While blockchain is still gaining traction in terms of wider usage in day-to-day business, it has already made its way into several industries. For this reason, many are already wondering what the future of blockchain holds.
As you may know, blockchain has been touted as one of the most revolutionary pieces of technology today. And, it is not just technology that is used to power cryptocurrency. Claims have been made that it has the power to disrupt all industries and the power to change the way things like banking and contract signing are done forever.
With all these possibilities, one wonders what to expect from the future of blockchain. In this article, we discuss what the future holds in terms of this revolutionary technology.
We also look at what industries have begun using it and which will start making use of it more and more.
A Background Of Blockchain
Before getting into the future of blockchain, it may be useful to remind ourselves of its history. In 1991, the idea of blockchain was conceptualised. While small additions and technological changes were made after that, it was largely untouched for many years.
However, once bitcoin hit the scene in 2008, 17 years after the conceptualisation of blockchain, people finally began to pay attention to the technology and see how useful it was.
Since then, blockchain has evolved significantly, now being the technology upon which many innovations are built. Because of its slow rise to fame, many may have doubts about the future of blockchain. But, considering its capabilities, we can easily see how these doubts are unnecessary.
For example, the technology boasts several draw-ins, the most appealing of which may be the transparency it allows. Since anyone with access to the ledger can see all transactions, each individual is forced to act morally and responsibly.
Furthermore, it allows traceability of information added to the ledger, which means that companies could, for example, track where there has been an issue on a production line or see where funds have gone missing, or fraud has been committed. The immutability of a blockchain reinforces this since the information that has been added cannot be altered. This means that there is no dependence on a system of trust because the technology comes with built-in security.
Finally, the technology increases efficiency significantly through its decentralisation aspect. No overarching authorities control the information being shared, and thus, no need for a middleman.
Obviously, this technology could change the world of finance, manufacturing, and much more.
How Has Blockchain Altered Industries already?
To help set the stage for what the future of blockchain may look like, it is useful for us first to take a look at how blockchain has already altered the world and various industries. Many top businesses have incorporated blockchain into their systems to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
For example, smart contracts have changed the way music is purchased. Mycelia’s application uses blockchain to distribute music from the artist to the listener without the middleman of record companies or music platforms like Apple Music. This way, artists get the full amount charged instead of splitting royalties with others.
Another example is supply chain management. The well-known corporation, Walmart, uses the technology to track the journey of their produce from where it begins to when it reaches the shelves. This allows them to ensure they have the best quality products and also allows them to track where an error has occurred if there is a problem with the product.
Other massive corporations like Microsoft, Barclays, Unilever, and DeBeers have also incorporated technology into their systems to increase the efficiency of their business.
The Future of Blockchain
Based on its past and how it is presently being used to disrupt industry norms, there are quite a few predictions for the future of blockchain. Many innovations are predicted to emerge that will use the technology in interesting and exciting ways. Below are a few transformations that the future of blockchain may boast.
While it may be many years before interconnectivity at its highest level is reached, it is already becoming a reality. IBM found that 83% of businesses today think it is important to ensure standards that allow for interconnectivity and interoperability in permissioned and permissionless blockchain networks to join industry-wide blockchain networks.
Of course, there is much to be done in terms of achieving this. However, IBM believes many members of single networks will likely request guidance on integrating different protocols since many networks are reaching critical mass.
It is predicted that blockchain solutions will be used for its validation tools to ensure that there is less human error in data entry. This could also ensure that fraud does not occur.
Many believe that the future of blockchain sees the technology combined with adjacent technologies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the current technologies. This is because blockchain will be able to provide more trustworthy data, which will, in turn, strengthen already existing algorithms.
According to an article in a special report by the Tech Republic on how blockchain will disrupt business, there are four ways blockchain could disrupt the finance industry. The first three are relevant here.
First, it is expected to lower the costs of cross-border transaction fees. Second, it will ensure heightened identity management to combat illegal financial activities like money laundering. Third, smart contracts are expected to increase the speed of titling processes for transactions that encompass the exchange of goods.
As explained earlier in this article, smart contracts have already been used in the music industry. However, they are expected to be used in the same way but much more broadly in the future.
Additionally, smart contracts may be used for other entertainment sections. It can be used to facilitate the exchange of services, intellectual property, and even assets like property and deeds.
While the technology is already being used in some areas of supply chain management, it is expected to widen its reach to the following industries: automobile, manufacturing, and any industry that imports parts or products that need to be tracked or traced.
Industries That Will Increase The Use Of Blockchain
Almost any industry could increase its use of blockchain in some form or another. However, some are predicted to increase their use more than others. Here are some industries that will most likely use blockchain technology in the future.
This industry will likely use blockchain for many reasons, the most significant of which is collaboration. Should healthcare providers decide to share information on a blockchain network, they may increase the likelihood of accurate diagnoses and effective treatments.
This will also be more cost-effective, as funds will be saved by simply using information – from different institutions – that have been shared on the network.
Patient information can also be held more securely using blockchain. In addition, patients will have more control over their information. For example, they’ll be able to control if it is used for research or diagnosis purposes.
Blockchain can also speed up research as it can be published directly to the network and help pick up drug production errors for additional safety protocols.
As mentioned in the previous section, the finance sector is likely to be significantly affected by the use of blockchain. Blockchain will ensure that crimes like fraud and money laundering are lessened if not eliminated.
Contracts, Deeds, Wills, and More
Using smart contracts on a blockchain network will greatly increase efficiency and security for transferring deeds, renting homes, public records, selling property, and much more. All information required to fulfil or complete any specific contracts above will be verifiable on the blockchain, thus decreasing issues with transferring assets and illegal claims to assets.
Prepare For A Future Of Blockchain Use
Blockchain has made its mark on society and in various industries already. Based on the increase in its use already, it is highly likely that we will see an even higher increase in the years to come. The advantages that come with using the technology seem to be too useful for many to deny.
From the possibility of changing the world of commerce to upgrading the way contract law is fulfilled, the future of blockchain is extremely promising. We should prepare for the changes rather than get caught off guard when they occur.