With the debut of Bitcoin in 2009, blockchain went from theory to practice, proving that this digital distributed ledger technology works. Since then, businesses have been experimenting with how they may use blockchain to their advantage.
Blockchain is being used by big-name enterprises, government agencies, and nonprofit organisations to streamline old procedures and enable new business models. Apart from bitcoin, blockchain has a wide range of uses in financial services, supply networks, and government since it enables increased security, transparency, and fast traceability. Governments are enacting new legislation to encourage the adoption of blockchain technology in order to enable its applications.
The usefulness of blockchain originates from its capacity to transfer data between entities in a quick and secure manner, without requiring anyone institution to bear responsibility for data security or transaction facilitation.
Benefits of Blockchain That Makes It So Useful
When there is no central player to facilitate trust, blockchain displays its worth. So, in addition to facilitating confidence when players are unfamiliar with one another, blockchain facilitates data exchange inside a corporate ecosystem where no single entity is solely responsible. A good example is supply chain management: Multiple organisations — from suppliers and transportation companies to producers, distributors, and retailers — want or require information from others in the chain, but no one is in charge of making it happen. The decentralised structure of blockchain overcomes this problem.
Blockchain can handle transactions substantially faster than traditional techniques since it eliminates intermediaries and replaces remaining human processes in transactions. In some situations, a transaction on the blockchain can be completed in seconds or less. However, the speed with which a blockchain-based system can process transactions is dependent on a number of factors, including the size of each block of data and network traffic. Nonetheless, experts have decided that in terms of speed, blockchain often outperforms traditional processes and technology. Walmart used it to trace the origins of sliced mangoes in seconds, a procedure that had previously taken seven days.
Where trust is either non-existent or unproven, blockchain generates trust amongst multiple entities. As a result, these businesses are willing to engage in transactions or data sharing that they might not have done otherwise or that would have required the use of an intermediary. One of the most frequently mentioned advantages of blockchain is the ability to enable trust. Its early use cases demonstrated its worth by facilitating transactions between entities that did not have direct contacts but needed to share data or make payments. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general are classic examples of how blockchain allows individuals who don’t know one other to trust one another.
Immutability basically means that transactions can’t be modified or deleted after they’ve been recorded on the blockchain. All transactions on the blockchain are timestamped and datestamped, resulting in a permanent record. As a result, it may be used to track data across time, allowing for a safe and reliable audit of data. (This is in contrast to paper-based filing, which is prone to errors, and legacy computer systems, which can be corrupted or decommissioned.) As an example of the benefit’s potential, Omar cited Sweden’s use of blockchain to digitise real estate transactions in order to maintain track of property titles as they change hands.
The nature of blockchain can also help businesses save money. It improves transaction processing efficiency. It also simplifies reporting and auditing operations by reducing manual duties such as data aggregation and amendment. Financial institutions save money when they use blockchain, according to experts, since its capacity to speed clearing and settlement translates directly into process cost savings. In general, blockchain helps organisations save money by removing the middlemen — vendors and third-party providers — who have traditionally handled the work that blockchain can do.
Visibility and traceability
Walmart’s usage of blockchain isn’t only about speed; it’s also about being able to track the food items and other products back to their source. This enables businesses such as Walmart to better manage inventories, respond to issues or concerns, and validate the histories of their products. If a farm has to recall its product due to contamination, a retailer can use blockchain to identify and remove the produce from that farm while leaving the rest of the farm’s produce for sale. Experts say blockchain can assist track the origins of a number of commodities, including pharmaceuticals to ensure they’re genuine rather than counterfeit and organic products to ensure they’re truly organic.
Its Real World Use Cases (other than cryptocurrency)
To verify financial information and ownership, as well as transfer deeds and titles to new owners, real estate transactions necessitate a large amount of paperwork. Using blockchain technology to record real estate transactions can make ownership verification and transfer more safe and accessible. This can help you save time and money by speeding up transactions and reducing paperwork.
If personal identifying data is stored on a blockchain, we are only a step away from being able to vote using blockchain technology. Nobody can vote twice, only eligible voters can vote, and votes cannot be tampered with if blockchain technology is used. Furthermore, it has the potential to broaden voter participation by making it as simple as pushing a few buttons on a smartphone. Simultaneously, the cost of holding an election would be significantly reduced.
Securely share medical information
Doctors and medical workers can receive reliable and up-to-date information about their patients by storing medical records on a blockchain. This can help to guarantee that patients who see many providers receive the best possible care. It can also speed up the retrieval of medical documents, allowing for faster treatment in some circumstances. Doctors may simply verify whether a patient is insured and whether their therapy is reimbursed if insurance information is stored in the database.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are widely conceived of as a mechanism to own digital art rights. Because the blockchain prevents data from being duplicated, placing an NFT on it ensures that only one copy of a work of digital art exists. This might make you feel like you’re buying tangible art, but without the hassles of storage and upkeep.
NFTs can be used for a variety of things, but at their core, they’re a mechanism to transfer ownership of anything that can be represented by data. It could be a house deed, broadcast rights to a video, or a ticket to an event. An NFT could be anything that is a little out of the ordinary.
The gambling industry may use blockchain to help players in a variety of ways. The transparency that operating a casino on the blockchain delivers to potential gamblers is one of the main advantages. Bettors can see that the games are fair and that the casino pays out because every transaction is logged on the blockchain. Furthermore, no personal information, like as a bank account, is required, which may be a barrier for some would-be gamblers. Because users can wager anonymously and the decentralised network is not susceptible to government shutdown, it provides a workaround for regulatory constraints.
Logistics and supply chain tracking
There are various advantages to using blockchain technology to track products as they transit through a logistics or supply chain network. First and foremost, because data is stored on a secure public ledger, it facilitates communication between partners. Second, because the data on the blockchain cannot be changed, it provides higher security and data integrity. As a result, logistics and supply chain partners may collaborate more freely, knowing that the data they’re given is reliable and current.
Blockchain has proven to be very useful when applied innovatively across several fields. As the technology is still relatively new with more applications rolling out every time, its future looks pretty bright. The applications of blockchain are expected to rise as time goes on and with the introduction of Web 3.0, NFTs and the metaverse.
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