By now you have probably heard something about the technology that has been taking the world by storm. Blockchain tech is a fairly simple idea, but it has had quite a big impact.
It represents the internet as it was originally intended to be – a free zone, managed by the users and without a central controlling authority. Despite everything that we “know” about securing data online, this system is more secure. A recent infographic crafted by the bitfortune team shows us that this superior security can be applied to many different industries and sectors, such as healthcare, supply chain management and even voting.
Think of it as a beehive, without a queen bee. When the bees have honey to store, they build cells. Each cell is built on the foundation of the one before it. You cannot remove a section of the comb without destroying its structure, and the contents of the cells can be seen by all.
That’s a very simplistic analogy, but an apt one. Blockchain tech works the same way. Every piece of data is added to a new block. This block is indelibly linked to the one before it. You cannot remove any block without destroying the entire chain.
It is this permanency that is one of the primary reasons that the tech is taking off in the way that it has. Imagine it for yourself – with any network based on the tech, the data would be permanently recorded and open for view by authorized members.
This could have some real advantages for you and it’s only one of the 16 blockchain disruptions you’ll find in the infographic. Say, for example, you wanted to try your hand at a spot of gambling. Currently, your best bet is to look at reviews of online betting websites to find the best bet.
But, with blockchain tech, you could go a step further – check out the reviews, and also a history of payouts, etc. It would all be recorded there, and you could go back as far as you wanted to. This transparency is a great way to keep companies honest.
And, of course, though we have given the example of online gambling, there are plenty of other potential uses for the tech as well. It could be used to maintain the chain of evidence in a criminal case, or be used as a way to confirm the supply line for goods.
One potential application is in the healthcare industry. Imagine if every prescription filled was added to a registry that could be accessed by authorized pharmacists and doctors. This could help to curb the abuse of prescription and scheduled medicines, because it would make it impossible for people to visit a few different doctors and pharmacies to get prescriptions filled.
There are a lot of potential applications. But, are all of them going to be good? There is no doubt that the benefits far outweigh the potential downsides here, but let’s play devil’s advocate for a second.
Let’s say that the system is implemented by the police, or by credit bureaus. That would mean that if you were arrested at any time, or if you hit a bad patch in your credit history, it would be permanently on your record.
Now, while this is no doubt a good thing when it comes to habitual offenders, what effect does it have on the person that makes a once-off mistake? Will her past keep coming back to haunt her? Could companies use it as a reason to deny employment, or charge higher interest rates, for example?
So, there are advantages and disadvantages to the system. Overall, the good should outweigh the bad, but it will be interesting to see what treatment these issues receive going forward.
Infographic Source: BitFortune.net