Blockchains all around you
We hear the word “blockchain” very frequently these days. But do we understand what it holds for humanity in the future?
Let’s find out 👇
Saving your loved ones
2,000,000 lost baggage reports are filed each year at the airports.
Suppose your brother took a flight to the USA and his bag got lost at the airport. Now, he needs money urgently and asks you for help. You sent the money, but it took 3–4 days to reach there because lots of middlemen processed the transactions, which caused the delay, and they took a cut out of the money as fees. Due to the delay, your brother got stranded for those 3–4 days. But if the money were transferred using blockchain technology, it would take only a few minutes.
Not only this, but blockchain can provide instant cheap loans also. You can read more about DeFi here.
How does blockchain do so?
Blockchain can reduce 30% of banks’ infrastructure costs — more than $10 billion every year. This is because the blockchains don’t have a middleman, run 24 hrs/day, and are highly secure.
No middlemen: Transactions are P2P (direct from one person to another), and miners validate them.
No downtime: Since the blockchains are available on every computer, it’s not possible to shut them down, but traditional servers can go offline in case of physical damage, natural calamity, or any other circumstance.
Secure: Although there are incredibly secure protocols that protect servers, there are still loopholes that hackers can exploit. But it is impossible to hack or misuse the blockchain network because to change a part of the information; the hacker will need to change information on every block of the chain on every computer. Even with 100 supercomputers together, it is impossible to hack the chain.
Apart from this, the applications of blockchains have endless possibilities. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Superpowers of blockchain
By the end of 2024, it is expected that the blockchain market will grow to $20 billion in annual revenues.
Today, vast amounts of data of patients, such as test reports, vaccination status, diseases, etc., flow into the healthcare ecosystem, also known as PGHD (Patient-Generated Health Data). Hence, ensuring it is accurate and secure becomes necessary. With blockchain technology, the patients will be able to access their medical history in no time, granting permission to who can access it and for how much time.
For example, today, if you go to a doctor because you are feeling unwell, which is not your family doctor, the new doctor will be clueless about your medical history until you manage to carry every test report and prescription of yours to the hospital. Unfortunately, this is the situation today, which results in errors and time wasted. But with blockchain, you can go to any doctor for a checkup and grant access to your medical documents to the new doctor for a specific time.
Imagine if you could share the electricity coming to your home with those in need without any additional cost and earn rewards. It may sound crazy but let’s understand how it works.
Today, everything is becoming smart, from your washing machine to your toothbrush. Due to this, they need to connect to the internet, which will use processing power. Many of the home appliances today produce more power than they consume. Connecting them to blockchain networks will allow users to divert the extra power elsewhere and get rewarded for it. These rewards can be automatically donated to NGOs or any individual.
This means you can donate while watching TV, cooking food, washing clothes, cleaning your house, and playing games. By 2027, the IoT market will yield over $520 billion in market revenue.
There are around 1 billion people in the world with no identity. Millions of people lose their identities every year due to natural calamities and identity thefts. Governments worldwide are looking for a fast and secure identity system. Microsoft is actively working towards building one.
This has unlimited possibilities, from reducing illegal cross-border immigration to empowering poor people and refugees. It will make the certificates and degrees easily verifiable.
For example, suppose you just graduated from BITS Pilani with a bachelor’s degree. In that case, you now wish to go to IVY league school for higher studies. The new college may take a lot of time to verify the documents or find them invalid. In both cases, blockchain can help make the process smooth.
Since the blockchain stores the timestamps of the information, it can’t be altered or deleted once it is added. Similarly, the link to degree/certificate will be added inside the block by BITS Pilani. Now any IVY league school can verify the documents since they can check who added them, when, and who.
Protecting your music, blogs, videos
It takes a lot of time and effort to develop an excellent creative workpiece, and you don’t want someone to steal your hard work and get credit and money for the same.
Suppose you are a rapper and spent a lot of time producing a track named “Stars.” You uploaded it on blockchain and contacted various labels to release your song. Unfortunately, it didn’t get the reach it deserves. 4 years later, some artist named “Hari” downloaded “Stars” and uploaded it on various platforms. This time, this song became famous and smashed all charts, but Hari is getting credit and royalty.
But using blockchain tech, you can claim the track and earn royalty and recognition because blockchain stores history with timestamps, owner’s info, and other details. Nobody can change/delete it. You can match “Stars” of Hari with yours and prove that it is yours.
Voting in Elections
Even after years of democracy, the voting process has many issues waiting to be resolved. In India, more than 1.4 million EVMs (Electronic voting machines) are used for paperless voting, and it also suffers from significant vulnerabilities. Even if someone gets access to it for a brief time, the election results can be altered greatly.
The USA uses a hybrid of paper voting and digital voting. The voting process is not uniform and complex in some states, making it difficult to vote. In American history, the only “clean” election was most likely the first one in 1789.
With a blockchain-enabled voting system, you can be 100% sure that your vote is counted correctly. The blockchain secures itself through cryptography, and it can’t be hacked. The system also offers anonymity of voters’ information. It is an ideal solution to delivering the election’s actual outcome.
It is impossible to cover every use case of blockchain in an article. It is a very fundamental technology. Blockchain is not another use case of the internet. It has the potential to do what the internet did in the 90s. The future blockchains will enable insurance, education, real estate, supply chain tracking, cyber security, and many other sectors that impact our daily lives.
We’ll live in a multi-chain world.