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The New Frontier: Blockchain and Its Uses in Business

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Blockchain may revolutionize the way we do business nearly as much as the internet did. Here are seven benefits it can have for businesses.

While cryptocurrency as a speculative trade – and, to a lesser extent, an everyday payment system – is creating much hype, blockchain technology is where the raw potential lies.

For the most part, the undercurrent technology is lying low, taking a backseat as developers and industry leaders come to grips with what can be done with it. But being in the background is in no way an indication of its importance.

In fact, many are likening the advance of blockchain technology to the dawn of the internet, predicting significant economic and societal change. This is due to the fact that, as a decentralized network, it stores identical blocks of information across all computer nodes in the network that owns a copy of the blockchain code.

The network as a whole jointly manages the database of information it contains.The significance? It cannot be controlled by a single entity, the information it contains cannot be corrupted, and the flow of information is completely open and transparent.

Benefits of employing blockchain technology in your business

While there is much still to be discovered about blockchain, and particular applications will be industry-dependent, there are some overall benefits.

What is important to keep in mind is that you don’t need more than just a general understanding of the backbone of the technology to consider its deployment. The personal computer first came on the market in the late 1970s, yet most people still don’t have an extensive understanding of how it works. However, blockchain developers are in high demand, indicating that, cost-wise, there is still quite a substantial barrier to entry this early in the game.

Here are some potential uses of blockchain technology.

1. Smart contracts

If your business operations support an if-then agreement, smart contracts could be programmed to support execution and deliverables.

2. Cutting out the middleman

The sharing economy has been one of the most important business model innovations in recent years. Blockchain technology can effectively cut out the middleman, enabling peer-to-peer transactions without the fees attributed to the central organizing party.

3. Identity management

Ecommerce will be easier, thanks to more streamlined personal identification systems. An individual’s sensitive information that is available online owing to online transactions can be managed more securely.

4. Supply chain auditing

With blockchain, a product’s claims can be verified every step of the way, from inception to market, thanks to timestamped dates and locations. This will form an important part of ethical business practices in future.

5. Intellectual copyright protection

Thanks to the transparent, open-access nature of blockchain, the expensive, lengthy process of copyrighting intellectual property will give way to a much more affordable, irrefutable process. It will also transform owned electronic media, eliminating the exorbitant dues currently lost because of illegal file sharing and redistribution.

6. Data management

Everything free online comes at a cost to your personal data, which is shared with the company in question. Blockchain technology will empower users to choose to sell this information to interested parties and manage what activity-generated data is available online.

7. Transparent governance

Voting systems, for anything from unilateral internal decision-making to international politics, can run on blockchain in a process that is fair, universally trackable and completely transparent.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Nor are they pipe dreams. For each of these use cases, there is at least one startup operating in the space.

Society has moved into the information age, and with the invention of blockchain technology, we will enter an unprecedented era of trustless business operations that will, as far as we can tell, be technologically immune to human corruption.

Blockchain technology will also continue to make doing business smoother and more intuitive, automating many tasks and eliminating many unnecessary costs.

 

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