While news of Bitcoin and all things crypto dominate the financial news headlines, there is also a silent revolution that is overtaking every facet of the business community. No matter where you look, there are new initiatives that are capitalizing on the heavily touted benefits of blockchain technology. Consulting firms have told us that billions of dollars are being invested each year in these new projects, while futurists inform us that the use of blockchain concepts in five to ten years will be as ubiquitous as the Internet.
How does one go about assessing the degree that blockchain is infiltrating the back channels of global commerce? There have been various reports from time to time that present anecdotal evidence of the pervasiveness of this new technology. One recent example was the new “Top 50” list of corporations active in this space, published by Forbes. Back in April, we reported on “Blockchain’s Billion Dollar Babies.”
At that time we also reported that Forbes had noted that:
According to International Data Corp, total corporate and government spending on blockchain should hit $2.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 89% over the previous year, and reach $12.4 billion by 2022. When PwC surveyed 600 execs last year, 84% said their companies are involved with blockchain.
Another way to measure the activity in blockchain development projects is to review data from the hiring community. A revealing report from Hired, a job hiring and posting website, analyzed over 100,000 jobseekers and listings from 10,000 companies to produce the following graphic in its press release:
The depiction is even more compelling, when you realize that it is not drawn to scale, but the fact remains that the demand for blockchain skills increased 517% in one year. Per Mehul Patel, CEO of Hired:
The growth in demand for blockchain skills has gone through the roof and tops anything I have ever seen. It’s staggering growth.
Starting salaries average $125,000 in the U.S., $90,000 in the UK, and $65,000 in Paris.
If you continue your investigation of recent articles from a variety of business sectors, then the picture becomes just as “staggering”. As another point in fact, the World Economic Forum has predicted that “10% of global GDP will be stored on the blockchain by 2025”. No matter which industry or area of government you choose, there are stories of blockchain efficiencies coming to bear on legacy-based systems.
In alphabetical order, here are just a few brief summaries of twenty industries where the world is transforming with the aid of blockchain technology:
- Advertising: The New York Interactive Advertising Exchange is teaming up with the Nasdaq to develop a “marketplace where brands, publishers and agencies can buy ads”, made simple and secure by an Ethereum blockchain protocol;
- Border Control: The Dutch Government is working with Essentia to simplify the vetting process for passengers traveling on Eurostar trains from Amsterdam to London. Multiple checks would be replaced by one secure blockchain file;
- Computation: Amazon Web Services is teaming up with Digital Currency Group (DCG) to improve upon the security of its database of private and personal information with the help of blockchain.
- Diamonds: The De Beers Group recognized the amazing fit of blockchain recordkeeping techniques and already has developed a system for tracking the complete history of a gem stone from source through final distribution;
- Energy Distribution: Essentia is collaborating with a number of major energy suppliers to refine the details and accounting of sharing resources, excess supplies, and allocations in real time in a secure and confidential manner;
- Fine Art: As in the diamond trade, the authenticity and history of ownership is constantly an issue. Blockchain techniques are once again a perfect fit and also aid in vetting exchanges without having to transfer the actual art piece;
- Fishing Industry: How do you prevent the sale and distribution of illegally caught fish? Blockchain ledgers can now maintain and be used “to support sustainable fishing”. Inspectors need only verify “net-to-plate” histories for auditing purposes;
- Gaming: Ethereum-based blochchain protocols have already been utilized to track in-game rewards and digital collectibles. Ubisoft, a leader in the industry, is also investigating how to incorporate blockchain in its base of video games;
- Government: Government agencies have a continual problem with maintaining public records. A decentralized data management framework could provide direct benefits. Finland is just one of the countries looking for advantages in this area;
- Healthcare: Sharing medical records can be extremely cumbersome and difficult to coordinate. Blockchain can simplify the process while improving authentication and securely maintaining confidentiality;
- Insurance: IBM has been working with many leaders in the insurance industry to implement a beneficial form of the “smart contract” feature of blockchain protocols;
- Journalism: Archiving historical data on a specific topic that is relevant and can easily be traced as to its origins is an issue of “permanence” in the journalism trade. The blockchain is tailor made as a solution for this challenge;
- Medical: Hospitals today employ large centralized databases of medical records maintained by as many as fifty different EMR software systems, which have been targets of ransomware attacks. Interfaces can be problematic and limit access to crucial data, such that a decentralized approach, i.e., blockchain, makes sense;
- Music: The music industry is comprised of several levels and middlemen than confound the compensation process for the actual musicians. Several blockchain projects are underway to add fairness to the process;
- National Security: The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been working since 2016 to securely store the data it collects from security cameras and other sensors. The blockchain encrypts and stores the data securely;
- Oil Industry: Global Platts, a leading player in the oil commodity market, maintains oil storage records from a multitude of data sources. The blockchain can eliminate many manual processes and data entry errors;
- Public Utilities: Australian and Chilean utility companies have discovered innovative ways of tracking energy and water creation activities, and then certifying various usage patterns to help modernize current infrastructure;
- Real Estate: The Ukraine may be one of the initial users of “smart contracts” on a blockchain platform to complete real estate deals. Propy, a startup specializing in blockchain-based real estate deals, has done several deals via Ethereum;
- Tourism: Officials in Hawaii are researching blockchain techniques for ways to expand the use of cryptos in the state on a retail basis, since a major source of tourism is Asia where cryptos are prevalent among consumers that travel;
- Waste Management: Walton’s blockchain solutions are being deployed in China by the Smart Waste Management System. The system will bring efficiencies to the use of resources and operations, while monitoring waste levels closely.
This partial list is by no means complete. It is only a scratch on the surface of the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Today, you can already close your eyes and throw a dart at a stock exchange listing to find either an ongoing benefit from a live implementation of blockchain or a project in process that promises to bring efficiencies, security, and lower costs to an outdated process that has been a part of global and domestic commerce for decades. The more blockchain spreads, the greater the awareness of all things crypto.