Many consumers and companies have heard of blockchain technology . Most users associate blockchain technology with cryptocurrencies and the ability to trade them. As a result, it can also be assumed that a rapidly growing proportion of investors will recognize a certain growth potential and become aware of the cross-sectoral effects. But in addition to trading coins and tokens, there are other areas of application for the technology. Based on the information provided by the Forbes Technology Council members , we took a closer look at the 12 most interesting trends.
1. Creating transparency in statistics
If we take a look at the current market, there are numerous mobile and digital offers. As a result, there is a wealth of data on user behavior and interests. A good example of this is the streaming market.
More and more users are turning to streaming services. Although users pay money for the service every month, the flexibility and scope of services simply offer more advantages. However, not all market participants can benefit from this development, because the royalties generated by the artists involved are usually not sufficient to support themselves.
The reason for this is the lack of transparency on the part of the streaming providers. Artists currently have only limited options for viewing their own call statistics. Only well-known musicians can benefit from the current market environment. However, the blockchain could dissolve this lack of transparency and simplify rights management. Using a blockchain, it is simply easier to document the ownership structure. In this way, musicians and other artists could get a more precise picture of their performance and receive fair remuneration.
2. Optimizing collaboration and control
The second use case for blockchain technology concerns the area of work control and cooperation. Basically, we have a natural field of tension here. From the point of view of employees and employers, close cooperation and continuous control are two contrary approaches.
However, this tension can be bridged using blockchain technology. Cooperation is an important factor for success. However, the documentation and storage of the data in an unchangeable form must also be guaranteed.
For example, companies can use a blockchain to record data. This is basically a collaborative SQL database. All data is stored on the decentralized ledger, so that business partners can be sure that it is not possible to change this business-critical data.
3. Decentralized finance is on the up
We also committed to us at the beginning of the year and declared decentralized finance ( DeFi ) one of the most exciting blockchain trends in 2020. We are not alone in this opinion, because Richard Ma from Quantstamp also sees DeFi as an exciting application for DeFi.
DeFi is basically an ecosystem of decentralized financial applications based on the distributed ledger technologies . DeFi has grown rapidly in recent months. The applications ensure that asset management takes place increasingly on decentralized solutions – we are experiencing a shift from centralized banking to decentralized DeFi apps.
However, there is still a disadvantage, because DeFi applications also prove to be susceptible to hacker attacks. The reason for this is not the technology, but the interface of the end user. It is therefore important to implement the high security requirements of the financial industry and to protect customers from hostile attacks. If these framework conditions are met, DeFi applications could continue to grow strongly in the future.
4. Optimizing supply chain management
A particularly interesting field of application for distributed ledger technologies is supply chain management. The blockchain solution from IBM, IBM Food Trust , has already shown the potential that optimization of the supply chain offers.
Basically, a blockchain offers accurate, authentic and transparent transactions. Accordingly, there is complete transparency about costs incurred, approved and rejected fees – at any time. In addition, all data can be validated within a few minutes – in the past, this took several days or weeks.
Optimizing the entire supply chain also helps to rationalize expensive intermediaries. This increases the efficiency of the entire industry and companies can invest the money in other profitable areas.
Finally, all data is stored on a decentralized, unchangeable ledger. This means that there is no further scope for manipulation and the trust of the trading partners increases again.
5. Revolution in the financial sector
According to Chares Silver, the CEO of Permission.io, immutability is the disruptive factor in blockchain technology. This new transparency could therefore revolutionize the entire market and present non-transparent industries such as banking with some challenges.
According to Silver, the entire financial and banking industry is non-transparent and untrustworthy. The entire system is characterized by obfuscation – a perfect example of this is the payment service provider Wirecard. With appropriate market transparency, there would simply not be such scandals about veiled transactions.
In the long term, distributed ledger technologies can help disrupt the entire market and new and, above all, more transparent solutions dominate the market.
6. Better data protection through DLT
Data protection has played a greater role in Europe since the introduction of the EU GDPR. However, there are still numerous data protection violations and scandals. Due to the high value of the user data, it can also be assumed that attackers will increasingly focus on customer data.
A new way to handle our data safely is with the DLT. In the future, we will see a shift from centralized models to fully decentralized models, where users have complete control over their own data.
