Blockchain has been "promoted" as a technology that can help in multiple areas. Still, mainly, people are talking about Blockchain when they talk about cryptocurrencies, prices of BTC/ETH, and new altcoins that want to change the world 🙄. There is so much more to the Blockchain than just that.
I will show you the areas in different industries that Blockchain can be a benefit to them.
Yes, I'm starting from the obvious just because it's the most popular one and where a lot of innovation is happening.
In the traditional finance world, money flow and the amount of money are controlled by various central banks 🏦. This system has worked for centuries, and all of the modern world is still reliant on it, but it's not without flaws. One of them is the lack of access to the system by many people. 1.7 billion people all over the world are not a part of a bank. Without a permanent residency or good credit history, many banks won't let you use their services. Even using a small, local bank can be risky as it can not have a stable infrastructure to operate globally.
Decentralized Finance, or DeFi for short, is a new movement that wants to make a new financial system that is open to everyone and doesn't require trusting the intermediaries like banks. To achieve that, DeFi relies heavily on cryptography, blockchain technology, and smart contracts.
What DeFi does that traditional financial institution doesn't is democratizing the access to financial instruments for everybody with internet connection and become community-owned. Currently, most prominent DeFi products are being built on Ethereum. They are utilizing its robust smart contracts system or, in other words, scripts (tiny programs) that are being executed on a blockchain network.
DeFi, same as Ceci (Centralized Finance), offers a range of different financial products, but without the need for a third party like banks or brokers.
Digital Identity, Public Administration and Healthcare.
In the current age of social media, advertising campaigns targeted at us and being tracked all the time online, we lost a sense of what it means to own our identity. What if you could "bring" your identity with you online and decide who has access to which parts? You don't want Facebook knowing your home address? Done. You want your healthcare provider to know all of your medical history? Done.
There are already products being developed to allow this, and want to bring democratization of your data back into your hands. It's still a long way ahead of us in this department, but blockchain solutions could help with this. One of the main reasons is the decentralization of the Blockchain itself, where there isn't a single entity controlling the network.
Thanks to Blockchain, Estonia has introduced a way to store their citizen's data on such a system. They don't keep actual data but only hashes of those data. Blockchain allows having the integrity of data across different digital systems for their citizens. So when people are trying to fill their taxes or change banks, all public administration has access to up-to-date information about a citizen. There's no need to fill the same papers everywhere whenever you change your living place or change your phone number. You only need to do it once.
For more data on how Estonia has managed to become a digital country, Pwc has created a great report that goes into these details. The report can be found here.
As mentioned above, if you would like to share all of your medical history with the doctor but you're at a different hospital or different than a usual healthcare provider, you could easily share such data with them. You won't need to download all of the past few years' results every time you're not happy with the current provider or insurance company.
Imagine going to a doctor and not worrying about bringing the latest blood test results with you as they would have access to it without you even thinking about it? All your medical data could be brought alongside you, same as your other personal data described above.
That would not be the only usage of Blockchain in Healthcare. Another one would be medicine production and tracking. Having a system where Pharma companies could track if their drugs are going where they should, i.e., trusted pharmacies and verify yourself if drugs your purchasing is legal, would help fight with fake medicines that are sometimes flooded onto the market.
Another potential use case would be ransomware protection for medical data of hospital patients. If a similar system to the one that Estonia has introduced were used for medical data, hospitals wouldn't have suffered that much during another WannaCry type of attack. All of the medical data on hospital serves were encrypted.
Such a solution would be a complex one and would be well thought out before deploying it into production but in my opinion worth looking into it. I'm not sure if such systems are currently in the works or not. I'm just speculating on distinct possibilities.
If DeFi is the mother of great examples where Blockchain will help, the supply chain is the father of such examples.
In most great production releases of the blockchain system, they have one thing in common. They solve supply chain problems one way or another. I won't go much into details about examples in this space as I already wrote an article.
In summary, verifying and tracking products, resources, and materials in Supply Chain will improve and speed up many industries.
All of the above examples are just a drop in the oceans of ideas on how and where Blockchain can help. I haven't touched base on Energy sharing, IoT, gaming industry or Art with NFT (I will create a separate article about that).
Blockchain is much more than cryptocurrencies and DeFi. Some communities are very vocal (look at the crypto Twitter), but to see other exciting ideas on how Blockchain can help, we need to look past that.
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