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Blockchain technology has garnered immense attention and acclaim for revolutionizing cryptocurrencies. It all started with Bitcoin, the first-ever digital currency built on blockchain that introduced the concept of decentralized, peer-to-peer transactions. Blockchain’s potential, however, extends far beyond cryptocurrencies. 

According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global blockchain market is projected to experience remarkable growth, with an estimated value of $7.4 billion in 2022 expanding to reach USD 94.0 billion by 2027. This growth represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66.2%. Statista reports indicate that blockchain spending will soar to approximately $19 billion by 2024.

In this article, we demystify blockchain and shed light on its applications across various industries.

Understanding the basics: what is blockchain?

At its core, a blockchain is a distributed and immutable ledger. Imagine it as a digital record-keeping system where transactions, once recorded, cannot be altered or deleted. These transactions are organized into blocks, each interlinked to the preceding one, creating a chain. Hence the term ‘blockchain’. 

Here are some of its key characteristics:

  • Decentralization: Unlike conventional centralized systems governed by a single entity, blockchain functions on a decentralized network of computers (nodes) that negates the necessity for intermediaries.
  • Immutability: When information is logged onto the blockchain, it becomes impervious to alteration. This immutability is upheld through intricate cryptographic algorithms.
  • Transparency: Transactions on the blockchain are open and available to all participants within the network. This transparency fosters trust among users.

Diverse blockchain applications beyond cryptocurrencies

Now that we have a foundational understanding of blockchain, let’s explore blockchain applications beyond cryptocurrencies.

1. Supply chain management

One of the most promising applications of blockchain lies in revolutionizing supply chain management. Traditional supply chains are often plagued with inefficiencies, delays, and lack of transparency. Blockchain offers a solution by providing an immutable and transparent ledger of a shipment’s journey from manufacturer to consumer. According to MarketsandMarkets, the worldwide blockchain supply chain market will experience a CAGR of 53.2% between 2021 and 2026. 

Here’s how blockchain benefits supply chain management:

  • Transparency: Every stakeholder in the supply chain can view and verify the origin, shipment, and delivery of products. This transparency reduces fraud and ensures product authenticity.
  • Efficiency: Smart contracts, self-executing agreements with predefined rules, automate tasks and payments when certain conditions are met. This automation streamlines the supply chain process, reducing delays and costs.
  • Traceability: When product recalls or quality issues are involved, blockchain enables swift and accurate traceability to identify affected batches.

2. Healthcare

According to a report from Vantage Market Research, blockchain in the healthcare market is projected to achieve a market size of $1,189.8 Million by 2028. This growth is driven by a CAGR of 61.10% between 2022 and 2028. Several factors contribute to this rapid growth, including the increasing threat of counterfeit drugs, the expansion of Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), a rise in healthcare data breaches, and distributed ledger technology’s inherent immutability and transparency.

Here’s what blockchain brings to the healthcare management industry: 

  • Patient data security: Medical records are susceptible, and data breaches can have severe consequences on individuals and institutions. Blockchain ensures secure and interoperable health records, allowing patients to control their data while granting access to healthcare providers when needed.
  • Drug traceability: Counterfeit medications substantially risk the public’s well-being. Blockchain’s ability to track pharmaceuticals from manufacturing to distribution helps eliminate counterfeit products.
  • Clinical trials: Blockchain enhances the transparency and integrity of clinical trials by recording every step of the process, from participant recruitment to data collection and analysis. This ensures the credibility of trial results.

3. Real Estate

The real estate industry is notorious for its complex and often opaque processes. Blockchain can streamline property transactions, reduce fraud, and increase accessibility. Here’s how:

  • Property ownership: Blockchain can store property records securely, reducing the risk of fraudulent land grabs or title disputes. Property ownership history becomes transparent and easily verifiable.
  • Smart contracts: Property transactions often involve multiple parties and intermediaries. Smart contracts can automate tasks like escrow payments and transfer of ownership when conditions are met, reducing the need for middlemen.

4. Voting systems

Ensuring the integrity of elections is a fundamental aspect of any democracy. Blockchain-based voting systems offer a secure and transparent solution to mitigate election fraud and enhance trust in the electoral process. The highlights of a blockchain-based voting system are:

  • Security: Blockchain’s immutability and encryption make it incredibly difficult for malicious actors to alter or manipulate voting records.
  • Transparency: Citizens can verify their votes and ensure they are counted accurately, increasing confidence in the electoral process.

5. Intellectual property protection

Artists, writers, and creators often struggle with copyright and intellectual property theft. Blockchain can provide a decentralized platform for creators to protect their intellectual property rights. Some of the benefits in this context are: 

  • Digital ownership: Creators can timestamp their work on the blockchain, providing indisputable proof of ownership and the creation date.
  • Royalty payments: Smart contracts can automate royalty payments, ensuring creators are fairly compensated when their work is used or sold.

6. Cross-Border payments

Due to intermediaries and currency exchange rates, traditional cross-border payments are costly and time-consuming. Statista predicts that by 2025, the number of B2B cross-border transactions on blockchain technology will surge to 745 million. Blockchain-based solutions can simplify and expedite international transactions. This is how:

  • Reduced costs: Blockchain reduces transaction fees, making cross-border payments more affordable by eliminating intermediaries.
  • Speed: Transactions on blockchain networks can be near-instantaneous compared to the days or weeks it may take with traditional banking systems.

9. Education

Blockchain can transform education by providing secure and verifiable credentials and certifications. According to Business Research Insights, the global size of blockchain in the education market reached $118.7 million in 2021, with projections indicating it will soar past $3,049 million by 2030. This represents a CAGR of 43.94% throughout the forecast period. Here’s what you can expect from blockchain in education: 

  • Digital diplomas: Educational institutions can issue digital diplomas and certificates on a blockchain, making it easy for employers and institutions to verify candidate qualifications.
  • Lifelong learning records: Individuals can maintain a lifelong record of their learning achievements, including formal education, certifications, and skills acquired through online courses or workshops.

8. Energy trading

Blockchain enables direct peer-to-peer energy trading, permitting individuals and businesses to purchase and sell surplus energy without intermediaries. This decentralized approach to energy distribution promotes sustainability and reduces reliance on centralized energy providers. According to MarkNtel Advisors, the global market for blockchain in energy trading is anticipated to grow with a CAGR of approximately 25.55% during the forecast period spanning from 2023 to 2028.

The future of blockchain

Blockchain technology has transcended its origins as the foundation of cryptocurrencies. It is now a versatile and transformative force with applications across diverse industries. Blockchain is reshaping the way we conduct business and interact with technology. Its journey has only begun, and the future holds even more exciting developments as blockchain continues to innovate and redefine industries worldwide.

Unlocking blockchain’s potential: enroll in EBSEDU’s Executive MBA Program

Are you ready to explore the world of blockchain and its myriad possibilities? Consider enrolling in EBSEDU’s Executive MBA in AI and Blockchain, where you can comprehensively understand emerging technologies like blockchain and their applications in various industries. 

Take the first step towards a future powered by blockchain innovation. Reach out to Eaton Business School for more information today.

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