Welcome to the second part of our two-part series relating to the blockchain. The first part looked at the origins of the technology and how it has become important in the financial industry. This part looks at some of the ways the blockchain may prove useful in other industries.
There’s an important thing to remember before we get to the meat of this article. The blockchain may be a digital ledger. But it’s not only capable of storing data related to monetary transactions. In fact, the blockchain can store data related to practical anything that you can digitise.
That leads us to the other potential uses of the technology.
Intellectual property is a major problem in the modern industry. The internet has made it possible for content creators to reach wider audiences than ever before. But it also increases the risk of people copying the content that you create.
This is most obvious in the music industry. Artists digitise their music, which gives others access to it. Somebody could purchase an album and then place it up for free download another service. This is the problem that Napster and similar organisations created in the early 2000s. The artist doesn’t receive payment for these copied downloads, even though they own the rights to the material.
The blockchain could change all of that. Technology is already being developed that would allow content creators to place smart contracts into their content. When they create something, it immediately enters the blockchain. This establishes ownership, while the contract establishes the terms that somebody must follow to access or use the content.
It’s the permanence and transparency of the blockchain that then helps with maintaining media rights. Anybody who accesses the creator’s content essentially creates a transaction. This relates directly back to the creator’s original block. As a result, those accessing the content cannot then go and copy or distribute it without the original creator knowing about it.
The blockchain has the potential to give content creators more control over their creations. Eventually, it may even eliminate the need for third-parties entirely. Trust and security are inherent in the platform, so the creator receives what they are due whenever the content is used.
The Healthcare Sector
Consider the issues that come with changing doctors. Your provider has to transfer your records to the new provider’s systems. This creates a range of problems. The admin work involved in this process means that doctors spend less time with their patients. Moreover, having patient records stored in centralised systems creates a security risk. Hackers can break through a medical facility’s security to access confidential information.
The use of the blockchain eliminates both of these problems. Its decentralised nature means it’s much more secure. This is demonstrated by the fact that the blockchain hasn’t experienced a hacking incident since its inception. Moreover, storing all patient records on the blockchain gives providers instant access when it’s needed. The blockchain could cut out a lot of admin time, which means that medical providers can focus more on their patients.
The Final Word
That’s only a small selection of the industries that blockchain technology will likely influence in the future.
The technology is coming too. In fact, over half of healthcare providers in the United States say they intend to move to blockchain technology by 2020.
Simply put, it’s not just the next big thing in finance. The blockchain may completely change a range of industries.