Blockchain (also known as Distributed Ledger Technology, LTD) is an open, decentralized, and distributed ledger that records and makes the history of a digital asset transparent. This is made possible by the use of cryptographic hashing and decentralization. It's open to all so, anything built on the blockchain is transparent. Created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, blockchain gives room for seamless transactions and records transactions between two people in a permanent way that can be verified, thus reducing risks. Bitcoin is the pioneer of the blockchain revolution, blockchain was initially created to be used as the transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is a digital, peer-to-peer currency that was created after the collapse of the global economy in 2008 with an intention of having a decentralized currency with transparency, offering low transaction costs and better security unlike currencies issued by the government. The creation of Bitcoin followed the ideas set out in a whitepaper published by Satoshi Nakamoto a year earlier which presented the world a way out of the recession caused by the centralized financial institutions.
Blockchain was designed particularly for Bitcoin (which served as the first avenue to test run the blockchain technology) and it uses the technology to trade digital currency but today, the technology has developed into more than it was designed for. The ability of the technology to allow digital information to be distributed but not giving room for it to be copied has served as an originator of a new type of internet and it is now being adopted by a wide range of sectors and industries. According to statistics, the global blockchain market is expected to be worth $20 billion in the year 2024. Currently, 69 percent of banks are experimenting with blockchain technology to make their services more secure, seamless, and transparent.
The creation and use of Bitcoin have encouraged further research in blockchain technology which has resulted in innovative projects and developments that take the idea of blockchain further than just digital currency across almost all industries known to man. Examples of such are ethereum, which allows decentralized applications to be built on blockchain which can help in voting and medical record, EOS which allows the development, hosting, and deployment of decentralized apps (dApps) on its blockchain platform,
Blockchain Is Changing the World—One Industry at a Time Blockchain is presently impacting the world positively and it has greater potential of doing so in different sectors including agriculture, energy, financial, health, education, climate and environment, and others. The applications of blockchain technology are limitless. Although Blockchain has the potential to transform virtually every industry to man, here are four major industries in which Blockchain technology could cause massive destruction. These industries will feel the most positive impact of this groundbreaking innovation.
Financial Services and Banking Blockchain is changing everything about payments transactions. The technology provides a ledger that is not under the administration of anyone. The technology has received a lot of attention in recent times, driving past only the commendation of Bitcoin fanatics into the current and popular banking experts and investors. Blockchain technology allows parties who don't trust themselves to come to an agreement and share valuable data in a secure way that doesn't involve a middleman, therefore, blockchain can deliver financial services like payments and securing transactions just like a bank, and it does that without a middleman.
There would be a reduction in the transaction window time, chances of getting people's data hacked would be minimal as the customer's data would be the assets to banks. Blockchain being decentralized gives room for transparency and eradicates compromise on customers' data. It would shut the door against crime and fraud. Although there are fears that the traditional system of banking would be discarded, blockchain would stand its ground as global banks such as Santander in the UK, Unicredit bank in Italy, and some others have agreed on giving the technology their full support. Also, 90% of major North American and European banks are exploring blockchain solutions. Blockchain technology guarantees streamline payments processing with high efficiency, fast and secure transactions.
The process of sending money to other countries traditionally has been complex and expensive. Banks are using the technology of blockchain to improve remittances, keep track of transactions through smart contracts, an always-working computer protocol contract that can monitor when a buyer makes a payment, when a seller delivers on the other end of the deal, and also manage problems that may arise during transactions.
Blockchain is still relatively new, although banks and other industries are already innovating with blockchain technology. At this point, the technology is probably ahead of regulations,
For example, several major banks have partnered with Ripple to facilitate cross-border payments using blockchain technology, and other service providers are busy developing solutions.
Blockchain-based transfers save banks time and money, but consumers can also benefit as it eradicates the stress associated with sending funds traditionally. With blockchain technology, both parties can complete an electronic transfer with mobile phones—and pay far less.
Digital Identity & Passports As we continue to move through the digital age, there have been tremendous changes in our daily lives and activities. Our lives have become much dependent on our online and offline activities and with the widespread use of digital space, we can now be identified digitally. Traditional identity systems have become disorganized and insecure due to the large number of files they are to manage, the burden of paperwork, and fake Identities. As at present, about one billion people in the world do not have proof of identity. Blockchain makes the management and storage of digital identities more secure and it could be used to solve the problems stated above by eradicating problems of identity such as inaccessibility, data insecurity, fake identities, fraud, and others. One of the countries that have adopted this technology is the Netherlands, which now uses a digital identity management system that gives residents access to public records and governmental services over the years
Voting Blockchain can also be used in online voting. Citizens have always been made to stand in lines and vote in turn during elections. This has led to a series of unfavorable conditions like violence and manipulation of votes which has made a lot lose interest in casting their votes. A lot of people believe that blockchain technology would be a great advancement in the voting process as it will provide an easier and more secure method of voting that would not allow any elected official to change votes and also, it will allow more people to perform their basic civic duty in comfort. When voting with blockchain, voters can successfully cast their vote without revealing their identity to the public.
Energy trading Blockchain is also being used in peer-to-peer energy trading. The energy sector today is a complex system that oversees a large volume of transactions with multiple sources consisting of suppliers, distributors, and middlemen. The energy sector would be highly suitable for innovation by blockchain technology. The transparency of blockchain would be of great help to the end-users of this business. Blockchain technology innovative moves can improve the energy industry in the categories of metering/billing and security, cryptocurrencies, tokens and investment, data management, decentralized energy trading IoT, smart devices, and automation. Some retailers of energy act as middlemen as they purchase energy from the utility providers delivering the energy and sell to the users, blockchain transactions do not involve middlemen, so the middlemen involved in energy transactions would be eliminated if the technology is adopted which would result in spending lower cost. A well-developed blockchain-based system may allow users to purchase energy directly from the providers instead of the middlemen.