Most people associate blockchain technology with Bitcoin, the infamous digital currency that rose to fame in 2017. But blockchain technology is not tied to financial transactions, and it’s creating all sorts of exciting opportunities for faster, more secure information exchange — see for yourself!
What is blockchain?
Blockchain, like the cloud, is more of a concept than a specific piece of software or hardware. It’s the idea that if you store a spreadsheet or ledger on a hundred different computers — each of which receive automatic and encrypted updates — it’s nearly impossible to create a fraudulent entry. If someone adds a line of false information to one spreadsheet, 99 others can confirm it is not in their copy and is therefore inaccurate.
In the Bitcoin ledger, each line represents the transfer of funds from one account to another. So if John wants to transfer money to Jane, he sends a request to Bitcoin’s blockchain and thousands of computers confirm his account information is correct and he has sufficient funds. The money is transferred, both account balances are updated, and the whole process takes less than an hour with almost no human interaction. Much faster than the 5-7 business days of most banks.
There are countless applications for decentralized, real-time record keeping beyond financial transactions, though. And very soon, blockchain won’t be synonymous with Bitcoin.
Although this technology has been around since the ’90s, it lacked the popularity and computing power necessary to become a mainstream solution…until now. With the rise of cryptocurrencies in 2017, blockchain started seeping into other industries, such as:
- Law – “Smart contracts” create agreements that automatically execute when their terms are met. For example, an attorney could agree to pay a courier $100 after the delivery of documents to the defendant in a case. The contract and the payment sit in the blockchain until the courier uploads a GPS-tagged photo of services rendered, at which point the money is transferred and the contract archived.
- Agriculture – Supply chain blockchains can track every ingredient throughout the production process. If several people get sick from the same food item, ingredients could be traced back to their source and products that share the same ingredients could be recalled preemptively.
- Real estate – Blockchain is being used to automate escrow account transactions, property title transfers, and insurance claims, so they aren’t reliant on slow and error-prone humans. Buying a home could eventually be as easy as finding the one you want, signing a contract, transferring your down payment, and receiving the title — no middleman necessary.
Most blockchain-based solutions are too new to trust with sensitive information. But you can do a few things to get out in front of your competitors. You can work with us to invest in business intelligence software that helps you collect more data, and start experimenting with risk-free blockchain solutions.
As long as you have certified technicians like ours at your disposal, you’ll be sure to see gains in no time — give us a call today!