However, this is a development that we may only be able to observe over the coming years – this simply requires a broad acceptance of the underlying technology.
Nevertheless, we can already see that companies are taking more and more steps to ensure the security of customer data.
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7. Influence on competition through data transparency
Another trend can be seen in the area of data management. Experts believe that the distributed ledger technologies will have an impact on the management of data.
The increasing acceptance of blockchain solutions generally leads to more transparency in the market. As a result, more and more market participants and companies are gaining access to the available data. Due to the new transparency, competitors will also know in the future what potential costs will be, how high the sales will be and what stocks are in the company. This new knowledge then ensures that the market becomes more efficient. The entire competition will find fairer prices. In the next step, the need for external regulation decreases and middlemen disappear from the market.
8. Create cross-sector interoperability between systems
Basically, interoperability is a fundamental success factor for blockchain technology. However, this factor could play an even more important role for companies in the future. Blockchains enable data storage and users from different domains – this also leads to the consolidation of large amounts of data. In this way, several companies can automatically cooperate with each other more efficiently.
For example, it is normal today for ship manufacturers and shipping companies to use different, incompatible systems. Accordingly, the processes between these companies, despite tight economic ties, are quite inefficient. By introducing a common blockchain-based system, these inefficiencies can be eliminated. In this way, a new technology can help companies to overcome discrepancies and create a uniform and, above all, secure data flow.
9. New ways of working in the field of human resources
From a business perspective, identifying talented workers is a real challenge. The processes have changed a lot in recent years, but the Internet has also been unable to change the complex processes.
A central element of every application process are the documents, certificates and certificates. Although digital routes were able to optimize the workflow in the company, the risk of falsified documents being submitted has increased at the same time.
Blockchain technology could correct the inefficiency of the market. It would be possible for all relevant application documents to be saved in a blockchain certificate. Companies could process the data in a standardized manner and there would be no need to worry about incorrect information. In addition, companies can use smart contracts to automate employee payments. This ensures that all workers are paid on time and efficiently.
10. Authentication of users
The distributed ledger technologies also play a major role in the area of authentication. So Will LaSala assumes that the technology will have a formative influence on the authentication of users in digital channels – this development is a game changer for the companies.
The basic idea behind this approach is simple and brilliant at the same time. All users should have a central and trustworthy account. Different services can be used with this account without ever having to share personal data with the provider. In this way, users can use the same login for their online banking, insurance profile or membership in an online retailer.
As a result, there is a potential for us to see a fundamental change in governance. If the password is still considered a measure of all things when it comes to controlling access rights, this could be outdated in the future. With the help of digital identities, access rights can be distributed more efficiently to individual users, so that passwords that are not completely secure lose their right to exist.
11. Electronic health records on the blockchain
Anyone who has already taken a look at their own health record will find exciting entries. Due to the current lack of transparency, doctors and health insurers can bill incorrect positions without the patient being aware of this at one point.
The entire industry would benefit from the transfer of health data to the blockchain. Patients received better service, could benefit from potentially falling prices and had complete transparency about their own health status.
The complete data would be stored unchangeably and securely, so that it could be used in several places. This also opens up the potential for completely new business models and the use of artificial intelligence in this area of application.
12. Use of blockchain technology in the field of e-commerce
E-commerce, one of the major growth markets, is also facing fundamental changes from DLT. However, e-commerce has a fundamental advantage over other sectors: the business model is already digital. As a result, established payment methods can be exchanged quickly and new technologies can be easily established.
It also shows that an above-average number of online shops are already using blockchain technology. This trend has not yet reached the majority of the market, but blockchain technology will prevail here in the long term.
Conclusion: numerous trends – further development questionable
As the opinion of the Forbes Technology Council reveals, there are currently numerous areas in which blockchain technology has enormous potential. In principle, technology can initiate a change in the sectors, but so far many companies have been hiding from this change.
In my view, there are numerous models that sound sensible and are already visible on the market today. These include disruption of the supply chain, DeFi, blockchain certificates for graduates and increasing transparency. On the other hand, I have a slightly different opinion regarding the transparency of company data. At the current time, I cannot imagine that companies will voluntarily share sensitive data with the competition. The market simply does not work efficiently enough for this. Competitive advantages will continue to play a key role in the future and are a cornerstone of our economic system.