There has been so much uproar about the unprecedented potential of Blockchain technology, but there is so much confusion as well. Some folks think that blockchain can be used only with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Or that it’s only used to execute nefarious, anonymous online transactions.
Blockchain along with the artificial intelligence, internet of things and fog computing is ready to revolutionize and transform various sectors. If we bring these four technologies together, they can give rise to new business models and offer latest value propositions along with solving long-standing issues with security and transparency in transactions that involve various parties and large chunks of data.
To comprehend the real potential of the blockchain, we must work toward presenting the true definition of the technology. Also, need to dispel some of the common blockchain myths, and lastly, assess some of its most attractive powerful use cases.
Blockchain is a decentralized database system that enables a disseminated set of computing systems to verify that a transaction between various parties is authentic.
Since the ledger distributed among all participants in a transaction exists in numerous places simultaneously, it becomes difficult to temper or manipulate entries and data without being suspicious. Thus, what makes blockchain so important is its quality to automate transparency and trust among all parties involved in it.
One of the most powering innovations in the blockchain landscape is the reimagination of the smart contract. Smart Contracts are not new, they have existed for decades. However, they’re now being reinvented to automate and operate business operations in a completely decentralized form, enabling shared medium of engagement, conduct, and business operations to be enforced ecosystem-wide and automated. Smart Contracts are the reason blockchain serve beyond cryptocurrencies.
Truth: Because earlier Blockchain technology has been bookkeeping for bitcoin, many people equate both or believe that it can only serve the crypto world. Well, it’s true that both technologies originated together. But the scenario has taken a shift. Now cryptocurrencies are one of many applications that currently run on top of the blockchain.
Truth: Blockchain for Bitcoin is one of the most well-known examples of a public, permissionless network that allows anyone to join. Many cryptocurrencies make use of this type of blockchain technology because it enables all parties to track, verify and agree upon transactions, even if the individual participants are anonymous. However, this is only the surface we’ve scratched and busted one of the most common blockchain myths. Another model is a private, permissioned blockchain that’s setting out to see an uptick in global adoption. Some big organizations- including Walmart, Microsoft, and JP Morgan, among others- have begun deploying networks in which only trusted entities may participate. With a private, permissioned blockchain model, a company can use protocols to realize consensus and to validate and form blocks in the blockchain. Such a model can enable thousands of transactions per second and provide granular governance and authority to oversee records.
Truth: As mentioned earlier, all involved parties have transparent access to transactions stored in the blockchain ledger and each block is chained to its previous block. This visibility and transparency into a single point of truth make it quite difficult, if not impossible to manipulate at scale. However, with this said, there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure that blockchain networks are safe and secure end to end. It begins with making sure transactions and data stored in the blockchain ecosystem are not prone to manipulation. Also, the infrastructure that the blockchain network gets arranged on should have the necessary protection in place. In a nutshell, in the blockchain, you are only as powerful as your weakest link. If the integration point gets compromised, the whole blockchain ecosystem could be at risk.
Truth: Another one of the common blockchain myths when finding the potential of it in various industries, focuses on the Fintech industry. In fact, various use cases for the technology are coming into view almost daily across different organizations. Here are a few:
Companies are preparing to campaign against counterfeiting by utilizing private blockchain solutions throughout their supply chain systems. By having a unique digital identity for each component or product, they can trace the chain of custody, provenance, and transfer of ownership for increased transparency and visibility. Not only this, using a blockchain ledger, supply chains can enhance food safety measures and pinpoint the origin of tainted goods.
There are countless cases where death occurs due to medical errors, especially those the results of medical providers not having a proper understanding of a patient’s medical history. By micro-managing health records in a private blockchain solution, medical experts can ask for permission to access a patient’s medical record to work for their specific purpose and store transactions on a decentralized permissioned ledger. It may help in preventing critical mistakes such as different medical professionals prescribing inconsistent or conflicting medications.
A few significant large-scale breaches like those at Yahoo and Equifax indicated that information about you is vulnerable when being stored in online databases.
With a combined digital identity model stored on a blockchain database, individuals can have more control over their personal and medical information, providing businesses permission to access only the optimum amount of required information and enjoying the ability to know who is viewing their information and why.
These were only a few ways where blockchain shows its real potential to transform and disrupt industries, positively improve the global economy and even save lives. An array of blockchain use cases are in their proof-of-concept stage, but when combined with other transforming technologies like IoT, AI, and Fog computing, the possibilities to bring unprecedented business value is nearly boundless.