What is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain Technology, in essence, is more than an instrument of financial exchange. It's an encrypted database of P2P agreements, if you may. Once two parties enter into an agreement/ exchange and it gets recorded in the database, there is zero possibility for amendment of the record.
A deal made on the Blockchain, is a deal, so to speak!
Blockchain technology is superior to existing central institutions that keep records and facilitate the exchange of value in several ways.
The Blockchain is:
- Facilitates transparency
- Facilitates a trustless environment
- Empowers people by facilitating direct P2P transactions/ exchanges
- Cryptographically encrypted and has a relatively slight possibility of being hacked
Why is Blockchain so hot right now?
In a rush, it seems that Silicon Valley and every Fortune 500 company are betting big on blockchain technology and their corporate treasury departments are giving in to this trend for managing Foreign Exchange effectively.
While Fortune 500 seems to steal the show all the time, literally, if you've been waiting on the sidelines, for the Year of the Blockchain to arrive, it's here NOW.
2019 is the year of blockchain. Bitcoin is only one revolutionary manifestation of this untapped technology.
Meanwhile, at every other corporate firm in the world, there's a man that believes Blockchain is the answer to every question, here we go.
What are the advantages of adopting Blockchain Technology?
The potential advantages include enhanced efficiency (faster processes and reduced manufacturing/ delivery times), seamless collaboration (across industries), increased transparency and trust.
Despite this, adoption has been slow in the past few years. It picked up the pace in 2017.
This brings me to the obvious next question,
Where can Blockchain Technology be used, besides Bitcoin and Ethereum?
- Tackling the refugee crisis
While the Syrian Refugee Crisis of 2014 was one of the world's biggest humanitarian emergencies, the World Refugee Crisis has continued to grow at a fast pace.
Refugees at the Zataari Refugee camp of Jordan (in the picture above), pay for food by a simple iris scan using Ethereum from their cryptocurrency wallet.
The point to note here is not just the adoption of cryptocurrency for payment, but the use of Blockchain Technology to store and confirm identities of refugees, giving them access to help and resources from the World Food Programme (WFP).
- Reducing loss and theft of valuables
Everledger records the transfers of ownership of identified physical assets instead of recording details of the asset themselves.
This is a great step towards reducing fraud and theft and enabling new and improved financial services in the global economy.
- Decentralizing Energy
Blockchain Technology can decentralize the energy market, which currently is controlled by large corporations.
Projects like Power Ledger have introduced the world to the concept of peer to peer energy trading.
Blockchain technology can be used to facilitate metering of electricity generated through an individual’s solar panels to be recorded, traded and settled on a ledger.
While in the present day, electricity prices are fixed, introducing Blockchain Technology in power distribution and allowing P2P buying and selling of electricity, so that prices respond to demand and supply instead of fixed prices.
Having a centralized grid identifies individuals as consumers ONLY, introducing Blockchain Technology would enable individuals to be both producers and consumers of electricity, giving the power of controlling prices, to them.
- Ensuring National Security
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a project that would securely store and transmit data retrieved from security cameras, sensors and other sensitive sources on the Blockchain.
Data stored on the Blockchain is incorruptible and that would mitigate the risk of data breaches in the system.
- There are 50+ real world Blockchain Use cases that I came across in a very insightful infographic shared by The Internet of Blockchain Foundation, I'm sharing it here.
Several Governments are working on Blockchain Technology Projects of their own and here's a list that highlights prominent ones on a World Map.
Why Blockchain is the future?
The world went from no internet to major internet dependency in less than a decade, and this may happen even faster with blockchain technology.
Our lives largely revolve around our identities on social media, our digital footprint and our social media connections. This caught the attention of hackers and we are increasingly witnessing an alarming rise in digital identity thefts, cyberbullying scams, and thefts.
Every day we inch closer to the tipping point.
Our Digital Identities, Stores Of Value, Fiat Currencies, Governments, and Centralized institutions are becoming harder to trust and even harder to reach or understand.
The veil is lifted from our eyes, and we trust technology more than one another.
This may usher in a Blockchain revolution sooner than predicted and for the better. Blockchain Technology brings along with it, thousands of new job opportunities, business possibilities and a hotbed for entrepreneurship and collaboration.
Like they say, embracing change is the only way forward.
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