Blockchain Trends In 2017

Blockchain technology has been present for almost 10 years, yet it still seems like a mysterious concept that only technology geeks can understand.

However, the multiple advancements in blockchain technology in 2016 helped more people and more business to see its full potential.

For some, blockchain is still an area they’re exploring or trying to understand the nitty-gritty intricacies of it.

So if you thought the clouds were already tense, below you will find the newest blockchain trends in 2017 and how can you apply it to an everyday life.

What Is Blockchain Technology

In case you’ve been too overwhelmed with the Cloud, Virtual Reality, IoT and other tech advancements tearing through the industries, here’s a quick overview of the blockchain technology.

Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency, which I’m sure you’ve heard about. But unlike Bitcoin, Blockchain in not strictly restricted to just a financial tool.

Blockchain can be also used to store blocks of cryptographically validated data, that is accessible to all members of the network and users cannot corrupt it. It’s been designed as a general ledger — a form of peer-to-peer sharing network.

In other words, it creates a transparent paper trail that anyone can access, but none can alter.

Bitcoin is only a part of blockchain’s history. Nowadays it can be implemented to almost any kind of value point — money, music, medical records, intellectual property or electoral voting system.

Top Trends Of Blockchain

Much of the hype around blockchain has focused on its potential impact on the financial industry. Indeed, it already has a huge impact on that industry by improving the transparency as well as reducing cost and complexity of financial transactions.

But what are the other ways of using blockchain technology that goes beyond financial services?

Eliminate Middleman Involvement

Blockchain technology can significantly reduce the need for a middle man, if not get rid of it completely. This means that many service-orientated businesses will become decentralised.

For instance, ride sharing transaction (Uber, Taxify) could be directly handled by drivers and passengers using blockchain. Customers would be able to pay the driver directly with the use of blockchain, rather than going to the third party.

Another aspect is music (or any other arts) streaming services. Artists could decide themselves how their music is sold and shared. They could receive a payment immediately through a blockchain and they wouldn’t have to wait for royalties to arrive at their bank account.

Abandoning the use of a middleman can also have another application — creating more mobile apps that will be able to facilitate those services via blockchain. That opens up a yet another platform for experiment and business development.

Manage Smart Contracts

There is a lot of hype around smart contracts, thanks to another platform based on blockchain technology, Ethereum. What are they?

A smart contract is an agreement in a digital form that is self-executing and self-enforcing.

They can not only facilitate the gathering of signatures but can also help the contract’s performance. By recording the time and details of transactions and supporting the implementation of them. By embedding code in the blockchain, transactions can be executed automatically, providing a ‘guarantee of execution’.

When certain conditions that are described in the code are met, specific actions, which are also defined in the code, are automatically triggered. So, for example, the delivery of products could trigger an instruction to make a payment.

Smart contracts won’t make lawyers redundant, but they will increase the need for more flexibility and adjustment to new services.

Act as a Bank

Yes, I know. Blockchain technology can provide cryptocurrency and it’s already changing the financial industry.

But, it can also act as a bank in a more traditional way. For those who don’t have a bank account — blockchain can help manage and certify the currency and transactions. It can keep track of money digitally and allow payments to be processed by phone or an app.

Blockchain is perhaps the most secure technology available at the moment. It’s only a matter of time until it kicks into the wider bank industry, especially for those who don’t want to go through a lengthy and bureaucratic process.

Store Medical Records

One of the biggest problems of the worldwide healthcare systems is sharing the medical data with more shareholders while ensuring data integrity and protection.

Blockchain could store health records and notify patients, who are ultimately in control of where and when the record travels. One of the greatest advantages of it is shifting control from the institution to the patient, who can take charge of the management.

Implementing new technology would allow implementation of a decentralised control mechanism, in which everyone has an interest, but nobody exclusively owns it.

Blockchain in the medical system is still at its very early stages, but 2017 has witnessed a significant increase in research and trial runs. It’s questionable which generation will be able to experience the changes, but in the future blockchain can provide a record of family history and illnesses, without a paper trail.

Secure Voting System

Follow My Vote aims to fight electoral fraud and protect user credentials by the use of blockchain technology. Voters could enter a convenient, and secure, voting system that is open-source and auditable.

Voters could skip the queue and vote online using a webcam and the government-issued ID. Cryptography would protect each ballot against tampering and would ensure anonymity.

What’s more — each voter could change their vote at any time during the election using a private key and unique voter ID. The election results could be unfolding live and long gone would be times of endless counting paper votes.

Recognise the Potential in Blockchain Technology

The good news is that an average user doesn’t have to understand the mechanism and maths behind blockchain technology.

Users and business owners can implement blockchain-driven solutions to protect data and improve the internal security. At the moment, blockchain applications can be costly and difficult to set up. Above all, they’re still very fragile to cyber attacks and they’re hackers’ delight.

What can prove to be more difficult than implementing blockchains into everyday life, is changing people’s mentality about it. Blockchain has been long associated with dark web and illegal transactions, hence shifting from that mindset can take much longer than developing blockchains into particular areas of our life itself.

Blockchain technology is ushering the second generation of the internet, and companies certainly don’t want to be left behind. And, I hope, neither do you.

So stop ignoring blockchain as if it was a thing from the future and watch out for the blockchain trends in 2017, as there’s definitely more to come.

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