Most people have heard the term ‘blockchain’, even if they don’t really understand what it means. Blockchain is the technology that is used to underpin digital currency transactions, for example those with Bitcoin and it keeps track of the thousands of transactions via a ledger.
This ledger can be viewed by anyone and doesn’t just exist in one sole location, but across a whole network. Due to the transparent nature of blockchain it is believed by many that it can be used to help to reduce fraud. An increasing number of companies and individuals are now choosing to use blockchain to conduct their business; and with this comes quite unique ways in which the technology shows its versatility.
One of the more interesting and innovative uses for blockchain seen recently is to secure marriages. Blockchain technology it was discovered can be used to marry couples, especially from different countries. It serves as a unified system to record all ceremonies in a single step on the ledger by creating a decentralised and transparent marriage portal, which is transforming the way people get married and also providing extra security by allowing couples to specify conditions such as pre-nuptial agreements, which are also stored on the blockchain network. Therefore, it may also be useful in the case of divorces as recorded evidence!
Another way that blockchain is being used that wouldn’t automatically spring to mind is to verify the authenticity of merchandise. A start up based in Silicon Valley, California have created a new way to verify the authenticity of high end trainers. Each pair will contain a smart tag with a PKI chip inside that has an encrypted key stored on the Etherum blockchain. It means that buyers will be able to easily know if the trainers they are buying are authentic by scanning the tag with their phone which then allows an app to download information on the trainers from blockchain. It is likely that other high-end manufacturers will start to use similar tracking methods to cut down on the issues of counterfeit products.
The food industry can now also really benefit from blockchain. For producers of food blockchain means that any attempt to tamper with food products as they move through the food chain can be identified and prevented before the food gets to a retailer. Looking at it from the retailer perspective if a potentially dangerous food item ends up in store then the actual item can be removed without having to get rid of large volumes of stock in batches. For food consumers, blockchain means there can be transparency and openness to ensure that the food they purchase and eat is exactly what they think it is. At present it is difficult for consumers to identify high quality food and blockchain will help to enable this moving forwards.
So it is clear that there are many obvious ways that businesses can use blockchain for example to accept payments via bitcoin for retailers. Plus an increasing number of established online businesses, for example mFortune who are known for their Fruit Machine slot, are now having to consider how to benefit from the technology. But it is obvious that blockchain technology can be adapted to enhance almost every industry and/or service; which is truly an exciting time for both the consumer and business.