Blockchain has been dubbed ‘the new internet’ by those who believe that Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) could be revolutionary. In January, The Guardian labelled it ‘’this year’s buzzword’’ and the Financial Times has referred to the ‘’blockchain hype’’. Blockchain, the technology behind the much-publicised cryptocurrency bitcoin, was developed under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto. The identity of the creator(s) has never been unveiled, and the mystery surrounding it is an undeniably intriguing twist.
But, can the technology satisfy the anticipation, or is it just a fad?
One of the most discussed uses of Blockchain is its implementation in the finance industry. Blockchain is being used already by a number of financial services companies. Santander is using the technology for international payment transfers and in May, HSBC completed the world’s first trade finance transaction using Blockchain. In March, Bank of England announced that it was testing DLT for its new payment system. Though Blockchain use is in its infancy, there is an encouraging level of engagement by banking giants.
It’s not only banking that is incorporating the technology. The medical industry is adapting to incorporate Blockchain into its storage of medical data. Medicalchain is using Blockchain to store health records and allows patients access to their own data. The platform allows for greater flexibility for patients and staff, who can have secure online consultations with their doctor.
The music industry is also seeing change through the technology. Music streaming app Musicoin offers free music for listeners and uses its own cryptocurrency. By using ‘smart contracts’, the artists can define their expected revenue and receive payment using the cryptocurrency on a per-play basis.
Blockchain technology offers a degree of transparency to customers that hasn’t previously been possible. Bext360, a traceability platform, tracks goods throughout the supply chain. This allows customers to see how their goods are collected and transported. Buyers benefit from an increased assurance that the products they buy are ethically sourced, and the company proves its commitment to maintaining social responsibility.
It may be early days in the implementation of Blockchain, but already businesses in various industries are proving its use. The success of companies already using the technology is likely to prompt others to follow suit. For businesses who want to offer increased transparency and engage in more efficient data management, Blockchain presents a significant opportunity.
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