The word “Bitcoin“ has been made famous by the media. Through the bull-run of its speculative market of countless digital assets or so-called crypto currencies, Bitcoin has received a lot of attention as an investment opportunity. Not surprising as its market value surged from a $120 billion market in 2020 to a $1.2 trillion market over the course of 2021.
What is less known and often widely misunderstood is its underlying technology: the blockchain, a decentralized immutable network of values and data, which is bringing a massive revolution across all industries.
What is blockchain technology?
A blockchain is a decentralized, peer-to-peer network, where value and data can be transferred without a trusted third party as an intermediary. Transaction processors are verifying transactions and data is being timestamped and made immutable and stored on the blockchain. States of data can be traced back in time like a stream of events through the chained blocks of data.
Blockchain is not equal to every blockchain. There are thousands of different blockchain technologies with very different metrics, which can have significant implications on the actual usability of the technology in real life use cases.
Just to mention a few key metrics:
- Scalability – How many transactions can a network process every second? • Transaction fees – How much does a transaction cost?
- What consensus algorithm is being used?
- Smart Contract capabilities
- Data capacity
Regardless of the sector: Blockchain technology should make processes in industries and governments much more effective, efficient and secure.
Where can we apply blockchain technology?
The blockchain technology can basically be applied in all sectors, where data and values are involved. Data can now be monetized in a micro-payment stream from person to person, from user to a creator, from a non-custodial wallet to another one. Besides the monetization of the data, there are fields where it is especially important to make sure that data wasn’t manipulated or it is important to be able to trace back the event stream of data.
Looking at the field of logistics – supply chain management – which can be found almost everywhere, the traceability and immutability of data is very important. Different stakeholders need or want to have access to the data. This data should not be siloed and it is important to increase the accountability among the stakeholders in the supply chain.
When going shopping: How can we be sure that the provenances on the packages are truthful? How can we be sure that the Nike shoes that we bought online are the originals?
Currently we are buying on the basis of trust and that a third party or authority made sure that the claims are correct. Don’t trust – verify! With the blockchain, the trust is being provided by the technology. And with the blockchain we have this universal source of truth.
Also thinking about the supply chain of medicine. Studies say that around 43 % of the medicine that arrives in Africa is not properly working due to the incorrect transportation or the drug mafia exchanged the real medicine for placebos. It’s practically a Russian roulette and numerous people are dying every year as a consequence. The blockchain in combination with different IoT sensors can give clarity over the transport or if anything was tampered on the journey. Was the temperature held correctly for medicine during the whole journey? The different stakeholders can now immediately check the updated ledger in real-time to prove all sorts of data.
Another field also touches our daily lives, where we can see that blockchain will be a game changer for everyone around the world: The internet. Since 1990 we’ve passed the evolution of Web1.0 to Web2.0. Very simple static websites with hyperlinks like Wikipedia to more dynamic websites where social interaction is possible. But today’s internet seems to be “broken”. Big centralized players like Google and Meta are using, storing and monetizing the data of billions of people without them potentially knowing what kind of data this is and the “data creators” are mostly not profiting from their data. Blockchain in combination with Smart Contracts and further technologies will change this and will bring the Web3.0 evolution. Blockchain will bring back the power over the data to the actual creators of the data and through the technology we will be able to monetize the data that we created. If anyone wants to consume or use our data, then we can give access to our data and we can get paid instantly.
Imagine a social media platform like Meta, but on the blockchain. A user needs to pay a few cents to create a post. But if anyone Likes, Comments or Shares my post – immediately I will receive cents as payments in my non-custodial wallet. The Meta-like platform would receive a fraction of each transaction that is happening on the platform and that’s basically how the platform makes business. The platform is not interested in (mis-)using the user’s data, as no advertisement is needed for their business to work. Users still have the option to consume ads, but now the consumer is getting paid to spend their time to watch a commercial. New self-serving ecosystems for everyone around the world will be created through this “Internet of Value”. For many people in the world it would make a huge difference receiving 50 pennies or a few dollars on a daily basis, just through being on the internet and creating data or consuming certain data.
Every sector offers numerous opportunities to create more effective, secure and efficient processes with blockchain technology. It seems that every industry provides an own universe of opportunities. E-Commerce, Global Settlements, Contract Management, Healthcare, Cybersecurity, ESG and many more fields weren’t discussed in this article, but are there to be discovered!
If you like to dive into the opportunities of blockchain and discover how this innovative technology can overcome current challenges in your enterprise and government, feel free to connect with Meike Krautscheid on LinkedIn. Meike Krautscheid is the CEO of blockXspace and one of the leading and inspiring people in the space. With her blockXspace team she is providing agnostic expertise, consultancy, development and implementation of blockchain-based applications and services. It’s now the best time to discover what the blockchain potentially holds for your future.