Blockchain is a digital, decentralized ledger that maintains a record of all transactions that take place across a peer-to-peer network. While it is often linked to bitcoin and banking, blockchain applications can be used for a wide range of transactions across multiple industries.
Blockchain-focused financial services startups raised nearly $250 million in venture funding during the first half of 2017. However, it has applications in several other areas besides the financial sector. In 2018 and beyond, blockchain technology is expected to emerge as a game-changer for several industries due to its ability to provide secure, transparent, middlemen-free, and cost-efficient exchanges. Here’s a look at some blockchain applications in sectors other than banking.
Human Resources: Within recruitment and human resource departments, blockchain-based CVs will help streamline the selection process by verifying the candidates’ qualifications and relevant experience. For instance, recruitment platforms such as LinkedIn can leverage blockchain technology to corroborate employment records.
Legal: Distributed ledgers could facilitate faster legal processes, such as tracking the transfer of ownership (for example, intellectual property). Blockchain technology can facilitate the legal agreement process to operate at a fully-automated level without the need for human intervention.
Manufacturing/ Supply Chain: Blockchain technology can help prevent leaks in the distribution chain, ensure ethical sourcing and reduce counterfeiting and child labor. Foxconn, known for manufacturing the Apple iPhone, is planning to use blockchain technology to track transactions in its supply chain.
Shipping and Logistics: Blockchain can be used in various applications in shipping, such as making trade processes completely paperless and exchange payments securely. ShipChain, a blockchain-based platform, optimizes the freight and logistics using Ethereum smart contracts. Smart contracts are essentially software programs that translate real-world agreements into code. It can track and verify each stage of the complex shipping and logistics process. Earlier in 2017, IBM and Maersk launched a blockchain platform to track shipping documents.
Apart from these industries, blockchain applications can transform major sectors like the government, healthcare, energy management and charitable causes, to name a few. The list can be exhaustive as it offers a secure, transparent, hacker-free, auditable, and outage-resistant solution for exchanges. Globally, the disruption caused by blockchain will be similar to that level of impact the internet had decades ago.
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