Every now and then out comes an innovation that completely upends the way we do things. Telephones. The internet. Artificial intelligence. And then there is, of course, cryptocurrency – a technology that revolutionized the way people think about money. This innovation fundamentally changed how business transactions are made through a distributed, secure, transparent ledger of digital events.
Hidden in the background, making all this possible, is a data structure called blockchain. This is the technology that offers the future of digital asset storage because all records are decentralized, verified, and unchangeable. However, while blockchain is most often association with crypto, it’s something that can impact virtually every industry.
Blockchain provides highly secure, permanent records of all digital events that have been executed between participants. This running ledger records transactions in real-time and stores the data in multiple places.
Where traditional databases store data in tables or individual files, blockchain stores data in chains of blocks. Each block comprises sets of information. Once the block is authorized, it is chained to another block and cannot be removed or altered. The data is validated with a time stamp. Records are kept as a running list, and every member within the block has access to the entire set of information.
Prior to blockchain, credible transactions required a trusted third-party authority to verify, govern, and validate transactions - leaving room for inefficiencies and points of failure. Because all the records in blockchain are decentralized and immutable, the technology provides a high degree of efficiency, anonymity, transparency, traceability and security.
What was once seen as technology experiment is now seen as something ground-breaking, innovative and evolving. Blockchain is fast becoming a strategic priority for many organizations seeking to improve their processes, controls and business models.
According to a 2020 Deloitte report, 55% percent of organizations believe blockchain to be critical to their businesses and are increasing their investments in it. That’s up 12% from their 2018 survey. Trending upwards are also the general attitudes toward the adoption of blockchain within organizations, with 88% of respondents viewing blockchain technology as broadly scalable and achieving mainstream adoption. 2
Now, businesses are beginning to put hard-earned dollars toward implementing blockchain initiatives, leading to further investment and confidence. As businesses expand their digital footprint, so too must they address challenges in regard to cybersecurity, digital identities, compliance, governance and myriad other concerns. Blockchain is now viewed as a practical solution to remediating these obstacles. Implementations in a number of various industries are finding their footing every day and showing tangible benefits in the way they operate.
In recent years, we have seen significant changes in how we do things. Technology has changed the way we socialize, the way we shop, the way we talk to our healthcare provider, the way we bank. Because of its ability to improve efficiencies and security, blockchain has become a compelling technology to serve a number of businesses today.
Healthcare providers: The healthcare industry relies on digitized information more than ever before. Patient records, remote appointments, payments, insurance claims and other transactions can be written into the blockchain to achieve confidentiality and compliance in interactions and exchanges of valuable patient information.
Financial services: The first to investigate blockchain, the financial services industry utilizes blockchain with banking and finance-related interactions such as trade financing, customer onboarding, crypto-trading, international transactions, and regulatory reporting. Not only can blockchain provide security for and lower reduce fraud for related to these services, but it also can improve the time for transactions and trading to occur, as money never sleeps.
Media/content providers: The amount of available media and content has significantly increased throughout the years. As such, blockchain technology can help track ownership rights and royalties, piracy and even advertising fraud, so content creators can own their work, get paid, and continue creating.
Supply chain: Today’s supply chain is global and complex; suppliers, distributors and clients often do not directly interact. Like cryptocurrency, stakeholders in supply chains can utilize blockchain to create management solutions that require traceability, stakeholder verification and even counterfeit prevention.
Cloud/IT service providers: When it comes to IoT products, vast computation and storage capacity is required. Blockchain can overcome cloud exchange limitations, facilitate decentralization of cloud services, improve security and lower storage costs.
What was born out of the desire to remove central authorities from money exchanges has now grown to something that can benefit a much larger base. It’s no surprise that many industries are flocking to blockchain for how well it organizes digital business records.
So, it appears we are in the midst of a revolution. A technology revolution. One that slowly crept up on us. One that is transforming the way operate. And one that now nearly all industries are looking toward to change the fundamental way they build, store and exchange their data. The possibilities are endless.
The CoreSite Team
Combining expertise, research and thought leadership to inform and advance hybrid IT.Read more from this author