Blockchain — 5 ways the technology will impact society in the future
ARYZE Ambassador, Abishek Wadhwa, looks into the potential of blockchain for disrupting industries and making changes for the better in various aspects of modern life.
Blockchain, pioneered by “Satoshi Nakamoto” in 2008, has been the talk of the town for over two years now. A blockchain is essentially an advanced time-stamped, traceable, immutable record keeping technology on a decentralized network managed by a cluster of computers instead of an individual entity.
Of late, blockchain has emerged to be among the most popular buzzwords, not just in the payment industry, but across multiple industries. Despite the colossal potential of this tremendous technology, not all countries are in solidarity with its adoption.
From Estonia openly embracing blockchain, utilizing it in judicial, legislative, health, cyber security, and banking applications, to countries like Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, and South Korea being receptive to the future of Blockchain, the potential mass adoption of blockchain is indisputable.
Blockchain holds the key to revolutionizing the current industries, and five of those have been discussed below.
Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals:
The healthcare industry has been observed to undergo several changes over the past years, and with the support of digitization, the advancement is more than ever. Blockchain can offer a higher degree of safety and ownership, where the patient regulates the access to their digital records.
Blockchain could also enhance the transparency in tracking prescribed medication. Pharmaceutical manufacturers could upload the batch numbers of their packaged products on a blockchain, which could subsequently be verified by wholesalers and customers. In addition, Blockchain provides the technology to monitor supply chains, from pinpointing inefficiencies to locating products in real time. An example of a project working on this is MediLedger.
With drugs, several operating constraints like temperature range, humidity, air quality may need to be tracked, since the environmental conditions within the transportation process often have a direct impact on the quality and efficacy of the drug. Additionally, smart contracts can be programmed that automatically execute when compliance conditions are not met, thereby alerting the relevant parties in the supply chain.
Property titles, transactions and historic value can be built onto the blockchain providing transparency and reducing the time and cost associated with real estate transactions. Blockchain technologies are bound to revolutionize the real estate industry by significantly diminishing fraud, minimizing paper waste, increasing transparency, leading to better and more integrated records.
With smart contracts, Blockchain will allow entirely new opportunities. However, for attorneys, real estate agent referral networks, crypto and foreign remittance convertors, third-party verifiers and others, many of their existing duties will be rendered obsolete by automated contractual work. Then again, there will be room for a different kind of verification, administrative and assurance role, as the contractual nature of the code must be examined for loopholes and bugs to ensure security. Interestingly, lawyers in the future may have to learn how to write and read code…
Smart contracts could enable designing rental and purchase contracts in the future via Blockchain to furnish and analyze the necessary data for real estate valuation, to commission service providers along the value chain, to map real estate data and to store sensitive data like purchased land, record ownership certificates on a decentralized network.
Entertainment and Royalties:
Upon listing an asset on the blockchain, ownership of said asset is registered the owner in a public and transparent manner. Blockchain can have a remarkable impact on issues in the entertainment industry, as well! For instance: copyright infringement, piracy, and content consumption. The artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians could also therefore distribute their creative content on a global scale, while retaining full control over said content.
An example of firms working on this is Breaker, formerly known as SingularDTV. Their mission is simple: to evolve the entertainment industry with a decentralized ecosystem that empowers creators and delivers fans a diverse collection of classic and original content. They provide a platform for artists to upload their work, in which the digital asset is referenced on a blockchain. This registry notes the creator, director, producer, and so on, until everyone is credited with a partial ownership, which in turn pays out royalties as the work gets viewed!
This works because the blockchain is a public, distributed and encrypted ledger, which ensures that data cannot be changed. Artful modifications may be possible with paper documents, while blockchain deflects this challenge by employing thousands of computers in a network, which prevents data from being altered, as the computers (or nodes) have to agree on the overall truth. As the chain gets longer, it becomes harder and harder to change the data.
A critical aspect of modern day democracies is to have the right to vote, and with that comes the need for tamper-proofing the voting system. Besides that, involvement in matters of global importance is becoming crucial in this ever-globalizing world.
Blockchain could enable public participation in matters ranging from local issues and governing parties, to federal or country wide issues, or perhaps even international decisions, e.g. G20 discussion topics, courses of action of the World Bank or the IMF. Rights currently unimaginable may become a necessity in the coming years.
While digital voting can be susceptible to tampering, blockchain voting technology is verifiable and would allow anybody to audit the blockchain to confirm votes are time stamped and legitimate.
However, you introduce a lot of attack vectors when digitising elections. For example, you would be exposed to man in the middle attacks, where if your system (i.e. phone or computer) is compromised, your vote will be altered by a hacker before being published to the blockchain. This will make it impossible to trace that something fishy has been going on with the data, except for your word. Therefore a digital election would probably still require you to go to a voter registry/election booth to use audited and secure hardware. — Nikolaj Lollike, in the ARYZE community
The solution isn’t here yet, but progress is being made every day to shore up holes in our democratic processes and to provide safe and trustworthy elections.
Conventional stock markets often observe a delay of 2–3 days for settlement of stocks and bonds, which could be improved by the use of Blockchain, which is more cost effective and would enable instant settlement. The delay involves the traders, brokers, regulators to go through a complex process which may take more than 3 days to complete transactions, due to the involvement of middlemen.
Blockchain, due to its decentralization and ability to have policy encoded into smart contracts, simplifies the process and helps the participants to reduce the high costs of administration and distrust. Blockchain can enable the companies to create digital tokens in-house, which may have an embedded smart contract that performs functions defined during its design.
These functions may include permissions to users, ability to drive promotions, exchange features, among several others, which provide a much wider applicability than a single transaction on a stock exchange. What we are talking about here is a smarter and more efficient generation of financial services and products.
While the time horizon for a “blockchain based” future is variable, especially with the volatility in the space, there are some inevitable components of this expected world that both consumers and enterprises should begin thinking about. The three trends to look out for during this blockchain revolution would be associated with the intermediaries becoming obsolete, heightened security, added efficiencies. This will inevitably metamorphose the current financial tools and digital assets.
Article by Abishek Wadhwa
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ARYZE.
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