Insights

Blockchain: How your business and society can benefit from a single source of truth

September 14, 2018

Reading time 4 minutes

It’s fair to say that along with AI, AR and VR, Blockchain has become one of the words on everyone's lips in the tech sphere over the last few of years.

Despite this and the mainstream recognition it has received, largely from the Bitcoin rush, there still seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the term and how it might help solve societal and business challenges. It’s safe to say that it’s not going to solve all of the worlds problems, but nor is it merely an overhyped buzzword!

There’s far too much that intrigues us and makes us think to fit into one blog post, so in the coming months we’ll be looking at the potential use cases for blockchain in other sectors such as the food and travel industries.

Blockchain in brief

The blockchain is effectively a shared single source of truth. Imagine a network of computers that all have the same history of transactions. This same historical record is held on every computer and every transaction gets validated by every computer, meaning it’s constantly updating itself. Keeping copies of the same data on hundreds or even thousands of separate machines makes it both more secure and reliable, as even if 50% of the computers on the network go down, it won’t be affected.

Finance

There’s no question that finance is the sector expected to see the biggest changes from the emergence of Blockchain, with the Bitcoin boom already showing the potential for transformation. Whilst its price has dropped significantly since it peaked at $17,900 (for 1 Bitcoin) in December 2017, the popularity of Bitcoin has displayed its advantages over traditional money and it looks like Cryptocurrencies will only become more commonplace in time.

Away from cryptocurrencies there’s still countless ways Fintech (Financial Technology) can be advanced through blockchain technology, such as digital transactions being improved with Smart Contracts. Their introduction will provide a method of exchanging property, money, or anything else of value without the need for middlemen whilst retaining full transparency for both parties. This opens up a lot of potential use cases, and there’s no reason for them to be purely limited to the financial sector either- there’s limitless potential ways they could be used to improve current systems. The demand for legal contracts can be expected to reduce upon mainstream adoption of smart contracts.

Healthcare

Back in June Mayo Clinic started working with startup Medicalchain, who claim their blockchain platform can securely store health records, describing it as a single source of truth that can easily and securely be accessed, updated and shared. If their claims are true it seems logical to assume all health records will end up being stored in this manner, due to the huge improvements it would offer in security and reliability.

At a time when the NHS is struggling massively, it could be a shrewd move for them to look into how Blockchain could help turn them around, as discussed in this Forbes article.

Counterfeit and contaminated medication has long been an issue in the medical industry supply chain - 62% of medicines bought online turn out to be fake according to the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines. The blockchain can help with this by enabling a way to track medication by linking the physical goods to digital systems.

Decentralised social networks

Having built a social community platform over 2018-19 here at Rokk, decentralised social networks have spiked our interest too. The benefits of which would be no censorship of information, and sites like Steemit, which is currently in Beta, are even trialling ways to generate income for its users, which is sure to attract the attention of a wider audience if well designed and executed. It’s worth mentioning that as with many of these emerging technologies, there are mixed views on whether social networks like this will every take off fully.

Sharing Data

Instead of having to pick between the current crop of Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud, distributed cloud storage would decrease the vulnerability of storing your data with these centralised companies and let you step away from their raising prices.

Proof of Ownership

Intellectual Property

Items that are purchased could be tracked on the blockchain to demonstrate proof of ownership and to prevent the sale of stolen goods which may eventually help to reduce crime.

Going back to the basics, once something is on the blockchain it can’t be altered. This means that unless the owner verifies a change the ownership can’t be moved, making it a great tool for proving the true owner.

Intellectual Property has historically been very hard to track and for the rightful owners to keep control of it, but potential use cases for Blockchain include evidence of creatorship and provenance authentication, as well as registering and clearing IP rights.

Further Reading

We discovered other interesting developments in the world of Blockchain

Stay tuned for a follow up post in December where we’ll be looking at the potential use cases for blockchain in other sectors such as the food and travel industries.