Blockchain is essentially a digital public ledger that securely records and automatically verifies high volume transactions digitally. It allows users to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the help of a third party. At the same time, it has no single point of failure from which records or digital assets can be hacked or corrupted.
Today, around 70-80% of banks are developing their own Blockchain technology. In September 2016, Barclays carried out the world’s first trade transaction using Blockchain. They completed a process, which normally takes seven to ten days, down to less than four hours.
Industry Fact: IBM is working with the government of Dubai to develop smart contracts that can facilitate all trade that passes through its port. This is a significant development, given $344 billion worth of goods passed through the port in 2016. Dubai’s government said it plans to shift all transactions to Blockchain by 2020. (Source: Forbes)
What industries could be disrupted by Blockchain?
Blockchain has the potential to transform banking infrastructure, speed settlements, and streamline stock exchanges while providing much needed transparency.
Banks usually serve as a secure storehouses and transfer hubs for money. Blockchain – as an anonymous, decentralised, digitized, secure, and tamper-proof ledger – can perform the same function.
The following advantages can be realized:
- Secure storage and exchange contract details, financial terms, and coordinated trade logistics and payments on integrated real-time network.
- Diminished cost of money transfer.
- Storage and share identity attributes on Blockchain, enabling enhanced customer due diligence while empowering individuals to maintain control over their own personal and financial information.
- Real-time, secure, scalable, multi-asset clearing and settlement solutions across global currency zones.
Drive simplicity, trust, and efficiency through the establishment of new financial services infrastructure and processes.
- Transform post-trade value chain, where regulator complexity is low and cost savings or incremental revenue is high.
- Provide consistent, accurate view of reference data across multiple contributors and consumers.
- Loan origination and servicing
- Foreign exchange markets
- Derivatives markets
- Record-keeping processes
- Auditing and corporate compliance
- Corporate shareholder voting
- Reducing counterparty risk
- Cross-border payments
A group of companies like, R3 CEV, Thought Machine already developed Blockchain enabled solutions for the financial industry.
Blockchain for health care would need to be public and include technological solutions for three key elements: scalability, access security, and data privacy.
When a health care provider creates a medical record (prescription, lab test, pathology result, MRI) a digital signature would be created to verify authenticity of the document or image. The health data would be encrypted and sent to Data Lake for storage. Each time information is saved to Data Lake, a pointer to the health record is registered in the Blockchain along with the user’s unique identifier. The patient is notified that health data was added to Blockchain. In the same, fashion a patient would be able to add health data with digital signatures and encryption from mobile applications and wearable sensors.
Blockchain technology offers many advantages to medical researchers, health care providers, care givers, and individuals. Creation of a single storage location for all health data, tracking personalized data in real-time, and the security to set data access permissions at a granular level would serve research as well as personalized medicine.
Blockchain-secured health records would make it easier for patients to share data with numerous providers without losing control.
Travel and Hospitality
For travel and hospitality, a shared distributed ledger can improve the settlement process. Blockchain technology supports loyalty points programs that include a more advantageous accounting of liabilities, real-time update, and improved management across franchised operations.
Blockchain technology can fundamentally change how we exchange value and perhaps that’s why this has caught everyone’s fancy. This is still in its nascent stages but definitely a technology that holds vast promise and is something to watch for in the future.