As we continue to see and benefit from the increasing emergence and application of blockchain technology it is clear that this will have a far greater impact on many of us than we realise at first glance.
The potential goes far beyond simply creating a cryptocurrency as was the initial purpose when the concept of Bitcoin was realised and we are still learning just how broad the application for blockchain can become.
Insights from emergent technology thought leader and Team Blockchain board member Sally Eaves also give us a further understanding of key areas that are developing in this respect.
The real power of blockchain lies in the universality of its application – this is a technology that we can layer into many existing industries and solutions to offer new levels of security, transparency and accessibility to all parties involved.
This is a technology that is not necessarily creating new realities or radically altering the solutions we already use, however it does have a massive potential to streamline, simplify and optimise a vast majority of these solutions and adding new security at the same time.
This is where many people simply cut and run – “it’s too complex”, “I don’t understand blockchain” – are common excuses to ignore what is happening and divert interest and focus elsewhere.
When we understand the purpose and intent behind blockchain, it becomes easier to place the application and start to understand what this really means for our existing industries.
Security and Transparency
One of the strongest selling points of blockchain lies in the security and transparency offered by the distributed ledger framework.
Every time a transaction occurs, that transaction is validated across the entire network and captured on record for all to see and agree on, over and over and over – this has a phenomenal value when we take into account just how often we accept loss from common error, reporting inaccuracies and general fraud in most industries today.
Any process that is heavy on information or data transfer and creates large volumes of transactional data stands to gain massive optimisation benefits from the application of blockchain technology. This is already being displayed in the efforts of organisations such as Everledger (insurance & asset management) and the Maersk & IBM partnership to optimise data digitalisation in the shipping industry which is estimated to save the global industry billions of US$ annually.
Behaviours and The Cloud
So what does all this mean for the cloud and our behaviours?
Sally Eaves believes we have already come a long way, but the true potential is just beginning:
“The original principles and early applications of blockchain are now being rapidly engineered and expanded for the cross-sector benefit.
Given my research into the tech-human relationship, I am particularly interested in the application of blockchain in identity management – helping individuals to gain better transparency, protection and control of how their personal digital assets are utilised.
Finally, aligning with my work in social innovation, I am excited by the capacity for blockchain and linked technologies to make a difference beyond the areas typically spoken about.”
The cloud stands to benefit in many ways as we start to utilise this technology to increase the security and accountability that is perceived around technology solutions.Blockchain will enable a new paradigm of engagement with tech solutionsClick To Tweet
One of the leading concerns with cloud technology and computing has always been focused on security. As blockchain technology becomes increasingly applicable and ‘consumer friendly’ we are seeing its application in many instances, but the core is always coming back to the immutable nature of the data and the security and transparency this offers.
From a long-term perspective, there is no doubt that blockchain will not only influence our behaviours but enable a new paradigm of engagement with tech solutions that we are becoming increasingly familiar with.
As smart contracts are starting to be both recognised and applied in established markets and regions (the State of Arizona in The U.S. is among the growing number of American states that now recognises smart contracts and blockchain technology as a part of recognised legal commerce) we are opening up new opportunities where services and solutions will not simply be accessed and opted into, but in many cases they will act and apply themselves according to the criteria we have agreed to.
Smart contracts allow us to take many cases that are manual and lengthy today and migrate them to an automated and secure state tomorrow – all supported by the underlying blockchain infrastructure to give us the transparency and security we desire to ensure that we are willing to engage with and trust a solution.
Banking and finance applications will see major benefits, as will we as individuals as we are able to remove many of our traditional manual processes in these sectors in favour of more secure and transparent blockchain supported processes that can interact with smart contracts to ensure we are all benefitting from the innovations that emerge.
This is where our behaviours will start to feel the impact of blockchain too – as we come to accept and expect the visibility and immediacy that these solutions offer when supported by blockchain infrastructure, so too will our decision become affected by the availability of this information to us as consumers.
International banking, asset transfers, reference checking – these processes are traditionally costly services that we as individuals have to pay for, in a blockchain supported world all this information is immediately and immutably available, always – these costs will start to disappear and we will come to expect this availability in all we do.
These are just some of the areas that we can already see the effects and impacts of blockchain as we start to redefine the boundaries of our expectations – this space becomes increasingly interesting as our behaviours align with the capabilities and we continue to improve on the solutions that we are all able to engage with on a day to day basis.
We have an opportunity to advance from a society based on trust to one based on truth.