Future applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies
Blockchain technology and the cryptocurrencies have come so far in a relatively short period of time, and their applications are far from being exhausted. Blockchain technology and the cryptocurrencies were first used in the finance industry, but their application has since been witnessed in retail, health, and gaming and even by governments. Discussed below are some of the future applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Decentralized cloud storage
Currently, cloud storage services are centralized meaning that an institution controls and manages the user’s data. In other words, the service provider controls all of the assets users have stored online. One of the most prevalent characteristics of blockchain is that it is decentralized. In extension, the cloud storage services will be decentralized as well. Notably, Storj, a startup company focused on technologies is testing cloud storage using a blockchain-based network with the aim of improving security and minimizing dependency. While current service providers have taken measures to secure users data, the most secure way for the data is through hashing and distributing data to multiple decentralized locations.
The diagram below illustrates decentralized cloud storage:
Virtually every transaction enquires the drafting of a contract. The contractual process often consumes too much time and funds, but smart contracts could make this a thing of the past. Smart contracts are legally binding contracts that are digitized and place on the blockchain network. The execution of these contracts is based on the if-then premise such that they can execute the contract as a third party without human intervention. Say for instance I want to buy a car from X. assuming that the logbook has already been digitized, X and I will agree that I should receive the logbook on a particular date. The date and the terms of the agreement will be programmed in the smart contract. Once I make the payment, the smart contract will automatically release the logbook to me and the funds to X. the contract will then terminate automatically.
Secure digital identity
Virtually every institution be it a school, health center or employee requires that you provide personal information for the purpose of database records. This has not been as secure as hoped considering the rampant cases of database breach exposing vital personal information of unaware customers. Case in point is the breach of Target customer database. Through blockchain technology, individuals in any institution can be accorded unique digital identities verified in an immutable, secure and irrefutable way. While current methods entail using passwords that are often forgotten, blockchain technology uses digital signatures created using the public and private keys.
This is a fundamental wing of operation, especially in the retail sector. Unfortunately, the supply is often characterized by slow process mostly due to multiple intermediaries involved, particularly the banks. Cryptocurrencies will bring efficacy in the supply chain in two key ways. First, cryptocurrencies are decentralized currencies meaning they can be used to transact fast and freely. The retailer will no longer have to hold intense arguments with the supplier owing to delayed payments. Secondly. Multiple payments made through ought the supply chain result in high incremental costs incurred through bank transfers. With cryptocurrencies, retailers will enjoy cost-effective transactions in favor of their bottom line.
Voting is undoubtedly the most profound process through which citizens get to exercise their democratic rights. Unfortunately, the process has often been shunned by some alleging irregularities and fraud. Attempts to digitize the process is often met with harsh criticism of poor security. Blockchain technology is an immutable and incorruptible meaning data stored therein is free from tampering. With blockchain, a voter can vote from the comfort of their home and track their vote to ensure successful submission. Additionally, a voter would be able to tally the cast votes for the purposes of transparency.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are slowly becoming the ‘internet of things.' In the near future, most industries will be revolutionized by these technologies.