If you’ve been into things like tracking the Bitcoin price or NFTs, you are probably familiar with blockchain technology. However, the technology goes far beyond these two popular uses. Today, it is being applied in various sectors, providing lots of advantages thanks to its decentralized, transparent, and secure nature.
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What is Blockchain?
If you are not familiar with blockchain, it is basically a digital ledger that keeps track of transactions. However, unlike traditional systems, there’s no central authority. All transactions that happen are recorded on blocks supported by a network of computers. These blocks are then connected together, creating “a chain of blocks.”
As blockchain is decentralized, no single person has complete control over it. And since all transactions are encrypted and verified, it’s really hard for anyone to manipulate the system.
Top Blockchain Applications Today
Of course, the most widespread use of blockchain is in finance. All cryptocurrencies in use are based on blockchain technology, and it was actually created to act as the basis for Bitcoin, the pioneer cryptocurrency. Thanks to blockchain, intermediaries such as banks are no longer necessary in payments. Blockchain allows peer-to-peer transactions, which in turn leads to faster transactions and cost reductions, and enables cross-border payments. Other applications in finance are smart contracts, trading, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), auditing and accounting, asset tokenization, and fraud prevention.
Real Estate has greatly benefited from blockchain. The technology has been applied to offer efficiency, transparency, and security. Since blockchain transactions are tamper-proof, real estate transactions no longer need intermediaries, and the risk of fraud is highly minimized. Assets can also be digitized and tokenized, allowing small investors to have fractional shares. Blockchain also enhances transparency and record-keeping of data such as ownership history, inspection records, and legal documents.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Security has been the biggest pain point in IoT for a long time, as the limited resources available on these devices limit the security measures that can be used. Blockchain is being used by companies like IOTA and Helium to solve user and device authentication issues as it operates using Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS). As it is a consensus mechanism, it eliminates the single point of failure in IoT.
Art and Collectibles
Blockchain offers the art and collectibles market a tamper-proof way to store information about the original artwork, as well as its ownership history and provenance. Thanks to this transparency and authenticity, counterfeiting is dealt with. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have gained the most popularity in this section.
Logistics and Supply Chain
Blockchain is being used by companies such as Walmart, Maersk, and UPS as it makes it easy to see all actions and track goods across the usually complex networks of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Since transactions can’t be edited, all goods can be accounted for, and the history traced. This helps improve efficiency, transparency, and trust.
Lots of media companies have already started using blockchain to eliminate fraud, reduce costs, and protect their copyrights. Others, like music streaming service, Audius, are utilizing the technology to allow users to vote on new music. YellowHeart is using blockchain to sell tickets for live events, and Ubisoft is using it to create a new way for fans to engage with their favorite games.
So What Does the Future Look Like?
Blockchain technology is still growing, and it will be utilized in even more industries in the near future. The technology is set to be used things like compliance/regulatory oversight, healthcare, energy, notary services, and even in government services such as voting.