We live in an ever-changing world where technology which is continually being improved upon everyday literally dictates how we carry out human endeavours. Blockchain technology is one of the most discussed technologies right now. It has the power to catalyse a lot of processes that effect change, as well as create new opportunities across various sectors and industries like healthcare, cyber-security, banking, you name it!
When blockchain technology is mentioned, the mind of the average person thinks of cryptocurrency, but blockchain technology surpasses this…
This brings us to what blockchain really is.
What is blockchain technology?
The blockchain technology is totally different from any other type of computer technology that man has ever seen. It is a system of recording information in such a way that that information is impossible and extremely difficult to change, hack or cheat. Essentially the blockchain technology is a series of digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Every single block in the chain embeds a number of transactions, and a record of new transactions is added every time they occur. The decentralized database managed by multiple participants is known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), and blockchain is a type of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) where transactions are recorded with an unchangeable cryptographic signature called hash.
Who are the users of this technology?
As mentioned earlier, the uses of the blockchain technology exceeds cryptocurrency which is the most known use. When it comes to cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is the most popular example of the blockchain technology. Many global firms have either started to invest in the blockchain technology or have even begun to integrate it in its processes. The users of the blockchain technology and companies who have begun to integrate the technology into its systems include;
- Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin
- Spotify, to manage copyrights
- IBM, To build a tracking tool for shipping companies and retail chains
- Eastman Kodak, to create storage for stock photos
- Goldman Sachs
What does the future look like for the blockchain technology?
The blockchain technology is still in its early stage and a lot of people still have reservations about the technology. Experts say that the blockchain technology and will in the future affect every industry and human endeavour in one way or the other. Although experts say that the technology will still take quite some time to become completely integrated in major human endeavours, here are some of the ways the blockchain technology could shape the future.
- Cross-border payments
The traditional way of sending and receiving money is both expensive and time-consuming. This disadvantage is even worse when it comes to payments that involve various countries. The disadvantage of location, difference in currency and what have you that are associated with cross-payments can be eradicated using the blockchain technology. Already, this is already being witnessed, and with time, the blockchain technology could completely replace the traditional way of making payments, because it is very fast and has infinitesimal or no transactional cost.
- Identity management
The security of one’s identity has been an issue since the internet arose. It doesn’t matter how much security and efforts people and individuals put into keeping their identities and private information safe, there will always be people who are out to steal these digital assets and even make profit out of the misfortune of others. One of the major advantages of the blockchain technology is that it is immutable; information added cannot be changed no matter what. The blockchain technology can therefore be used to transform the way that online identity management is carried out. It is one of those things that should be looked out for in the future.
- Business and supply chains
The importance of an effective supply chain in business cannot be over-emphasized. The blockchain technology is already in use by industries and businesses for keeping tabs on their supply chains and ensuring their efficiency. What this mean is that in the future, the need for human work (and the inefficiency that humans are associated with) will drastically reduce.
- Smart contracts
Smart contracts are computer programs that can oversee all aspects of agreements, from its facilitation to execution and completion. Powered by the blockchain technology, the use of the smart contract technology is infinite. They are more secure and a much better alternative to traditional contracts. Another thing, smart contracts are also cheaper than traditional ones. You think about the future with this technology, isn’t it limitless?
- Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
The robotics industry along with Artificial Intelligence has been changing the world in its own little way. When decentralized, they have the potential to take many of its uses such as assisted living, disaster relief, targeted material delivery, etc., to the next level. With the blockchain technology, AI and Robotics, when integrated with the blockchain technology can change a lot of things. The functions of AI and robots can go on without any central authority. Blockchain could improve the operations of the AI and Robotics Industry, make them more secure, autonomous, flexible, and even profitable. Blockchain could therefore create a link between scientific domains based solely on science and real-world applications.