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Blockchain Technology: Building a World of Endless Opportunities

January 10, 2020 | by Mike Hendrickson
Blockchain Technology: Building a World of Endless Opportunities

Blockchain is not new. It has in fact been around for more than a decade. However, most people view it as an emerging technology, and with good reason. Almost daily, blockchain finds and reimagine its uses in enterprises and companies of all sizes. It is no longer merely the encrypted distributed ledger technology that cryptocurrencies depend on.

How important is blockchain technology to organizations?

In Deloitte's 2019 Global Blockchain Survey, 53% of respondents say that blockchain technology has become a critical priority for their organizations -- a 10-point increase over the previous year. Moreover, 83% see compelling use cases for blockchain, and respondents' overall attitudes toward blockchain have strengthened meaningfully. The survey also explores how most respondents see blockchain as a top-five priority for their organization. What is interesting about the data is that it reveals that only about 23% have initiated deployment of the technology. In other words, despite recognizing its importance, we are not taking advantage of its vast capabilities.

Blockchain technology is relevant to all industries

Is your organization keeping pace in your industry? Let's take a quick look at how specific industries and sectors are leveraging, or could utilize, blockchain to optimize business outcomes.

Banking

Financial institutions are using blockchain technology to digitize financial instruments. This allows for more liquidity in assets while lowering the costs and reaching a broader investor and capital base. Imagine having your bank checking account authenticated to the account of your choice without any bank control or fees. Your money is now genuinely working for you.

Utilities

There is the potential to connect wind turbines to a blockchain grid, providing the data and insights necessary to sell this naturally sourced power. The company collating the data can do the billings, settlements, and brokering. I would love to sell the extra solar power that my house produces rather than giving it back to the utility company. If my house produces more energy than it consumes, why should I not be the recipient of any financial transactions for the extra energy?

Government

Think for a moment about a government’s need to build trust, increase accountability, be cost-conscious, and improve security. No small feat. However, encrypted ledgers and smart contracts are ideal for just this sort of task. For example, let’s talk about pothole repairs. With blockchain technology, the repairs are reported in an app and then processed by government employees. Once the pothole is filled, all the relevant parties in that location receive notification of the repairs. These alerts demonstrate accountability. While it may seem rather simple, it could in the long term save money.

Healthcare and life sciences

Think of the possibilities if an individual’s entire medical history was authenticated to one person on a blockchain. This person has easy access to the information and can select what pieces to share with doctors, insurance agencies, employers, friends, and websites such as 23andme, WebMD, Peloton, and CVS. The best part is that the person has total control and power over their information, not the doctors or insurers.

Media

Again, the applications are limitless. Think of how media companies could use blockchain to avert intellectual property (music/art) theft and the dissemination of false news and assets. I look forward to the day when I can vote on an app authenticated by blockchain technology. Everyone can vote, and every vote is counted.

Real estate

While at first, the uses here are not so obvious, I do think blockchain technology can serve a purpose in this industry. For example, a person could have a small stake in a real estate holding that grows over time and yields enough to invest in their own property. This liquidity concept will help people take their first step on the property ladder.

Supply chain

Currently, many supply chains are inefficient, poorly monitored and tracked, and are often exploitive. Paperwork, one of the main reasons the process is so expensive, ensnares supply chains. However, the beauty of blockchain technology is that a supplier can know all the properties of a container. This transparency of data ensures that the consumer knows every step of the journey of the item, from the farm to the table.

“Every stage in the process can be registered and verified to create transparent and immutable records,” writes Mina Down in “How Blockchain is Revolutionizing the Supply Chain Industry” at Hackernoon. “Therefore, the use of blockchain in supply chains has the potential to eliminate inefficiencies that are common in the traditional management models.”

Meeting the rising demand for blockchain engineers

Blockchain certainly has the ability to disrupt industries, companies, and the way we interact with services and products in the future. It is a technology that most enterprises are exploring new products and services now.

As organizations expand and develop their uses of blockchain, we will see a corresponding growth in the need for professionals with the relevant skills and competencies. In fact, in a recent report, blockchain developer is listed as the number one fastest-growing job in the US. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that organizations are starting to look at developing their people with these talents. Skillsoft’s Blockchain App Developer to Blockchain Solutions Architect Aspire journey will give you and your team the knowledge and skills essential to prepare for what's next in the blockchain world.

App Developer to Blockchain Solutions Architect Aspire Journey

I would love to hear stories from the field about how this fascinating technology is reimagining your workplace/job/industry. So readers - please share your experiences with blockchain technologies.

Mike Hendrickson is the VP, Technology & Developer Products at Skillsoft.

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