• October 20, 2016

The Blockchain Revolution: Going Beyond Financial Services

The blockchain is the disruptive technology we’ve been waiting for.

Blockchain is one of those buzzwords that you can’t seem to get away from—it’s just about everywhere. The good news is that behind all of the hype, there’s plenty of substance. In fact, the blockchain is arguably one of the most important and disruptive technologies to come along in a generation. The only problem is that most people don’t understand it well enough to appreciate its full potential.

The reality is that most of us associate blockchain with Bitcoin and the financial services industry more broadly. As a distributed ledger that makes truly secure transactions possible, it certainly has tremendous implications for financial services. But, if you think that’s where the blockchain’s potential ends, you couldn’t be more wrong.

4 Other Blockchain Use Cases

While there are plenty of uses for the blockchain in financial services—think smart contracts, clearing and settlement, and payments, among others—there are just as many, if not more, in other areas. Let’s look at a handful of examples:

  • Digital rights management. It’s no secret the music industry is a mess when it comes to copyright issues, with most musicians getting cheated out of the money they’re owed in royalties. As a potential operating system for storing and managing music, the blockchain could be the solution the industry needs to create greater transparency and make it easier for musicians to manage and monetize their work.
  • Real estate. Blockchain technology is also poised to play a major role in the predominantly paper-based real estate industry. By making it possible to record and store records digitally, the blockchain has the potential to increase the speed and security of payment, escrow, and title transactions—a welcome development for realtors and home buyers alike.
  • Identity management. The blockchain is perfectly suited to verifying, authorizing, and managing people’s identities. Given the intense scrutiny surrounding our personal digital identities—just recently even Mark Zuckerberg got hacked—there’s a huge opportunity for the blockchain to play a significant role in keeping people’s online data secure.
  • Healthcare. Security is also paramount in healthcare. Yet recent breaches—perhaps most notably that of Anthem—are calling the effectiveness of that security into question. Here again, the blockchain has significant potential to store and manage highly sensitive information thanks to its use of multi-signatures and cryptography.

The blockchain’s applications and use cases are seemingly limitless. As the technology continues to evolve and mature, rest assured we’re going to see it enter into virtually all aspects of our daily lives.

Like this story? Learn more about disruption in the enterprise.