How Blockchain can change our lives
Our expert's opinion
"Blockchain has been a buzz word throughout 2017. It is almost a natural reflex for most people to relate Blockchain technology to Bitcoin, while in reality Blockchain has a lot of different possible applications.
If we take voting as an example, every voting session - in theory - could be manipulated because of the central collection of the votes. Having a decentralised authentication of transactions without the data having to be confirmed by a central authority, would guarantee the impossibility of fraud.
Also, in development aid Blockchain technology could come to the rescue of a lot of people's lives. We saw a real-life example last year in a UN World food programme pilot project where Syrian refugees received allowance in cryptocurrency. They could pay their necessities by simply having their iris scanned.
I am sure we will see many companies looking into Blockchain and its applications the next couple of years."
- Matthias Van den Bempt, Senior Associate
Blockchain: so much bigger than bitcoin…
From voting to healthcare, music to energy production, blockchain may just change the way we run our lives.
A blockchain allows the authentication of transactions without them needing to be administered or guaranteed by a central authority. Ballot boxes and current online voting platforms are vulnerable to manipulation; now a startup called Follow My Vote is developing a blockchain-based system to ensure security, transparency and mathematically accurate election results.
Applied to power generation, blockchain enables homeowners to sell back energy to the grid without going via an energy provider or manage their own microgrids that are independent from the established system. Lo3Energy runs a project in Brooklyn, New York, where homeowners can buy and sell energy they have generated with rooftop solar panels. The blockchain allows them to set their own price – and to do so without a price-setting, commission-taking intermediary.
Just got the hang of Spotify? Prepare to have your listening habits disrupted again by blockchain-based music streaming services. Instead of a service such as Apple Music or Spotify taking a cut, a blockchain system called Voise is enabling artists to set a price of which they receive 100% when a user streams their music.
A patient’s medical records are often scattered between GPs, clinics and labs. A blockchain-based health record could be read and updated from multiple locations or services and would contain a note of who made each addition to the record. The patient can opt to take charge of the data and choose whom to share it with. At MIT, researchers are developing such a system, called MedRec, that will integrate with current healthcare computer set-ups.
In 2012, the then secretary-general of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, estimated that 30% of development aid was lost to corruption. The UN has a number of blockchain-based projects looking to solve issues in delivering aid. Last year, in a UN world food programme pilot project, Syrian refugees in a Jordan camp were given an allowance in cryptocurrency. When making purchases at the camp supermarket, their identities were authenticated by iris scans and their spending deducted from their allowance. This cuts down on transaction fees for the UN and reduces the frequency of fraud and theft.
Source: The Guardian
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