Everyone knows that banking and finance are the main areas that blockchain technology is interrupting. But there are many, many more surprising industries and concerns that this early-days technology will redefine. We have a look at four of them below.
One of the most surprisingly competitive industries these days is the charity sector, or third sector as it is often called. The biggest problem here is wastage. In western cultures, time, effort and money can be distributed unevenly and unthinkingly in charity ventures. Blockchain technology will be able to provide a permanent assessment loop of information that will give insight to make charities more lean and able to give more of the money to the people they want to help.
The charity sector could see a welcome shake up
The other important element is the amount of corruption that happens after the hard-won cash has been handed over to the supposed beneficiaries. Because many of the cultures in the third world have antiquated accounting systems it is easy for corrupt officials to syphon off funds for themselves. A recent Oxfam report suggested that in the worst offending countries up to 50% of funds are being rechanneled and embezzled by criminal individuals and their cronies. Blockchain technology is safe, transparent, decentralized and totally trackable in a granular way. This will have a definite downward pressure effect on corrupt behaviour.
The 2016 Presidential election and the UK EU Remain or Leave vote were two of the most disputed elections of recent times. At the time of writing there are still massive investigations into both democratic events, to establish whether they really were fair, true and uncorrupt.
The investigations are looking into different aspects of the elections, and it is highly probably that blockchain investment could help two of these areas: the financial background to party funding, and secondly the marketing dynamics and digital footprint of the marketing messages each party uses to further their cause with tailored messages.
And finally, the day of elections themselves could be made super transparent and voting totally accountable-for if blockchain technology could produce an invisible but verifiable ledger of all votes. Then vote counting corruption would be a thing of the past, you could place a firm bet on it.
The infamous 2000 US election saw George W Bush’s team of lawyers attack Al Gore’s team of lawyers, who countered with equal ferocity themselves. This was after the stalemate concerning the Florida vote and the grey areas of the few hundred mis-stamped and therefore mis-construable voting slips. This would have never have happened if blockchain-based voting systems had been in place.
Al Gore would have been less shaken up with blockchain voting
The Music Industry.
It seems like only yesterday that fresh faced Justin Bieber was on YouTube as a fourteen year old being offered a recording contract from Usher in the same week he was discovered. It seems like only yesterday that Lily Allen was uploading her kooky-cool songs on MySpace and going viral with millions of hits.
The music industry has recovered from the file-sharing explosion in the early 2000s that nearly led to its demise, but it might be about to face another large disruptive tsunami if the industry insider predictions are true.
However, this time it is not the artists who will suffer, they theoretically should benefit. Blockchain will enable consumers to pay artists directly for their original work and middlemen such as iTunes, Spotify and the newly launched YouTube Music may be completely replaced, or, at the very least, have to be much more transparent about how much they take from artists.
No doubt the tech giants will have to take their cut, but it will be a cut that is commensurate with the effort and support to artists that they put in. The two cutting edge companies to watch are Mycelia and Ujo Music, both of which are growing steady traction. Traditional tech giants may copy their platform models in the future, but it will still all be to the benefit of the artists. This really is shaping up to be one of the most exciting blockchain spaces.
Purchasing property can be a really tiresome experience. Everyone has a story or knows someone who has a story about the arcane, endlessly frustrating world of purchasing property. It doesn’t matter which country you live in, all present systems seem designed to frustrate both buyers and sellers (but mainly buyers of course). Blockchain technology may provide a path to ease that pain.
The endless back and forth between the buyer, seller, financier and title agent and recorder – especially when the buyer and seller are new to the game, and the financier and title agent are trying to maximise their middle man cut – can end up being a multi-level spinning-plate nightmare for participants.
Blockchain technology has the potential to cut through all this by making the ledger of interactions and transactions as clear and transparent as possible. Everyone will know what stages have been completed and everyone will know what stages are in the balance. Even when the lengthening property chain makes things more and more complex, buyers and sellers won’t be beholden to estate agent hearsay and brinksmanship or mortgage provider’s rogue employee incompetence. Everyone will know what stage things are at.
The housing market could be shaken up
The history of transactions will also be recorded on the infallible ledger, so before buyers make an offer they will be on more secure ground knowing they are offering for something that has a solid history, no structural problems and no hidden worries.
If blockchain has a success with real estate, it is obviously going to have ramifications for the legal industry too, the transparency and non-corruptability it offers are too good. This is as long as the anti-hacking security keeps a good pace with the dark forces out there, but the same worries were voiced about the internet, and although it’s always a back and forth battle, normally the forces of good faith manage to stay ahead of the forces of bad faith most of the time.
The future of blockchain is a fascinating area, it feels as though technologists are only just starting to manifest the potential. As long as the wild west phase that has only just begun can be negotiated successfully, there is every reason to think that all the disruptions above will occur, and in many other industries besides.