Last year, Bitcoin took the world by storm.
It’s value has since skyrocketed: over $4.9 billion worth of bitcoin was transacted just this past week. So how did Bitcoin—a mere digital currency—achieve such rampant success? Because of the technology behind it: blockchain. Company trends are increasingly revealing that blockchain will be one of the most important technologies of the future. “There is no end to the list of applications blockchain can be used for. Blockchain is going to change everything we know over the next five to 10 years,” Mike Almeida, president of Empire ATM Group, said in an interview with Business News Daily. Let’s see what makes blockchain technology so attractive to businesses and how blockchain is changing the game in industries across the world.
The buzz behind blockchain
Blockchain is attractive to companies because it can serve as trusted ledger for any kind of transaction. It is therefore optimal for applications in numerous industries, ranging from supply chain documentation to smart contracts. Here are the features that make blockchain technology ideal for businesses:
- Transparent: All transaction details are documented and public. Thus, an electronic record of all transactions is automatically logged. Companies can choose, however, to restrict transaction visibility to designated parties if they want to maintain proprietary or competitive data.
- Safe and Secure: All data is encrypted. Therefore, transaction information is permanent and almost impossible to tamper with.
- Decentralized: There is no need to rely on third parties like banks or Paypal.
- Lower cost and higher efficiency: Companies save time and money that would have been spent on third parties, therefore minimizing cost and maximizing efficiency.
"The blockchain is the financial challenge of our time. It is going to change the way that our financial world operates."
Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings
How companies are using blockchain technology today
Major companies are already seeing the value in blockchain. Data storage and protection is one application that is being increasingly utilized. For example, KODAK is leveraging blockchain technology to store data on intellectual property rights for photographs. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) also announced that it would be using blockchain technology to record shareholdings and manage transactions.
Supply management is another huge opportunity for blockchain implementation. Giants like Walmart, Nestle, and Dole are working with IBM to improve the traceability of their goods and maintain more secure digital records. Companies usually only know where an item starts and where it is finally shipped to. However, with a blockchain system, organizations have data on every step of the supply chain—from who received the shipment to the cost of the shipment—thus allowing companies to track problems in supply management within seconds.
And it doesn’t end there. Insurance and rental cost-based companies are using blockchain to create smart contracts—self-verifying and self-executing contracts that remove the need for a third party. Even the United Nations is using blockchain to provide aid to Syrian refugees.
Companies constantly need to adapt to remain leaders in their industry. With this in mind, the application of blockchain technology in any industry is certainly worth considering.