Ok, unless you have been living under a rock for the whole of last year, we’re pretty confident you would have come across the terms, “cryptocurrencies” and “blockchain technology,” used extensively in all your social circles. Some of you would have even invested in digital currencies, while the big debate continues to roar, “Are digital currencies legal or illegal in India?”
“Should you hold onto your stock of bitcoins or sell them right now, when the prices are astronomical?” “Is it too late to enter the race for cryptocurrencies?” and much more.
Well, today’s post doesn’t deal with any of these. Instead, we go on a tangent and explore a critical aspect of this crazy, new, revolutionary technology.
Blockchains rose to fame with the explosion of bitcoins and other digital currencies. The blockchain is the technology that made bitcoins possible and opened the Pandora’s Box to the world of cryptocurrencies. If you’re wondering, what the heck is “Blockchain Technology,” we suggest you check out this last blog post from us that introduces you to this technology, without scaring you with jargons.
Ok, now that you’re back armed with knowledge about Blockchain, let’s take a look at other unconventional uses of this revolutionary technology. While finance and digital currencies are the starting point, it doesn’t end with that. Blockchain has hundreds of other uses that are currently being tested and developed by companies all over the world.
Let’s take a look at other exciting and surprising uses of Blockchain, we’ll see in the short future:
1. Distributed Cloud Storage to Securely Store your Critical Data
Experts predict that blockchain will become a significant disruptor in this domain within the next 3 to 5 years.
One of the major drawbacks of current cloud storage is that all your data is centralized. Meaning, your valuable digital assets are stored with a single storage provider. If anything were to happen to the provider (either natural or man-made disaster), all your data goes BOOM.
Blockchain on the other is decentralized. When cloud storage runs on a Blockchain powered network, it improves security dramatically, while reducing dependency. You needn’t depend on a particular provider to store all your data.
Any internet user can store it for you for a pre-set price. What more, with hashing and multiple storage locations, your data is securer than ever before.
2. Proving your Digital Identity Seamlessly
If this technology were to happen, then it would definitely put an end to all those Aadhaar controversies over stolen identities.
Imagine if you had to never worry about getting your digital identity hacked or stolen? Blockchain technology has the potential to track and manage digital identities while ensuring it’s both secure and efficient. This also means you can enjoy the benefits of seamless sign-in and reduced frauds.
Irrespective of the industry, be it banking, online retailing, or healthcare, identity authentication and authorization is a vital element to the success of online commerce and trading.
Remember the data breach at Target, where over 70 million customers had their name, address, phone numbers stolen and hacked? Or the recent Airtel payments bank scandal?
Blockchain Technology can effectively put an end to data compromises, breached accounts and hacked databases. With this technology, you can uniquely authenticate your identity in an immutable, irrefutable and the most secure manner.
Current authentication systems use passwords and login-ids that are stored on insecure systems. With blockchain authentication, you will switch to identity verification based on digital signatures and cryptographic keys. The only check to verify the transaction will be whether it was signed with the correct private key. Anyone with the private key is the owner, and the exact identity of the owner is irrelevant.
Some of the areas where this will be mighty helpful include:
- ❖ Passports
- ❖ Birth and Wedding certificates
- ❖ Digital Identities
- ❖ E-residency and plenty more
3. Introduce Smart Contracts
The world of smart contracts is within our reach. Are you aware of them?
Smart contracts are legally-binding digitized contracts that are entered in the blockchain. This way you don’t have to trust a single central authority to execute the contract.
Let’s take a look at this one with an example. Say you owe a person 1lakh INR. You agree to repay him, at a particular time in the future, when you expect to have sufficient funds. You enter the conditions of the payout, details of the parties, the payout amount in a smart contract that is a part of the blockchain. When the defined requirements are met, the funds get released from your account and transferred to the other person, according to the preset terms.
Smart contracts have the potential to make businesses highly efficient and decentralize the legal system.
4. Make the Transition to Digital Voting
Ok, we may have moved from the age-old practice of paper ballots to e-voting systems. But, is there any improvement in security? Don’t we come across thousands of instances, where votes were cast in the name of others? And, one of the main reasons why democracies all over the world are hesitant to make the electoral process digital is security or rather the lack of it.
With Blockchain Technology, you can overcome all these issues. With it, a voter can cast his/her vote securely, while remaining anonymous to others. What more, he/she can also confirm whether his/her vote was cast securely, while still continuing to be anonymous.
In fact, the Liberal Alliance, a political party became the first in the world to use blockchain to vote. This happened in 2014.
Blockchain Technology can, in fact, revolutionize voting methodologies all over the world by increasing voter turnout and by making governments and voting bodies transparent and accountable.
5. Revolutionise Notary Services
How does a notary work? It validates the statement of a particular user at a particular point in time. This is where the timestamp of Blockchain Technology comes in quite handy. The whole decentralised blockchain network essentially validates the data (termed as a hash) at a particular time period.
Since the whole network is decentralised, it proves the existence of something at a particular point in time. This can now be presented in a court of law.
This is what a notary does, and until now, only centralized notary services were authorized to do this. As blockchain is a public database, you arrive at a distributed consensus. Your data becomes verified in a distributed way.
6. Put an End to Human Trafficking
Did you know that nearly 1/5th of the whole population (around 1.5 billion people) don’t have any official documents to prove their identity? Wars, famines, natural disasters, man-made calamities – the reasons for this are many.
Without any legal identification, it’s like these people are invisible to the governments. They don’t receive any help from the authorities, making them vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation, and prostitution.
Blockchain Technology can help in providing these people with a digital identity, that’s highly secure and decentralised. In fact, Microsoft made a recent announcement that it’s working with partners to create a Blockchain system that verifies people’s identities.
7. Shaking the Music Industry
Does the use of Blockchain Technology in the music industry sound far-fetched? Ummm, no! In fact, it’s considered as one of the most efficient ways to level the field and empower artists. With this technology, music artists can sell their songs directly to their fans, avoid all sorts of licensing complications.
Imogen Heap, the Grammy-winning songwriter, and singer released her song, “Tiny Human” on a Blockchain platform. Users have to pay for licenses to download the song to their devices. And each payment was split evenly between all the parties involved.
Apart from the applications listed here, Blockchain Technology can be used for a whole array of other purposes like:
- Tracking blood diamonds and establishing ownership
- Tackling counterfeiting in the fashion goods industry
- Registering land and other property
- And, several more.
In fact, Bitcoin was just the opening act of this revolutionary technology. It’s still in nascent stages and has a long way to go. But, what cannot be refuted is that “Blockchain Technology has arrived with a Bang and is dramatically transforming all functions of our Society.”
Have you come across any other exciting or surprising use of this technology? Or have you used it in real life? Share your views in the comments below and let’s engage in a lively exchange of views.
If you’re interested in knowing further about this Technology, just get in touch with our experts, and we can have a lively chat over steaming cups of coffee (virtual or otherwise).