Why is Blockchain Important more than ever in 2019?

Date: 
May 09, 2019
Read time: 
7 minutes

The media floods us with buzzwords every day. Artificial Intelligence, bio-engineered crops, biometric IDs… Blockchain technology. But it doesn’t tell us why blockchain is important.

If you’re like me, all these buzzwords become a headache. But you’re still curious. And your time is limited, just like mine.

Is blockchain technology worth learning about? Will it make a significant impact on your life? Or is it a waste of time?

My aim in this article is to explain why I believe blockchain is important. I’ll introduce you to many of its use cases amongst various industries so that you can judge by yourself.

The media floods us with buzzwords every day. Artificial Intelligence, bio-engineered crops, biometric IDs… Blockchain technology. But it doesn’t tell us why blockchain is important.

If you’re like me, all these buzzwords become a headache. But you’re still curious. And your time is limited, just like mine.

Is blockchain technology worth learning about? Will it make a significant impact on your life? Or is it a waste of time?

My aim in this article is to explain why I believe blockchain is important. I’ll introduce you to many of its use cases amongst various industries so that you can judge by yourself.

What is Blockchain - in 100 words.

Let’s get on the same page before we dive into the advantages of blockchain and why its impact on the world is significant.

Blockchain was created along with Bitcoin to give power back to the people. But Bitcoin is not blockchain. Bitcoin is built on top of blockchain technology, and so are other cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain technology is used way beyond cryptocurrencies. It has a seemingly endless number of applications in various industries. So, what’s the purpose of blockchain? What is it used for, and why is it needed?

Blockchain is … proof. That’s what blockchain boils down to: proof.

Source: imarticus.org
 

It proves you own something digital. You own 1 Bitcoin. You own digital copies of your health records. You own your vote.

Whatever digital information you have on the blockchain, the blockchain will prove that you own it. No one can pirate it or copy it. It is yours.

 

Why Blockchain -- a Digital Ownership Revolution

The internet gave us the age of information. Blockchain gives us the age of digital ownership. As I mentioned, blockchain is proof. Granted, it is also much more than proof.

Want to know how blockchain works on a technical level? Read our Blockchain 101 guide!

Let’s face it, we live in a digital world. We don’t go to Blockbuster to rent DVDs -- few of us even own DVDs. We have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. We order gifts and things from Amazon and other online retailers. The list goes on. We live in a digital world. Isn’t it the right time to start owning digital data?

Blockchain is essential because it allows us to own digital goods, assets, and data. Here are just a few examples.
 

Own your money on the blockchain.

Money. If you’re privileged enough to live in a developed country, then you can bank online and not worry that your government may devalue your currency. But for people in developing countries, money devaluation due to corruption and financial crisis is a scary reality.

People in Venezuela had their money devalued so much that they started using it to make souvenir wallets for tourists.

Source: dw.com
 

For developing countries experiencing money devaluation due to high inflation -- blockchain gives them Bitcoin, Litecoin, and a few alternative cryptocurrencies that, surprisingly enough, are less volatile than their local fiat currency.

If you’re living in a developed country, you’re probably not worried about this. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be putting your money on a blockchain. If you use Facebook or Whatsapp, you might start putting your money on the blockchain very soon.
 

Improve social media functionalities.

The NY Times reports that: “Facebook, Telegram, and Signal are planning to roll out new cryptocurrencies over the next year.”

The author continues to write that “the most anticipated but secretive project is underway at Facebook. The company is working on a coin that users of WhatsApp, which Facebook owns, could send to friends and family instantly and anywhere in the world using blockchain technology.

Giant Fortune 500 companies are not only exploring blockchain -- they are actively working on using it.
 

Keeping Your ID and Personal Information Secure.

Currently, your healthcare records may be printed on paper. Perhaps they’re also stored on a central server at a hospital. But these records can be hacked, altered or stolen. Maybe this has never happened to you. Count yourself lucky.

A CBS news report showed that “A breach at Anthem Insurance affected 78 million people, and a hack at UCLA Health exposed more than four million patient records.”

