’s because it has tremendous flexibility and the ability to disrupt almost every industry and sector of the market. It has the potential to touch every company’s accounting, corporate governance, and human resources departments. But it may also profoundly impact sectors such as banking, cloud computing, healthcare, insurance, and real estate.
- Blockchain technology can improve all organizations, regardless of industry, by enhancing human resource management and accounting processes.
- Enterprises in the private sector, 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—could be improved by incorporating blockchain technology.
Widespread Disruption Across Industries
There are some ways that blockchain technology can benefit all organizations, regardless of industry, such as:
Blockchain technology can benefit accountants by automating data collection and organization and many routine accounting functions like payroll. Blockchain tech can potentially reduce instances of human error and fraud.
Blockchain technology can increase the transparency of how an organization is governed through smart contracts—electronic agreements that automatically execute based on predetermined conditions. Blockchain technology can also enable shareholder voting by proxy and collaboration on proposals.
Managing human resources can become more efficient by using blockchain technology. Smart contracts can perform functions like conducting background checks and verifying employment histories more quickly.
Blockchain may have a specific and profound impact on some specific industries and market sectors. For example:
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.
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.
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.
A blockchain-based distributed ledger can track the histories, provenances, and archival materials for collectible art pieces. The arts are already being disrupted by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)—which also use blockchain technology—being used to signify ownership of digital art.
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.
Distributed ledgers enabled by blockchain tech can enable gamers to transport personas, skill sets, and digital assets across gaming platforms.
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.
Blockchain technology could help to establish consensus among the various parties involved with insurance claims, making processing claims more efficient. The technology could also facilitate cross-border insurance coverage and payments.
There are many ways that blockchain tech can potentially improve internet security. Blockchain technology could eliminate the need for human intermediaries, significantly reducing fraud, corruption, and human error. Blockchain tech can also make Internet of Things (IoT) networks more secure.
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 blockchain-based betting platforms.
Blockchain technology can potentially speed up the pharmaceutical industry’s 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.
Photographic licensing and copyright information can be managed and stored using blockchain tech. Photographers and creators can use the technology to connect directly with their supporters and control their pricing and distribution.
Applying blockchain technology to real estate transactions could make transferring property more efficient. Blockchain tech can potentially record and track real estate transactions and ensure documentation accuracy.
Blockchain platforms could significantly disrupt the retail industry, including brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce. Decentralized marketplaces can enable buyers and sellers to connect directly, which could lower prices by eliminating the markups charged by retailers. Sellers could avoid fees and restrictions traditionally imposed by retailers. Potentially, retailers can use blockchain technology to enhance gift card and loyalty programs.
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 potentially less susceptible to corruption.
For example, ensuring that voting processes are fair and accountable is a major concern worldwide. 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, which would increase transparency in the process. However, a 2020 report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) raised serious concerns about the security of blockchain voting.
How Blockchain Tech Is Disrupting Finance
Blockchain technology, as the core component of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, is already disrupting the payments sector of finance. But blockchain tech can potentially disrupt the payments sector even further, transforming several other subsectors within the finance industry.
Additionally, some companies have already used blockchain technology to develop global decentralized prediction markets. And blockchain could help streamline data organization in forecasting ranging from traffic models to the weather. Here are the financial sectors likely to see major disruption in the years to come:
Companies have already demonstrated a major interest in blockchain technology. With blockchain, users around the globe could gain access to banking opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Particularly, individuals in developing nations and without standard banks readily accessible can use blockchain to access these services.
Partnering with digital currencies, blockchain could allow for instant transfers of money between countries without major fees and delay times. While some mainstream financial institutions in the United States were initially reluctant to delve into the cryptocurrency market, they were much less reticent about exploring the possibilities inherent in blockchain technology.
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 to support 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 efficiently.
The Bottom Line
Businesses have already explored the ways that blockchain can revolutionize the way that:
- Cross-border payments are facilitated
- Identity and data secrecy can be enhanced
- 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 develops further.