Blockchain is a type of data store that stores anything of digital value. Each new transaction is stored in a block that gets added to a chain of existing records. Blockchain duplicates data across an open network so that all parties in that network get the update and ensure overall transparency. The technology behind blockchain has been present since the 90s. Bitcoin was the first full blockchain implementation.
Earlier attempts to create a digital currency system failed because digital transactions could be copied which allows users to spend money more than once. Bitcoin solved the double spending problem with blockchain’s universal ledger and confirmation processes.
There are several types of blockchain. Most cryptocurrencies started with the bitcoin code base and many use the same blockchain. Even though blockchain was initially explored by financial services industry, the realized potential of the explored technology spread to other industries as well. Few of its applications include:-
When blockchain is used in a healthcare setting, each event in a patient’s care cycle generates a new “block” of information that’s complete, permanent and can’t be modified. Events might be medical record updates, payment transactions or phone calls to a nurse. This type of approach puts control of a patient’s private records in the hands of the patient, as opposed to many health care providers.
Retail and Manufacturing
Complex supply chains and all the items in them can be tracked consistently and securely for all interested parties, including purchasers and regulators
Banks can track any suspicious activity and keep a track of transactions by sharing parts of a blockchain with other. Permissioned blockchains can be used to re-engineer business processes, like moving transactions from front to middle to back office while eliminating the need for data reconciliation.
Blockchain can help coordinate routes and modes of transportation around cities. A blockchain network can work across bus, car, bike, train and other transportation partners to plan the best multimode route for customers, ensuring smooth transitions between vehicles and offering a single payment for users.
Blockchain is being used as a refuge in the face of highly devalued currencies. Bitcoin can offer money management options to 2 billion unbanked people around the world. Blockchain can offer solutions in making payments across countries without high fees.
Validation and privacy being the core features of blockchain technology, anticipated blockchain implementations in the insurance industry also include smart contracts and smart claims processing. A private blockchain implementation can reduce fraudulent claims and allow all parties to view accurate claim updates simultaneously.
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