Although still in its nascent stage, blockchain is a foundational technology with the potential to disrupt many different industries over the next five to ten years. At its core, blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that provides a safe way to record and transfer data that is transparent, auditable, and continuous.
Innovative ways companies are harnessing the power of global blockchain.
From startups to large enterprises, blockchain is being utilized to provide greater transparency across many industries.
• Banking and Payments – Many believe blockchain will democratize banking just as the internet has with media and information. It could give billions of people around the world access to financial services, including those in the Third World without traditional bank accounts. The blockchain could also enable cross-border payments and transactions, that occur instantaneously and for a reasonably low fee.
• Cyber Security – Although data on the blockchain is public, the data is verified and encrypted using advanced cryptography techniques. Data is less prone to being hacked or changed without permission.
• Supply Chain – The distributed ledger creates a way to monitor items and transactions in the supply chain transparently and securely. It can be used to manage logistics and monitor parts, costs, labor, and even waste and emissions. A more recent application has been in the area of food safety, keeping track of crucial data such as suppliers, how and where food was grown, and who inspected it, giving an accounting from origin to completion.
• Internet of Things – The blockchain could facilitate a decentralized network of IoT devices, operating like a public ledger, thus eliminating the need for a center of communications. Devices would communicate with each other, potentially with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to update software, manage bugs, and monitor energy use.
• Insurance – The blockchain could be utilized to verify the many types of data embedded in insurance contracts. So-called “oracles” can be used to integrated real-world data and blockchain smart contracts. The technology is particularly helpful for insurance types requiring inspection. Drones could be deployed to inspect properties, data securely recorded in the blockchain, and then integrated into the insurance contract.
• Charity – One of the knocks on charitable contributions is that they often fall prey to corruption or mismanagement. Using the blockchain to track donations, donors can be assured that donations go directly to the intended recipients.
• Food Safety – The blockchain can be used to achieve greater safety within the food supply chain, making it possible to quickly trace food products to their source. Without blockchain, a traceback test of produce took six days to trace back to its original farm. Using blockchain, the same search was completed in 2.2 seconds. During an outbreak of disease or contamination, time is of the essence.
• Voting – The blockchain has the potential to facilitate secure elections, not subject to voter registration and identity fraud and/or the miscounting of ballots. Creating an immutable, public ledger of voting results would be a giant step toward insuring more fair and accurate election results.
• Healthcare – One major challenge the healthcare system faces is the lack of a secure platform to store and share medical data and records. This is further complicated by privacy issues. The blockchain could help improve data security and allow medical records to be shared with authorized professionals for the purpose of diagnosis and/or research.
• Energy – The energy business is currently a highly centralized industry, requiring intermediaries to facilitate transactions between companies. Energy producers and users cannot transact directly with each other. Blockchain could change that paradigm by enabling peer-to-peer transactions.
• Media – The blockchain could be utilized to track the ownership rights and royalties related to music and media. Fans could pay artists directly for content, without involving a record label, studio, or publisher.
• Retail – The blockchain could facilitate a retail system not tied to a store or marketplace, but allowing decentralized purchases between buyers and sellers without a middleman. Smart contracts, secure payment, and reputation management could all be provided by the blockchain.
• Real Estate – There is much bureaucracy embedded in real estate transactions due to issues such as the lack of transparency, fraud, and mistakes in the public record. The use of blockchain could not only speed up transactions, eliminating the need for paper-based recordkeeping, but could also help with tracking and verifying ownership, ensuring document accuracy, and the secure transfer of assets and property in the transaction.
• Government – Imagine a transparent system of government held accountable by the blockchain. Government smart contracts could cut down on bureaucratic inefficiency and prevent corruption. As an example, the country of Dubai is looking to put all its government documents on the blockchain by 2020. Public benefits such as welfare and unemployment could also be managed more efficiently and securely using the blockchain.
• Human Resources – Blockchain technology enables more efficient processing of background checks and provides an accurate, immutable record of employment history and academic credentials. No more padded resumes!
As the capabilities of blockchain are just starting to be realized, investment capital flows are increasing for companies that are embracing the technology’s future. Standards still need to be established for technical compatibility in order for industries and companies to be able to seamlessly share blockchain data, but the future looks very promising.
EQM Indexes LLC is a woman-owned firm dedicated to creating and supporting innovative indexes that track growth industries and emerging investment themes. Co-founded by Jane Edmondson, a former Institutional Portfolio Manager with more than 25 years in the investment industry.
Emerita Capital Indices, Inc. is an independent research firm focused on Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, composed of computer scientists, engineers, and financial experts. Emerita delivers world class research and analysis that evaluates the impact of these technologies on economics, business models, and human interactions.
The EQM-Emerita Blockchain BLOK 50 Global Index (“BLOK-50” or the “Index”) seeks to track the combined performance of a basket of the 50 leading global stocks that derive revenue from and/or are investing in blockchain technology, blockchain companies, or blockchain-enabled applications. Companies in the index are at the forefront of R&D, testing and implementation of blockchain technology, and/or are partnering with or directly investing in blockchain companies and/or profiting from blockchain-based applications such as cryptocurrency mining. The Index was co-developed by EQM Indexes LLC and Emerita Capital Indices, Inc. and remains the exclusive property of Emerita Capital Indices, Inc. EQM Indexes and Emerita Capital Indices makes no express or implied warranties or representations with respect to the Index.
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