When we talk about blockchain, we usually refer to the technology in relation to cryptocurrency. After all, blockchain is what enables Bitcoin to work as a digital currency and maintain an ongoing record of all transactions on the network. But beyond its implications in the crypto landscape, blockchain has other uses that can potentially transform a broad range of industries.
In a nutshell, blockchain is a ledger-based technology that documents crypto transactions through a decentralized system. Every transaction using crypto is recorded through a “block” in the blockchain ledger, which is encrypted to ensure the security of transactions and users alike. In recent years, blockchain has been touted as a revolutionary financial technology because of its decentralized framework. Essentially, blockchain gained a reputation for speeding up the payment clearing process and removing the regulatory barriers of traditional financial institutions.
With its unique form of record-keeping and securing data, blockchain has sustained the attention of public and private institutions seeking to improve their everyday processes. In this article, we’ll talk about how these institutions are making the most of blockchain in ways you may not expect.
International Money Transfers
Although most people are already aware of how blockchain simplifies financial transactions, the original purpose of the technology is still worth mentioning in this list. Cross-border transactions, in particular, are made easier by blockchain technology. Traditionally, sending money to someone in another country is a slow and inefficient process. Apart from that, transfer fees can eat up a significant percentage of the amount deposited.
Blockchain’s independence from conventional clearing systems allows customers to send money without racking up these exorbitant fees. On top of that, customers can send and receive money securely through a protected, distributed ledger. So if you have a stock of Monero in your XMR wallet, for example, you can make a transaction using your coins and take advantage of minimal transfer fees, fast processing times, and lower risks of human error and fraud.
However, more countries are now working to establish a regulatory framework for blockchain as the technology continues to gain mainstream popularity. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and cross-border payments via blockchain are still more convenient compared to traditional forms of international transfers.
Medical Records Storage
Aside from financial institutions, healthcare agencies are also looking into the use of blockchain for storing electronic health records (EHRs). Needless to say, keeping confidential patient information in an encrypted system can make record-keeping much more secure for the healthcare sector.
Additionally, having medical records on the blockchain can deliver convenience to patients as well as medical providers and related institutions. For instance, patients who need to see multiple doctors can have their EHRs on file for the doctors’ use. Likewise, having a blockchain-based EHR database streamlines insurance processing and data verification for hospitals, care centers, and insurance agencies.
Government Benefits Issuance
When claiming government benefits, one needs to provide sensitive personal information such as social security numbers, home addresses, and names of dependents. Masterminds of fraud and identity theft can exploit human carelessness and system vulnerabilities to illegally obtain personal data and extort money intended for beneficiaries.
That said, government agencies can maximize the blockchain’s encryption features to dispel hackers and mitigate financial crime. Travel, education, insurance, and other industries that handle transactions and customer information on a daily basis can additionally benefit from the security of blockchain to protect their systems and customers.
Anti-Election Fraud Initiatives
As voting technologies become more sophisticated, so do the strategies that bad actors use to sway election results. The end-to-end encryption of blockchain systems can help election watchdogs verify each eligible voter and filled-up ballot. This, in turn, strengthens the citizens’ trust in government institutions and prevents potential political turmoil.
Another benefit that blockchain technology provides is the capacity to support smart contracts, which can accelerate the application and processing of loans, insurance premiums, and other similar products. In essence, smart contracts stored on the blockchain are traceable, transparent, irreversible, and self-executing once all parties agree to the terms. Traditional contracts can be tedious to process, often complicating procedures for borrowers and policyholders seeking to secure their loans and premiums. At the same time, lenders and insurers may find it difficult to manage their workload with time-consuming, non-smart contracts.
Supply chain management entails overseeing resources and processes at various logistical levels. As such, the blockchain ledger is perfect for supply chain management because it enables the tracking of materials in real-time. With blockchain, industry stakeholders have full visibility over their supply chains and can trace their goods in just seconds.
Moreover, keeping a record of the various components and ingredients allows companies to be transparent with their customers when it comes to the origin of their products. This will help companies fortify customer trust while keeping up with compliance requirements.
Exploring Blockchain’s Increasingly Limitless Benefits
Even though a lot of industries have already maximized the use of blockchain technology, we have yet to see what else we can do with this evolving concept. From added security to financial convenience, blockchain has a wide range of benefits that can simplify daily tasks for industry players and their valued customers. As blockchain experts continue to push the boundaries of innovation, we can only imagine how else can the world make the most of this fascinating technology.