Blockchain is about much more than just cryptocurrency. In fact, the decentralized security, integrity, and transparency of blockchain can theoretically be applied to almost any exchange or transaction. Making the possibilities of blockchain virtually endless. In fact, blockchain’s possibilities aren’t just in the distant future, some of them are happening right now. Here are 7 ways blockchain affects your life right now.
7. Medical Records
Blockchain shows big-time potential in the realm of medical records. This is because healthcare professionals rely on sharing sensitive patient data with one another in order to provide effective care. But at the same time, this type of data requires serious security considerations.
For starters, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), healthcare organizations are legally required to keep all patient data safe and secure. Beyond that, healthcare professionals are expected to maintain a high level of confidentiality, especially when it comes to such personal patient information.
In any case, healthcare is a fertile ground for the use of blockchain. There are already multiple providers and app developers using blockchain to securely store, update, and share patient data. For example, MedRec is an MIT project putting blockchain to work to store electronic medical records.
6. Shipping and Transporting Goods
Blockchain is perfectly equipped to work out logistics for shipping goods. Companies are already turning to blockchain to improve their transportation needs.
For example, ShipChain uses blockchain to eliminate the need for middlemen. Instead of sending everything through freight brokers, this system uses the Ethereum blockchain to organize and carry out the entire shipping process.
This could be important to businesses and consumers alike. On the business side, companies can save money by not using expensive brokers. This, in turn, could pass savings on to consumers. There’s a good chance that you’ve purchased goods shipped using blockchain. This is just one of the ways that blockchain affects your life.
5. Legal Marijuana Sales
If you’re a consumer of legal marijuana, it’s likely that blockchain affects your life already as many legal cannabis companies are turning to the new technology.
The legal cannabis industry could become one of the most enthusiastic early adopters of blockchain. One reason is cannabis businesses struggle with accessing regular financial services. Even if cannabis is legal at the state level, it remains illegal at the federal level. As a result, most banks and credit companies are wary to do business with cannabis companies.
In the past, marijuana companies were forced to use only cash. But blockchain could change that. Now, cannabis companies are using blockchain to execute financial transactions. Similarly, blockchain tracks cannabis products from seed to point of sale in order to comply with legal requirements.
4. Smart Contracts
Blockchain can function as a fully-automated, secure, and transparent middleman in the execution of all sorts of contracts. Already, a number of companies and industries are beginning to use blockchain for this exact purpose.
For example, IBM and Walmart are using smart contracts to carry out deals with a variety of producers and distributors throughout the world. Similarly, the music industry is beginning to explore how blockchain-supported smart contracts might help ensure that profits go back to the artists themselves.
There are virtually limitless ways that people might end up using smart contracts. Expect to see blockchain used more and more to carry out and enforce contracts in numerous aspects of your daily life.
3. Insurance Claims
Blockchain is already making the insurance industry more efficient. For consumers, blockchain can enable fast, easy insurance claims. Furthermore, insurance companies can benefit from the ability to quickly and securely process claims and receive data vital to assessing claims.
The idea of using blockchain to improve insurance isn’t only theoretical. It’s now coming to life. For example, Plex is a program that uses the Ethereum blockchain to facilitate real-time car diagnostics. This helps speed claims processing for all parties involved.
2. Money Transfers and Payment Processing
Evidently, anything having to do with money is the most common application of blockchain. This is the most obvious way in which blockchain affects your life. In fact, many people see blockchain as offering small businesses a much faster, more secure, and more affordable way to conduct financial transactions.
Most immediately, a growing number of businesses are now accepting cryptocurrency, effectively freeing businesses from traditional banks and credit companies.
Interestingly, blockchain shows promise for both large and small businesses. Most recently, Starbucks and Microsoft announced a collaboration that would allow customers to buy products at Starbucks using crypto.
And there are other ways blockchain helps businesses. For example, Bitwage is already working on ways to use blockchain to help companies handle all payroll needs. As with other applications, blockchain could be a powerful solution for businesses looking for fast, secure, reliable, and affordable ways to execute financial transactions.
1. Charitable Giving
If you prioritize charitable giving, there’s a chance that blockchain affects your life. This is because a growing number of charities and non-profits are using blockchain in their day-to-day operations.
Currently, BitGive is one of the most prominent blockchain services in this space. They work with a number of well-known non-profits including Save The Children, The Water Project, Medic Mobile, and others. BitGive also facilitates crypto donations for smaller local or personal charitably programs as well.
Bitgive harnesses blockchain technology to help these and other charitable organizations accept donations. Additionally, they use blockchain to seamlessly track the movement of funds from donors to the organization itself and ultimately to project outcomes.
With the use of decentralized security, integrity, and transparency, Blockchain is already affecting our lives. Little by little our world will be able to reap the benefits of this emerging technology. Every day we are seeing more effects and there are surely more to come.