The future of Blockchain is a recurring topic, especially amongst key decision makers and management boards across companies wishing to further disrupt numerous industries. Yet when most people think about Blockchain, they mainly associate the technology with cryptocurrencies. The reason for this may be related to its origin.
The Origin of Bitcoin
Following the 2008 financial crisis, the idea of a digital currency, namely Bitcoin, which did not rely on, or trust Banks and Financial Intermediaries to hold or transfer our money seemed to be the solution which we as consumers would benefit greatly from. Not only would such a digital currency make it cheaper for us to transact, by taking away a large chunk of the fixed costs, it would also mean we would not have to place so much trust in Banks to safeguard our money and make it available when we needed it. If Banks were no longer required to safeguard our money, they would be less likely to engage in high risk behaviour. Reducing this risk would lead to a more stable financial system, forgoing the extreme booms and busts history has shown us.
The Workings of Blockchain
In order to create such a digital currency, where the consumer is in charge rather than a Central Bank; a decentralised and digitally distributed accounting ledger was created. Whereby, a direct user can create a transaction which is essentially represented as a “block”. This block is then shared with all the necessary (peer-to-peer) parties in the network. All the parties in the network approve and validate the transaction. Once approved, this block is then added to a “chain” which is permanent and unchangeable. The transaction is executed. This process puts the onus on participants to maintain their own ledgers and relies on automated updates to eliminate any network breaks thus, providing a transparent and public network for participants to share and access data.
Blockchain Technology Ready To Disrupt
It is this underlying Blockchain technology which has the power to substantially change how businesses operate. Any industry which is required to hold permanent records and demands trust from third parties in order to transact are able to benefit greatly. The Finance and Insurance industries have been put forward as the obvious industries which could be disrupted substantially by Blockchain technology. As has the Healthcare industry. However, a report by CB Insights shared how up to 58 Industries could be transformed with the use of Blockchain. The idea of having a decentralised platform which records a vast amount of certified data in the most transparent manner; which is completely digital, automated, fast, fraud resistant and requiring no central supervision, should appeal and be applicable to most, if not all industries.
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