First conceptualized in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta, Blockchain technology has since evolved into a viable option for transmitting, storing and securing data. Its strength lies in its decentralized nature, upgradability, and network customizability and overall security. Although Blockchain first began as a way to timestamp digital documents to prevent tampering, it has since become the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. However, blockchain’s versatility allows it to be implemented in a variety of fields, such as healthcare, economics and supply chain distribution, boosting their efficiency and Connectivity.

In the field of healthcare blockchain technology could be utilized as a means of securing, storing, sharing medical records. Centralized healthcare systems of today are often slow, expensive, and inefficient due to the involvement of various industries over different networks. These networks are often prone to cyber attacks that target the medical records of patients. On average Healthcare organizations spend $1.4 million on recovery from cybersecurity attacks according to the Radware 2018-2019 Global Application and Network Security Report. Instead of storing patient files on local servers that are expensive to maintain or in the cloud via an outside party, a patient’s medical information could be stored on a blockchain.

This information can be only viewed by the patient, possessing a unique key, or another party (pharmacies, medical providers, insurance agency) using a token to decrypt the information. These measures prevent unauthorized access by hackers. Any additions made to the blockchain would be verified through a peer to peer network, relying on the solving of complex math problems by an individual in a “Proof of Work” system or more recently a “Proof of Stake” system that randomly selects an individual on the said network to verify additions made. Afterward, the ledger shared between the patient and the parties involved would be updated, streamlining the healthcare system.

This ledger allows for seamless interactions between all parties. Healthcare providers will be able to easily access patient information and verify insurance coverage, utilizing smart contracts encoded into the blockchain system. This will enable insurance companies to process claims faster, due to clear communication between healthcare providers and insurance companies. Healthcare patients will benefit from quicker more accurate and verifiable transactions, resulting in decreased queue times. With a streamlined healthcare system, world governments will be better equipped to pass effective healthcare legislation that protects their Citizens.

Blockchain’s potential impact is best exemplified in the field of economics. One example is with the advent of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Etherium. There is a lot of speculation surrounding cryptocurrencies, however, this is a result of their groundbreaking potential, largely due to blockchain technology. The use of cryptocurrencies that rely on blockchain technology to execute and verify transactions has the potential to revolutionize the way individuals exchange currency. Transactions made using blockchain technology bypass the need for third parties such as banks and other financial institutions. Bypassing the constraints of such institutions such as inflation, and exchange rates.

Blockchain technology could also be used in fundraising. Using aspects of blockchain technology such as “smart contracts” when raising money for charity or other project helps prevent the loss of money in administrative costs, which often plague modern fundraising organizations. Once the set monetary goal is reached, the money is automatically sent to where it’s needed via smart contract. Smart contracts will help ensure that charity money gets into the hands of those who need it, while cryptocurrencies give individuals in countries suffering from financial difficulties a viable option for obtaining valuable goods and services.

Transactions made using blockchain-based cryptocurrency are secure and posses pseudonymity meaning that transactions made don’t require personal information, instead utilizing a person’s private key (authorization code) and a public key (“send to address”) to create a digital signature that helps verify and secure transactions decreasing the likely-hood of identity theft as well as other security breaches. However cryptographic transactions can still be traced back to their point of origin by law enforcement in order to monitor illegal activity. Cryptocurrencies also use a peer to peer network to verify transactions. Once a transaction is made, for it to be added to the blockchain it has to be verified through the solving of complex math problems. Once verified the block is added to everyone’s ledger on the network, preventing control of the network by one party promoting democracy by giving everyone a fair share in the system.

Implementing blockchain technology in the field of economics will give the world means of completing monetary transactions as well as raising funds quickly and securely across various nations between different individuals in a non-wasteful way. This will save vast amounts of money over time and help make goods and services more accessible to a wider volume of people.

In the same way blockchain technology can be used to connect various individuals in different locations, it can also be used in supply chain distribution, allowing for transparent and a more cost-effective way of transporting goods in found various locations. Companies such as IBM are developing ways to implement blockchain technology into supply chain distribution. Blockchain technology allows for consumers and industry retailers to trace the origin of goods. Traditional methods of tracing goods are lengthy and ineffective due to scattered ledgers, contracts and proof of landings that do not concur with one another.

With blockchain technology, one verifiable ledger would be shared amongst consumers, suppliers, and distributors regarding specifics goods such as fruit or electronics. Information about the source and condition of goods would be contained on said ledger allowing for faster tracking and recalls of defective or harmful products. Also, smart contracts could be encoded into the ledger as a means of halting the distribution process if requirements were not met in regards to quality or amount. With increased transparency and connectivity between consumers and suppliers, comes increased efficiency and overall more trust. Implementing blockchain technology into supply chain distribution will give consumers peace of mind, distributors increased organization and health officials an easier way to track and prevent the spread of harm due to faulty or contaminated goods.

The potential for blockchain technology to revolutionize the way we store, secure and transmit data is undeniable. Blockchain technology offers a way to streamline the healthcare system, optimize economic trades and organize the distribution of goods. Imagine going to the hospital being certain of the security of your medical records or not having to wait long periods of time before treatment.

Imagine being able to quickly purchase items abroad without having to go through the trouble of converting funds, or being able to invest in a charity assured that the money will get into the hands of those who need it. Imagine being able to see where your food is coming and whether or not the products you buy are safe or are being recalled. This and more is possible through blockchain technology.

Author's Bio: 

I am a computer science professor. Being a tech enthusiast I keep close tabs on trends and will be glad to share and discuss the latest wrapups in the field with the community.