The digital currency known as Bitcoin has been getting all the headlines, but many people are far more excited about the technology that underlies the cryptocurrency market. That technology, known as blockchain, has implications that go far beyond the currency market – implications that promise to change the world in many different ways.
The blockchain concept is a highly technical and difficult to explain, but it is at the heart of the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency revolutions. Simply put, blockchain technology uses a decentralized process designed to ensure security, transparency and anonymity. The value of that security, transparency and anonymity goes far beyond banking and crytocurrency, and here are five ways the blockchain concept could change the world.
With the lessons of the 2016 presidential election still top of mind, election officials around the world are looking at blockchain technology as a way to make future voting more secure and less prone to hacking. While blockchain-based elections are still a way off, there is reason to believe the technology will eventually be implemented.
The security and decentralized nature of blockchain technology makes it the perfect choice for elections at all levels. Without a central point of contact, hacking attempts would be far less effective, enhancing the security of future elections and building voter confidence in the results.
More Secure Banking
While traditional banks have been wary of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, many people think that the blockchain will eventually change the face of banking. In particular, the verification and settlement process, which currency takes up to three days, could be revolutionized by the blockchain.
The blockchain concept also promises to improve the security of the banking system, something that is obviously important to customers everywhere. In the end, the very banks that have been so skeptical of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could end up being the biggest users of its underlying blockchain technology.
In the digital world, proving who you are can be a real challenge. The problem of identity theft continues to spiral out of control, and identity theft victims face real challenges when trying to reclaim their good names.
The blockchain concept promises to improve identity protection and make proving identity far easier. The same blockchain that powers Bitcoin could become the identity theft victim’s best friend in the future.
Cheaper International Payments
Transferring money between borders can be prohibitively expensive. Just ask anyone who works overseas or tries to access funds while on vacation. Companies like Western Union can charge a premium for international money transfers, and consumers end up losing.
The widespread adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies promises to sharply reduce the cost of international money transfer, and the underlying blockchain concept could lower the price even more. In the future, international workers and avid travelers could find their costs cut in half, all thanks to blockchain technology.
The security of healthcare data is even more important than the securing of consumer information, and once again the blockchain may be able to lend a hand. Blockchain technology is already helping hospitals and medical clinics keep their patient data more secure, and more widespread adoption is expected in the future.
It is easy to see how future hospitals and medical clinics could incorporate blockchain-based security into their systems from the ground up, creating better patient records and protecting those they treat from the theft of their personal records. Older systems could also be retrofitted to incorporate blockchain technology, allowing doctors everywhere to access this higher level of security.
Bitcoin may be grabbing all the headlines, and the price rise has been truly spectacular. Even so, the blockchain behind Bitcoin may end up being the most valuable asset, and blockchain technology promises to change the world in countless ways, including the five outlined above.