Take note: these are not only adult records. The report goes on to list many black market healthcare record sellers, saying “one seller offered children's health records for sale.” And what happens to these records?

“Social Security numbers sell for $1, and credit card info goes for up to $110. But Experian reports full medical records can command up to $1,000 because they're an identity thief's dream: date of birth, place of birth, credit card details, Social Security number, address, and emails.”

Imagine if your identity was stolen, or that of your child. The damage to your financial future or that of your child will be significant.
 

Keep your identity safe.

Blockchain technology is progressing to give you full control of your sensitive digital records -- by helping health providers secure their own records.

A report by Health Care Weekly dives into this. In brief, they show why blockchain is important in healthcare by simply saying that “40 percent of health executives see blockchain as top 5 priorities.

Source: lisk.io
 

One of the priorities is giving you full access to your records. The others are based on the fact that “the adoption of blockchain technology could save the healthcare industry up to $100-$150 billion per year by 2025 in data breach-related costs, IT costs, operations costs, support function costs and personnel costs, and through a reduction in frauds and counterfeit products.”

The last part is important: “a reduction in frauds and counterfeit products.” By saving healthcare providers money in security as well as by making storage efficient, blockchain technology will keep your data safe.

A solid check mark in the reasons why we need blockchain and why it is important.

 

Why Blockchain -- Digital Freedom

Freedom is a fundamental human right. Cash (and bank accounts) can be confiscated, so can gold, artwork, etc.

Listen to this headline: “IRS seizes hundreds of perfectly legal bank accounts, refuses to give money back.”

It sounds like the working of a corrupt 3rd world government. But it isn’t. It’s in the United States.

The article goes on to say that “The Internal Revenue Service has been seizing bank accounts belonging to small businesses and individuals who regularly made deposits of less than $10,000, but broke no laws. And the government is refusing to return all the money taken.”

How can this be? Well, a law labeled Civil Asset Forfeiture, “allows IRS agents to seize property they suspect of being tied to a crime, even if no charges are filed, and their agency is allowed to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.”

Ask yourself: do you truly have freedom if the government can take it away without your consent? Without even filing any formal charges? You check your balance one day, and your money is gone.
 

Why is blockchain required for digital freedom?

The blockchain is useful because it is decentralized.

That’s an important word. It means that no central authority controls it. No central authority can manipulate it.

Source: George Levy YouTube Channel
 

Therefore, if you own your cryptocurrency, information, or other digital data -- and only you have access to it -- then no government or bank or corporation can take it away from you. Not by force. Not by anything. It’s non-confiscatable. Therefore, it’s freedom.

This is one of the most relevant answers to our question ‘why is blockchain important.’ It’s digital freedom in the digital world -- and another solid benefit of blockchain technology.

 

Why Blockchain -- It will Become Part of our Daily Lives.

Is the internet important to you? Let’s run a test.

Unplug your router. Turn off your wifi and put your phone on airplane mode. How long can you go without turning it all back on? My answer is simple: I’m not even going to turn it off in the first place.

When I started wondering about the importance of blockchain technology, the answer was simple: blockchain will become as useful as the internet is, and will become an inseparable part of our daily lives.
 

You’ll put food on the table with Blockchain.

We’ve already covered how Facebook and WhatsApp are implementing blockchain to help its users send money -- money they use to put bread, butter, and beer on the table every day.

These giants of the industry are not the only ones. JPMorgan Chase is creating a coin called JPM Coin, using their own blockchain.

Want to become a blockchain professional?
Blockgeeks can help!

Reuters reports: “When one client sends money to another over the blockchain, JPM Coins are transferred and instantaneously redeemed for the equivalent amount of U.S. dollars, reducing the typical settlement time.”

JPMorgan Chase is the largest U.S. bank. Therefore lots of people, whenever they transfer money to friends, family, or business partners, will use blockchain technology -- without even knowing it -- to help their money put food on the table, faster.
 

You’ll own and enjoy digital goods.

When I was young, I loved collecting things. My friends loved collecting items too.

