It feels like just yesterday when Bitcoin was launched and became a worldwide hit after making a few people millionaires in what seemed like overnight. In the meantime, various IT gurus around the world have been working round the clock to find additional applications for blockchain.
Now everybody (at least those who like to stay updated) is talking about blockchain technology. Some express strong convictions that the tech is going to revolutionize the world, making it seem almost like a religion.
However, there are also experts who believe that blockchain is overrated because the things it is said to do could be achieved through traditional IT systems.
So, who’s right? Could the tech really transform businesses?
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology offers distributed, immutable, and auditable record-keeping on a ledger that can be public or private. These attributes put the tech in a unique position to solve some of the major problems that we have been battling across multiple industries for the last couple of decades – security, privacy, trust, transaction costs, and efficiency.
Thanks to the distributed ledger, blockchain cuts off the middlemen such as banks, credit card companies, brokers, and so on. This leads to reduced costs, time-efficiency, and increased security because there is no single point of attack in the system. Add that to the state-of-the-art cryptography employed by the tech, and we have a network that is next to impossible to hack.
Another unique innovation of distributed ledger technology is smart contracts, which are self-executing programs designed to perform a task when specific conditions are met. Smart contracts further cement trust and transparency in the system while cutting off the middleman.
The data is stored in chronological order and is immutable, as well as auditable. This means that any business requiring data provenance can leverage blockchain technology.
So, to answer the question, blockchain has some interesting, unique qualities to offer that could transform many businesses. The infographic below covers multiple industries that are already leveraging this technology, the unique benefits in each sector, and specific businesses/startups in each space.