Blockchain is loosely known as the database that supports the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – a breakthrough in technology that everyone can recognize but may not really understand.
In essence, a blockchain is a decentralized and digitally distributed database that stores information in the form of blocks and organizes them in chronological order to create a chain. Data stored in the blockchain is shared between all the nodes in its network, and it cannot be altered once it is entered.
Blockchain adds an unmatched level of transparency and security to users. It is one of the main reasons that cryptocurrency has been so widely adopted – It creates a record of transactions that can be verified of followed anywhere in the world.
Businesses, financial institutions, governments, and general users have integrated blockchain across diverse sectors, and have found applications for this technology in a range of different services. The following are 6 blockchain trends to get you introduced to this ground-breaking technology.
If the past couple years of the pandemic have shown us anything, it’s that supply chains are vulnerable to disruptions, and signs of potential interruptions can fall under the radar. This causes setbacks and harms business operations globally. Consumer demand is only growing overtime, and supply chains are evolving into increasingly complex and multifaceted systems. Businesses have been looking for more visibility, and blockchain has been useful in eliminating the blind spots.
Blockchain is able to improve supply chains by tracing the movement of products, improving coordination between different stakeholders, delivering products faster, and helping businesses access financing. Altogether, this has helped businesses reduce errors that are often difficult and expensive for businesses to trace back to the source, such as missing inventory, double spending, etc. Large firms like IBM have already started implementing blockchain into their supply chain operations, and this number is only set to grow overtime.
Simply put, blockchain makes upstream visibility possible by recording every step of the process in a publicly accessible network. Using blockchain, even end customers are able to see every step that led up to putting a product on the shelf and can even help to verify its authenticity.
Since the 1970s, financial institutions have used tokenization in some form to help protect the confidential information of their clients. They would convert personal details such as SIN and credit card numbers into codes that were processed with cryptographic functions to become a token. Now, thanks to blockchain, practically any asset that can be owned and that has a quantifiable value can be tokenized.
Blockchain has made the process of tokenization much more secure and flexible so that it can be applied in many industries. It stores the ownership data publicly so that the origin and transaction history can be accessed and verified.
In the world of crypto, one of the most popular examples of tokenization is through the creation of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
Some of the earliest adopters of blockchain have been firms operating within the financial services industry. Blockchain has benefitted this industry by adding an extra layer of security and transparency to transactions. This has helped financial institutions to better manage risks and prevent cases of fraud.
Blockchain has even helped financial institutions reduce costs for consumers by automating many of their services. Using this technology, they have been able to streamline their processes for increased speed and operational efficiency.
There is no doubt that cryptocurrency has gone mainstream in the past few years, and blockchain has played a big role in making that happen. Blockchain has allowed cryptocurrencies to solve many of the problems associated with regular currency that hinder our financial systems. For example, each transaction made with cryptocurrency must be validated by all the different nodes within the network. This prevents cases of fraud and double spending to help users protect their assets.
Blockchain also records each transaction in a way that is publicly accessible anywhere in the world. This allows for the flow of money to be easily traced and prevent a range of financial crimes including theft, money laundering, and more.
In November 2021, South Korea launched their own COVID-19 vaccine passport apps using blockchain technology to safely store users personal information, revealing the practicality of this technology in identify management. This allowed users to have full control over their personal information while supporting businesses in avoiding counterfeit.
The use of blockchain is giving people more security over their personal information by validating their identities while only revealing the necessary information. For example, rather than showing all the information on your Driver’s License, Health Card, or Passport to prove your age, blockchain can be used to prove your identity while only revealing the necessary information, such as your birthday.
Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are both driven by data and value, making them an inevitable pair. AI has helped evolve blockchain’s consensus process, while blockchain has been able to help store and secure data. All in all, they have helped each other evolve as a technology and find new applications.
For example, a supply-chain company called Bext360 based out of Denver has been able to combine blockchain and AI to predict growing patterns in crops and record the supply chain process of their materials from beginning to end. In doing so, they’ve been able to drive efficiency in the coffee, seafood, timber and mineral industries while ensuring that all parties are compensated fairly and on time.