Blockchain is a technology that keeps records of transactions. The records, called blocks, are linked together in a chain. Once a record is created, it can’t be tampered with, so users can trust the data is accurate. This technology is very exciting for the banking industry.
With this technology, banks can speed up their back-office functions and reduce their costs. Startups in the financial services industry can also use the technology, which means the industry could potentially be disrupted.
If you don’t work in banking, you may think this technology is irrelevant to you. Not so fast. This technology has wide-ranging applications and could affect many industries. CIOs in many sectors need to be aware of how this technology could affect their companies. By hiring top IT professionals, they can take advantage of this new technology.
Here are some other major industries that could be affected by blockchain technology.
Streaming music is popular with consumers, but it’s hard for artists to make money this way. They make less money from streaming services than they do from selling CDs or other physical music formats.
Blockchain initiatives could help artists make more money, while letting consumers keep streaming music. Artists could bypass streaming companies and use blockchain to send music to their fans. Smart contracts could also be created. These contracts would pay money to artists every time their songs are streamed or downloaded.
Doctors and hospitals use electronic health records to track patient data but often can’t share the records with each other. When patients go to new doctors or clinics, their records don’t follow them. This could lead to patients not getting the right care.
In the future, blockchain technology could solve this problem. Doctors and hospitals could add patients’ records to one shared ledger, and those records would be viewable to other medical professionals.
This could provide secure access to patients’ entire healthcare records. Researchers at MIT are testing a pilot, called MedRec, that could be widely deployed in the future.
Supply Chain Management
Between manufacture and sale, products change hands many times. The average international shipment is estimated to change hands 25 or more times. Keeping track of the transfers can be challenging, especially since various carriers don’t always have access to the same technology. Products can get lost or delayed, which drives up costs.
Blockchain technology may be able to solve these problems. That’s because this technology provides a permanent, decentralized record of transactions. Shipments can be securely tracked with technology, and suppliers throughout the supply chain will be able to track products.
Cloud storage companies store customers’ data on centralized servers. While these companies take precautions to protect customers’ data, the data could be at risk since it’s all in one place.
If hackers are interested in the data, they know where to target.
Since blockchain is decentralized, it could provide an answer to this security problem. Customers’ data could be stored in a secure, decentralized manner. Decentralized storage could also be less expensive for users—great news for CIOs on a budget—since expensive data centres don’t need to be maintained. Companies like Resilio, Tresorit, and Storj offer peer-to-peer cloud storage platforms.
Traditionally, people who wanted to sell products online needed to go through a middleman. Popular sites like eBay and Amazon connect sellers with buyers, but they also take a cut of the fees.
In the future, buyers and sellers may be able to bypass these traditional online marketplaces. They may be able to use decentralized networks to trade with each other directly, and they won’t need to pay mandatory fees. OpenBazaar is an example of a startup providing peer-to-peer trading services online.
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