Forbes reports that the collectibles industry is over $200 billion -- and that blockchain will unlock the “$200 billion collectibles market using elements of blockchain technology.”

Yes, hundreds of thousands of people collect things. Some of these things are outrageously expensive, like a postage stamp that sold for $9.5 million and comic books that are worth $2-3 million.

For myriads of people, collecting is part of their daily lives. If you have even one thing in your home you consider “collectible” -- then you will benefit from blockchain technology.

The technology opens up a whole new world for hobbyists and collectors: the digital world. You can own a rare piece of digital art, a playing card, action figures, digital avatars -- on the blockchain. This is one of the advantages of blockchain that only it can bring.
 

Your mortgage will be on a blockchain.

What’s a more significant part of your daily life than living in your home? You live in it every day. But what if the home you thought you owned, the home you were regularly paying for every month, suddenly went into foreclosure? With a threat from the bank of kicking you out?

CBS News reported that such a nightmare happened to hundreds of people. “Wells Fargo says a computer glitch is partly to blame for an error affecting customers who lost their homes [...] It incorrectly denied 870 loan modification requests. About 60 percent of those homeowners went into foreclosure.”

Another report on Hackernoon shows why blockchain is important for the mortgage industry: its transparency, speed (when compared to the typical mortgage underwriting process), and immutability will secure your home for as long as you own it.

The role of blockchain in this circumstance cannot be highlighted enough.

 

Why Blockchain -- Privacy in the Digital World

Privacy is entirely lacking in our digital world. Your bank knows every cent you earn and spend; it gathers and sells this information to insurance companies and credit agencies -- who then judge you to see if you’re worth advertising to and how.

It’s called Open Banking. The BBC covered this, saying: “Customers of nine of the biggest UK banks have received letters and emails in recent weeks informing them that their information can be shared, securely, with other firms.

Source: medium.com/pdata-token
 

Blockchain was created to regain control of our financial privacy. A few cryptocurrencies are focusing on privacy, like Zcash, Monero, and Beam.

These are built on different blockchains, with different pros and cons -- but it’s blockchain technology that makes them possible, private and trustless. And trustless is only possible because of blockchain’s decentralization.

You can protect your privacy by using these privacy-focused cryptocurrencies. Your bank cannot sell, share, or judge you if they don’t have the data.

Just this week, the privacy coin Beam became an available payment option on Coinpayments. Merchants across the internet can accept Beam payments from people who keep their transactions private.

 

A Horizon of New Possibilities

If you’re still wondering why blockchain is important, here is my final answer: Blockchain is a brand spanking new technology.

New applications and use cases are being developed on top of it every day -- with more unimagined possibilities waiting.

Do you know? Blockchain technology is only one of the many distributed ledger technologies that exist.

When I traveled around the world -- 1 year on 1 Bitcoin -- I could understand first hand the importance of blockchain and how its use cases are increasing each day.

When the internet started to pick up steam in the mid-1990s, no one imagined such wonders as Uber, AirBnB, and Netflix.

Make no mistake -- to people in the 90’s and before, these were wonders. I remember my mom telling me not to talk to strangers on the internet -- and never get in cars with strangers. Now I literally summon strangers from the internet and get in their cars. I stay in strangers homes, never even meeting them -- just picking up a key to their home from under a welcome mat and then dropping it off in their mailbox on my way out.

Who knows where blockchain will bring us? Only the future will tell. But this bright future gives us more reasons to learn about it today.

Posted by R.R. Hauxley

R.R. Hauxley traveled around the world ... 1 year on 1 Bitcoin. 20 countries, 12 months, 1 Bitcoin. He wrote a book about it: Stolen Wallets and Where to Buy Them. Along the way he met and interviewed the sharpest, brightest minds in crypto today: Vitalik Buterin, Charlie Lee, and more. Today Rafael educates the crypto curious and delves further into the incredible world of blockchain.

Comments

Eclature Techno...
Blockchain technology and the crypto-currencies have today become a parallel platform where people have started performing their standard transactions. Anyway, this article is great to lean thanks admin

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