Blockchain is disrupting the financial industry to great effect, as financial institutions have begun to leverage the technology’s safety and security features to ensure secure, real-time transactions. In 2018, in fact, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria issued a corporate loan that was completed using blockchain technology. That same year, Banco Santander launched the first ever blockchain-based cross-border payments system.
Although these blockchain milestones are quite impressive, the financial industry is not the only sector that can benefit from the technology. The following five sectors, in particular, will be shaped by blockchain in 2020 and the years to come.
Blockchain technology promises to transform many aspects of the automotive industry, which is why IBM estimates that 62% of the sector will be utilising blockchain by 2021. The technology has the potential to simplify and streamline the manufacturing, finance, and supply chain processes through high-tech records. It can also enhance the safety of smart vehicles by making them hack-proof, while also making the buying and selling of cars easier by creating immutable car registries.
Forbes points out the inherent connection between blockchain and cybersecurity, and notes how the technology “offers a totally different approach to storing information, making transactions, performing functions, and establishing trust.” This approach, in turn, is most suitable for environments with critical security requirements, as blockchain offers end-to-end privacy and encryption, without taking away convenience. Already, Estonia-based Guardtime uses the blockchain-assisted Keyless Signature Infrastructure, which secures sensitive data by detecting and mitigating cyberattacks in real-time. REMME, meanwhile, is ensuring stronger authentication processes by rendering passwords obsolete. Rather than passwords, blockchain-managed SSL certificates are used, making systems near impossible to hack.
The Startup’s Sam Kelly considers current voting systems obsolete, a problem that has led to the erosion of the public’s trust in the process. To regain this trust, election stakeholders are starting to explore blockchain use, primarily because it allows for anonymity and transparency — key requirements of a good voting process. Crucially, it also ensures immutability, which, ultimately, is what makes blockchain potentially disruptive to a range of industries. HP regards blockchain as one of the top emerging technologies right now precisely because of how it is inherently harder to defraud compared to traditional transactions. This feature makes blockchain a natural fit for the electoral process, which is often at risk of manipulation. Although blockchain systems are not being implemented in voting just yet, 2020 will likely see blockchain make considerable headway in terms of adoption.
Blockchain Technology and Healthcare’ outlines how the technology’s immutability has become a huge draw for the healthcare sector. It is predicted to enhance medical record management, accelerate clinical research, and improve insurance claim processes. This mainly due to blockchain allowing decentralised management that improves data security and privacy, and proves data provenance. Perhaps more importantly, blockchain can make patient-centred interoperability possible, and give patients the freedom to control which institutions can access their medical data. Thankfully, blockchain adoption in this sector will, in all likelihood, begin in 2020.
Blockchain technology has plenty of potential applications in education. Presently, a few colleges and universities over in the US, like Southern New Hampshire University and Central New Mexico Community College, have started using the technology’s information-sharing capability in academic credentialing. Put simply, students are being given digital wallets, where they can digitally store their transcripts, grades, test scores, and digital diplomas — all of which they can share digitally as well. But that’s just the beginning. Research published on Smart Learning Environments about blockchain’s possible applications to education notes that the technology “has the potential to trigger many innovative applications for education,” like fostering students’ learning motivation and serving as a tool for teacher evaluations. These potentially innovative applications are the reasons why blockchain in education is set to take off in 2020.