Some examples of innovation change the world or create industries that never existed before. Blockchain is one of them.
The first white paper about blockchain technology was released in 2008. The paper provided details of how blockchain could bring digital trust into an entirely new dimension, where verification is distributed rather than being in the hands of individual people or organizations.
You can think of blockchain as a distributed database, or a shared ledger that is verified multiple times and in multiple places, so there’s no single point of failure. Think of a kids’ pickup game of sandlot baseball where “everyone” knows the score. If someone tries to say the score is something else, they’re going to have a hard time, because they would have to change the minds of every single person participating.
Blockchain is a more sophisticated digital version of this concept, where changing what has been recorded is virtually impossible because the data is distributed across a wide network. Changing the information would require changing every node on the network. Data can be amended, but the amendments are likewise recorded and distributed, and there is always a record of that change being made. Blockchain has applications in a bewildering range of processes, industries, and applications.
Work Processes and Blockchain: Examples of Innovation
Countless business processes stand to be transformed by blockchain in coming years. Here are just a few specific examples of how it may happen.
Digital marketing loses money to click fraud every year. This is fraudulent clicking of pay-per-click advertisements that generate fraudulent charges for advertisers. Blockchain technology could put an end to click fraud, drastically reducing wasteful marketing spending.
Accounting is probably the single work process that stands to benefit most from blockchain technology. The security, confidentiality, and anonymity inherent in blockchain minimize the risk of accounting fraud.
IT processes — particularly those involving cybersecurity — will benefit from the blockchain. Personal data and transactions can be recorded and stored with significantly greater security than is available with earlier security technologies.
Industries and Blockchain
Blockchain is one of the few examples of innovation that transforms not just processes, but entire industries. For example, securely sharing private data across platforms is a major task of the healthcare industry, and blockchain promises a method for doing this at a level that has never before been possible.
The entertainment industry, where profitability depends on protecting intellectual property, will be able to use blockchain for fairer content sharing and even “smart content” that can self-execute licensing transactions.
Ride-sharing company Arcade City facilitates transactions through blockchain, allowing professional drivers to build their own transportation businesses, with blockchain logging all interactions between rider and driver. Expect many more examples of blockchain disruption of industries in the coming years.
Potential Real-World Blockchain Applications
Imagine a gift card or loyalty program app on your phone that processes your transactions using blockchain. There’s less worry about fraud and theft because blockchain can prevent illegitimate users from obtaining stolen accounts. What’s more, blockchain could link incentive programs, allowing consumers to exchange loyalty points across different types of businesses.
Some startups are using blockchain to connect buyers and sellers of retail goods without middlemen and the charges that are built into prices because of them. And blockchain may make charitable donations easier to track while improving organizational efficiency, so more money goes to charitable recipients rather than administration costs.
Some examples of innovation change how the world works. Computers, the internet, and now blockchain are all examples of this. The great thing about these innovations is that they’re not self-limiting but lead to further innovations. Like computers and the web, blockchain is likely to affect your business, offering another technology platform on which to innovate. If you want to stay apprised of innovation in business, government, nonprofits, and other organizations, IdeaScale invites you to join our newsletter.