Understanding Crypto - Blockchain Uses
Where can blockchains be used?
Right now you probably already know that a decentralized blockchain is like a database with two main characteristics:
• It is shared and can be accessed by many people.
• No one can change the information that has already been entered.
It did not take too long for countless people to realize that the possibilities are limitless. It is not only useful for a small group of technically advanced people. It turns out that it is the best way to store anything that is worth writing down. But, instead of just saying that, we decided to present some examples where blockchains have already been implemented and are improving the world as we know it.
Do you know where all of your healthcare information is right now? Your childhood records are with the hometown doctor you have not seen for 10 years, your latest test results are in random laboratories across the country and nobody remembers the name of the pills you had to take 3 years ago. All the information is scattered between many doctors. And who else might be reading about your medical issues? An intern in a faraway country or hackers who managed to get in your hospital’s 30 year old security system? The facts are simple - you don’t even own the most basic information about yourself.
Blockchains solve this all by unifying data all in one place and giving you the control to set permissions for others. All your data is stored anonymously in the blockchain and you can give access to anyone you want. Changed doctors? Just give him access and he will know all your medical history. Getting tests done? Give them access and they will add the results to your file and your doctor will see them instantly. Insurance company asks you about your health? Just show them all the records. Everything is there, you just decide who sees it.
While the idea of tracking an item from the manufacturer to the customer is not new, it is still a cumbersome process. The tracking chips are expensive in bulk and can easily get damaged. Water has damaged the chip along with the shipped item, but there is no data about any water damage. If the data has been tampered with and deleted, there is no way to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
All of these issues are solved when using a blockchain. No need for delicate tracking chips and all the information is updated automatically. When you see the item in the shop, you can check its address to see where it comes from, how long has it traveled and what happened to it. If a sensor detects temperatures that can damage the product, it writes it in the blockchain and no one can edit this information out. If the data shows that medication or produce has been subjected to temperatures that can spoil them, they get recalled before even getting to the customer. Now we spot the problem of people getting ill, investigate what they have in common, try to track down the shipments and interrogate each actor of the supply chain who is trying their best to escape the blame. All of that is solved in mere seconds when someone just looks at the blockchain data and stops the product before anyone is harmed.
Two people decide to exchange goods for currency. Person A sends the goods, but doesn’t get the currency. Person B claims that he has paid in full. And now no one knows what has actually happened. Did person B not send money and just claim he did with a fraudulent receipt? Did the money get stuck in a bank or any other service involved? Is this a mistake or fraud? Now imagine this happens between two companies, both losing trust in each other, canceling all future projects.
In a blockchain, there is no third party that can make a mistake. There are no bank holidays or trading restrictions. Both sides can meet, draw up a “smart contract” and set the rules. And when both parties fulfill their obligations, the “contract” fulfills itself and sends both parties their new assets. The payment has been recorded and person B can testify: “I sent the finances, this item is mine.” The item itself can come with certificates proving its authenticity and permissions to use it or resell it. The next buyer can see all of that info and can be sure that it is not edited.
And this might be the most important of them all: many government sectors all over the world are either exploring blockchains or have already implemented them. A political party in Denmark held their internal elections on a blockchain, demonstrating how it can be securely used in nationwide elections. Estonia, the world’s leader in blockchain implementation, has moved medical records, court documents and many more sectors to blockchains, thus ensuring the data is transparent, readily available and trustworthy. The state of Georgia launched the first blockchain land registry system, removing any disputes that might arise due to counterfeit documents or corruption.
This technology really is useful in countless fields. Pretty soon you will interact with tens of blockchain solutions daily and not even notice it. While everyone is still looking at the options and possibilities, it is an interesting thing to ask yourself - where would you use such a decentralized ledger?
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