Why is this the right time to care about Blockchain?

Why is this the right time to care about Blockchain?

If you haven't been paying attention to the distributed database technology blockchain made famous by the much-hyped digital currency bitcoin - the time to do so is now!

What is blockchain?

In simple terms, blockchain is a list of data records (arranged to form a "block") chained together (forming a "chain") to protect against theft, tampering and fraud.

The idea behind blockchain is to de-centralize the existing infrastructures.

Example 1:

Centralized Infrastructure

Imagine a group of people who need to do business with each other. One person who is smart and quick with numbers (the central banker) offers the others a way of keeping track of all their transactions in return for a small percentage of their transactions.

De-centralized Infrastructure

The Infrastructure given above will enable the banker to grow substantially rich with time, where he also has control over the entire data and has ample opportunities to modify it to give rise to disputes and fraud if he wills. If all of the people decided to keep a track of everyone's transactions, it would result in a fair and transparent way of keeping ledgers. Every transaction in the group would be announced and recorded in the ledgers, thus maintaining honesty and transparency with no chances of fraud and disputes. This distributed ledger is known as blockchain.

Example 2:

Centralized Infrastructure

You send an instant message to your friend using one of the most popular messaging platforms in existence. The message goes through a server paid by the big corporation who owns the platform and gets permanently stored. If the company shuts down, you lose your messages, which also poses a privacy risk.

De-centralized Infrastructure

The same instant message is broken down into small pieces and passed through a net of independent computers all over the world with multiple copies stored at different places. No one gets to see your messages which are safe forever unless the entire world's internet goes down at the same time (or maybe an apocalypse occurs!).

Cases of the use of Blockchain

While this list is constantly expanding on a daily basis, here are some key use cases to give you a better idea:

  • Banking - With the growing use of bitcoin and other digital currencies such as ethereum, ripple, litecoin, etc. blockchain is going to be the next big thing in Finance. Banking will be much secure and cost effective for the first time ever.
  • Healthcare - one of Blockchain's biggest uses lies in the EMR (Electronic Medical Records) and EHR (Electronic Health Records). The sharing and standardization of EMR & EHR will result in better collaboration between health providers, patients and researchers which will in turn result in more accurate diagnoses and cures.
  • Commerce - In the last decade we have seen a plethora of e-commerce portals opening and closing every day. Blockchain can revolutionize commerce by enabling you to buy/sell goods at lower to minimum costs with no middle-men involvement.
  • Government - In the public sector, blockchain-based solutions have the potential to make government operations more efficient and transparent while improving the delivery of public services and simultaneously increasing trust in the public-sector.
  • Real Estate - This sector is plagued with middlemen, frauds and delays. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the real estate sector by decreasing the processing time substantially and eliminating the need for middlemen and complex processes of record keeping.
  • Other notable cases of blockchain use include Digital Identity, IoT (Internet of Things), Elections, Analytics, Data Storage, Gaming, Payments & Ride Sharing.

    Why should you care about blockchain?

    In case you haven't already figured out the importance of this technology, here's why you should care for it: Blockchain is believed to be as big of a technology in 2017 as the Internet was 20 years ago. Blockchain is already on its road to achieving evolution the same way Internet evolved over the years with new use cases every day.

    Don't be surprised to observe a shift from the existing centralized apps to completely distributed apps in the coming years (or even months). You're going to see a growing number of blockchain-based implementations in sectors your use daily such as social networks, messaging, payments, food ordering, ride hailing, e-commerce, retail, etc. the list can be as big as your imagination!

    We expect blockchain-based distributed apps to be the de facto standard in the years ahead.