Cryptocurrencies have been getting mix reviews from different regulators across the globe. However, the same regulators have been extremely welcoming to the underlying blockchain technology which houses the potential of revolutionising the world as we see it today. Ground-breaking announcements made by industry magnets such as Microsoft and Kodak stand indicative of the massive phenomenon blockchain is waiting to unleash. But amidst all these, have you ever wondered how blockchain can help in the betterment of your business? Today I shall try and answer the same by pointing out five areas where the encrypted record keeping via blockchain technology can bring about a paradigm improvement in upcoming days.
The issue of adoption of blockchain technology is increasingly being investigated by both banks and other financial bodies such as insurers. The disruptive concept of blockchain might make it difficult for them to survive if they hold on to the orthodox practices which are being challenged on a daily basis by the cutting-edge advancements. A yearly fee of $2 trillion is charged by banks and credit card companies for undertaking middle-man functionalities such as fraud-checking and clearing payments. This can be fully automated by the blockchain system which can also bring substantial reduction in costs. Apart from finance it also houses the potential of bringing paradigm changes in other industries. There won’t be any requirement for middlemen to conduct compliance-checking and administration of records if the unwieldy, centralized and unsecure inventory and ledgering systems get replaced with a distributed and streamlined blockchain system for record keeping. The reliability of the data will also increase making it easier to be used in carrying business analytics.
Imparting Greater Traceability
There lies a humungous requirement for provenance in the food industry. Thus, it is extremely important to demonstrate that welfare and safety standards have been catered to at every point of the supply chain for both business and legal reasons. The growth of blockchain has helped every ingredient and product in receiving their exclusive digital passport making it easy to trace their origin and journey. Starting from pickers to packagers, retailers and ultimately deliverer – a large number of organisations are keeping track of these records in a centralized manner. Multiple points are hence arising for potential failure like that of data loss and fraudulent activity.
The requirement of provenance is also heavy in diamond industry making the usage of blockchain architecture imperative for its proper functioning. UK-based Everledger has created a database containing details such as size, colour and certificate number of 1.6 million precious diamonds. Diamonds are being matched with their blockchain based “digital twins” by making use of high resolution imagery even after the removal of their unique identifying numbers which are initial etched invisibly into the stones. Plans are also being made for implementing the same procedure in vintage wine industry in days to come.
Guaranteeing Complete Customer Experience
The data collated from reward and loyalty programs are utilised for issuance of rewards in arrears. A blockchain based system will help in calculating and issuing the reward points at their point of accrual. Apart from speeding things up, this will also usher in immediate discounts as customers get to use the value in their purchases. Various blockchain based loyalty cards have been launched by start-ups such as Qiibee and Loyall for making it easier for customers to trade in value worth their freebie vouchers across various retailers. This has the potential of ultimately changing the entire structure of loyalty and reward exchanges where customers can take the final call regarding their investments.
Verifying Identity And Ownership
Internet has ushered in a great deal of advantages by making it possible to video chat with a loved one located thousands of miles away and sharing pictures and files instantly over email. But at the same time, it has also ushered in perils which is imposing a big threat to intellectual property rights of both individuals and corporates. The international patenting system has an extremely horrendous structure with rules varying according to demographic location.
Photograph giant Kodak has recently announced that it will come up with a platform for tracking and recording photographs and image usage across the internet. This will allow image rights holders to penalise users who avail the images without seeking proper permission of the actual owners. With a strong photographer and publisher relationship, this setup is expected to bring about automated invoicing and facilitate enhanced transparency.
“Think and do” tank Mycelia incubated by songwriter and singer Imogen Heap has been investing heavily in IP management, blockchain contracts and payment solutions. The necessity of blockchain is also being felt in the real estate industry which is largely being bogged down by legal compliance and paperwork while dealing with bigger value transfers. Usually mortgage approvals and applications require months given the due diligence necessary at every step complicating the entire process.
Ubiquity based out in United States is trying a deliver a blockchain based solution to this problem by bringing forth a transparent public ledger which will record property deeds and titles. Identity and credentials can also be established properly through blockchain helping recruiters gain an edge over wrongful applications posted by prospective candidates. A CV verification and matching service based on blockchain has been launched with the motive of drastically reducing the time lag of employers in checking the experience and qualifications of candidates.
The encrypted design of blockchain make them comparatively secure than other file storage systems. No one actually gets to establish supreme control over this distributed architecture thus preventing accidental deletion of information and unauthorised access. This makes blockchain all the more suitable for handling sensitive data whose safekeeping is your primary obligation for a long span of time. Blockchain also holds the potential to dismiss middle-men with its constant automation thus removing probable failure points arising out of human corruptibility and adding to the holistic security.
Blockchain technology is already being implemented by corporates across the globe such as Estonian data protection specialists Guardtime for securing the health records of one million patients. Considerable advancements have also been made in the security of online communications courtesy blockchain. Cloud storage of photographs and conversations is catered to in a decentralized approach by Obsidian Messenger which is spread across the network peripherals of everyone running the software. The person in possession of the private key can reconstruct all the pictures and messages whenever required. The blockchain technology is also increasingly being used by the Edge Security platform for protecting wallets meant for Bitcoin storage. The company believes that it can tackle the fiasco caused by crypto wallet hacking by storing encrypted data on the devices of client rather than collating the same centrally in data centres.
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Rohit Kukreja is a Commerce graduate with Financial Markets expertise involving Stocks, Forex, Futures & Options Market and now Bitcoins & Cryptocurrency Markets. Blockchain Enthusiast but not a techie, Rohit is an active member of various Blockchain & Crypto communities all over India.