Marina Baslina

@marinabaslina

Blockchain: Beyond Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies are by far the most popular application of the blockchain. But, did you know that blockchain technology also has huge potential to improve many aspects of our lives? First. let’s take a look at what the blockchain actually is.

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

A simple way to understand the blockchain is to think about how Google Spreadsheets work.

Users sharing a Google Sheet can both edit it at the same time, and see every change the other party makes as it happens. No one has to wait for the other party to make changes, or worry about what will happen if one of the versions gets lost. There is always a record of any changes made to the spreadsheet.

The blockchain works in a similar fashion. It keeps track of transactions in a shared database that is reconciled as entries are made.This means no one can make changes to this database without the consent of all parties involved.There is no single location where the database is kept, (in other words, the records are decentralized.) All records in the database stay public and verifiable at all times, which makes them immune from hacking.

This is what makes blockchain’s potential to transform life as we know it so powerful. It keeps parties involved in transactions honest, and also cuts out a lot of unnecessary third-parties at the same time.

Here is a look at some important ways blockchain can improve our lives.

1. Incorruptible Bookkeeping Platform

Blockchain is a perfect platform for bookkeeping. Every transaction on the blockchain is of public record and its enhanced security makes it a incorruptible platform.

It can thus be used to fight financial, political and institutional corruption because no single party will ever be in control of all of the record keeping.

2. Delivering a Voting System Which Can’t Be Hacked

Imagine a political process where voter fraud is non-existent and all election results were credible. Blockchain can help make that a reality.

Blockchain technology is ideal for voter registration, identification, and tallying of votes because it can’t be altered in any way. It would make a massive difference in eliminating election corruption.

3. Eliminate Transaction Fees

Because blockchain is decentralized, transaction fees can be eliminated. This means that sending and receiving of money can be made much easier, thus playing a key role in alleviating poverty and generally improving the quality of life.

4. Transparent and Risk-Free Insurance Management System

Through its hack-free encryption system, insurers will be able to easily capture information on insured properties. This will help Insurance eliminate insurance fraud, resulting in massive savings to consumers.

It also ensures that insurance claims are processed transparently, quickly and without error.

5. Healthcare Sector Applications

Blockchain can be used for the encoding and storage of health records. Users will receive a private key which will only grant health record access to authorized persons. This will help eliminate lost records, which involves huge cost, treatment delays and inconvenience.

Applying blockchain to health records also ensures that in an emergency situation, occurring anywhere in the world, qualified personnel will be able to access critical health data.

It can also be used to ensure that medical research is done in a secure, transparent and confidential manner.

6. Creation of Smart Contracts

Imagine a contract where the terms are automatically fulfilled when certain conditions were met — without involving any third-parties. That’s the promise of a smart contract.

Smart allow for automated payments to be made after parties involved agree the conditions outlined have been met.

For example, a car could be rented without needing to visit an agent. The person wanting to rent the car could step up to a kiosk, and then provide their driver’s license and cryptocurrency payment. The kiosk would then instantly deliver the keys as soon as the driver’s license and payment were verified.

Any damages to the vehicle could be detected automatically via sensors, and instantly charged back to the renter.

PARTING SHOT

The power of blockchain technology can never be underestimated. When, and not if, the blockchain goes mainstream, its role in bettering our quality of life is limitless.

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