Beyond Cryptocurrency: How Blockchain Technology is Transforming Business Beyond Cryptocurrency: How Blockchain Technology is Transforming Business While Cryptocurrency has been busy hogging the spotlight, there are major transformations happening in all areas of business that are now possible thanks to blockchain technology, the platform the currency is built on. You just haven’t heard about them – yet. “I’ve been looking for blockchain my whole life,” stated Loudon Owen, Chair and CEO of DLT Labs, a global leader in enterprise blockchain solutions. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is starting to change the world in ways that may transform us more than we experienced with the introduction of the internet. To understand why Owen and many other companies and individuals are so excited about blockchain technology, it helps to get a sense of what the technology is and what it can do. Blockchain is solving issues around managing data, transparency, openness, trust, fraud, and even consent. It’s already disrupting financial industries, supply chains, fashion, food, dating, to our voting process. Blockchain offers a major breakthrough due to its decentralized approach to verifying changes in valuable information, thereby tackling the age-old problem of trust, especially in today’s current concerns over the security of valuable information, both personal, corporate and governmental. Blockchain is solving issues around managing data, transparency, openness, trust, fraud, and even consent. The technology allows digital information to be distributed but not copied, creating the backbone of a new type of internet. It uses a distributed ledger (also called a shared ledger, or distributed ledger technology, DLT), which is a consensus of shared, replicated and synchronized digital data that is geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, or institutions. There is no central administrator or centralized data storage. One-way blockchain helps ensure trust and transparency, is that the technology allows for two-way access. It also uses two–factor authentication to further increase security for users. Blockchain Technology Is Transforming Business While Eradicating Fake Louis Vuittons Counterfeiting hurts consumers, who unknowingly pay designer prices for cheap fake fashion items. It also harms designers and manufacturers; it is estimated that there is currently $1.7 Trillion worth of counterfeit goods circulating around the world. While solutions to stem counterfeiting have been tried before, there has always been the possibility to game the results, or hack the records, at various junctures along the way. Current solutions have also been expensive and lacked efficiency. Armed with your smartphone, you can now scan products that are blockchain enabled to verify their authenticity. As an example, DasCoin, a blockchain-based currency, is working with designer Julien Fournié to create an auditable, traceable and efficient solution for sharing and protecting his designs and authenticating final products based on blockchain technology. Anyone who has used an online dating platform or app has come across fake profiles; everything from misrepresenting age, photo, profession to marital status. This will offer the designer a sense of security around their intellectual property and supply chain, and the ability to set data permission[s] to allow consumers to check the provenance of an item at retail. Redefining Consent Another issue that has dominated the news this year is consent. Lying alone in a hotel room, her roommate out on a Tinder date (clearly not coming home), Adryenn Ashley realized there were no apps to solve the problem of quality hookups. Ashley, who has been named the #20 most influential person in blockchain according to Richtopia, believes blockchain can disrupt the dating industry, and eliminate the question of whether a sexual encounter occurred with consent from both parties. Her dating platform Loly, is the first of its kind to be built on artificial intelligence and blockchain and is poised to be a game changer in the dating industry. It uses blockchain to log consent and protects both parties clearly by registering consent before and after a liaison. It also uses advanced cryptography, to separate your personal sexual preference data from your personally identifiable data. “One of the major problems with dating apps currently is that many users don’t get quality matches, which are most times based only on photos, or because of a profile that doesn’t accurately show who the person is,” explains Ashley. Anyone who has used an online dating platform or app has come across fake profiles; everything from misrepresenting age, photo, profession to marital status. The security and transparency of blockchain, coupled with the ability to control access, and how much access a third party has to our personal data, is a game changer. Loly aims to fix what doesn’t work in dating, to help people connect in real life faster and more compatibility. Securing Your Personal Data From FaceBook to Equifax, large corporations have had data breaches that have compromised our personal information. Those are instances that made the news; there may be other times where our data has been exposed that we are not even aware of, leaving us vulnerable to identity theft and other situations beyond our control. This can involve personal health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets or intellectual property. Blockchain uses distributed ledger technology to offer a more efficient and trustworthy way to store information in a decentralized way for people and companies. This creates a new and secure way to manage identity in the digital world that avoids exposing users to sharing too much vulnerable personal information. “Large corporations like Equifax that centrally store their data are a large target for hackers and any lapse in their security measures will inevitably at some point lead to a breach,” explains Yo Sub Kwon, CEO of Hosho Group. a leading cybersecurity company that audits smart contracts and helps blockchain companies ensure that their code behaves as intended.” “Decentralizing data prevents large singular breaches from being possible,” Kwon remarks. “Blockchain technology, when decentralized, can allow for the permanent and unalterable storage of data that was probably added at a specific point in time. What blockchain technology offers is a path for replacement of companies like Equifax that accomplish the same goal transparently.” Selling your personal data is big business; it’s at the core of Equifax’s, Facebook’s and numerous businesses. It is possible that in the future, with the use of blockchain, that you maintain ownership of your data, and can choose whether to sell it to interested parties while maintaining control over whether you share your identity or anonymize your data. Tracking Your Food Back to The Grower From lettuce recalls to the lack of transparency around ingredients and production methods, consumers have justified concerns about the food supply. In the same way that blockchain can be used to create records in the fashion industry, it can be used to trace a product’s origin back to the source, offering indisputable supply chain tracking. An organic pineapple tagged with blockchain can be scanned to reveal all details from the specific grower and their location, when/if a plant was last sprayed with pesticides, where it was stored, for how long, etc. With blockchain technology, everything is now happening in real-time and in a distributed, accountable, trustworthy manner. This includes any ethical concerns, food storage records, eliminating tampering and keeping retailers appraised of supply chain status. As an example. the real-time capability of blockchain can inform a retailer that something has happened on the farm, and the tomatoes he ordered won’t be arriving. He can then place a new order to make sure his customer has tomatoes. Blockchain is ideally suited to keep audit and supply chain records for certifications like fair trade or organically produced items, offering additional trust and transparency by allowing consumers to access the records of a food’s journey from farm to retail or farm to table themselves, and not have to rely on the grower or retailer’s say so. “Some interesting use cases that currently exist in the blockchain space are being able to hold elections where all votes are counted fairly and can be easily audited, define permissions to access sensitive healthcare data between all involved parties such as insurance providers or doctors using smart contracts, playing games with provably fair algorithms, and indisputable supply chain tracking,” explained Kwon. Hate those banking fees where you get charged to access your own money? Blockchain can eliminate the middleman, which is one of the appeals of cryptocurrency. There is no bank or entity to impose or collect fees with cryptocurrency, as well as other blockchain applications when there is no middleman. There is no bank, credit card company or ATM owner to extract a fee, simply because they can as the middleman in your transaction. This capability alone has the power to transform business exponentially, offer consumers greater control than ever over their purchases while saving them more money by allowing them direct access to services and sellers. Owen went on to say, “Anywhere where there’s something where there could be human error or people cheat. Blockchain is more efficient at fixing the problem.” You’ll Also Love… » Should You Invest In Crypto? » Deconstructing AI’s Gender Bias » Sexism Remains a Barrier in Tech Jane Tabachnick Jane Tabachnick is a writer and book publisher. Named one of the Top 100 People Online by FastCompany, she is the founder of Simply Good Press, a publishing company that works with experts and thought leaders to help them reach wider audiences via book authorship and publicity.