By Jeremiah Owyang and Jaimy Szymanski
Blockchain technology has the potential to upend the way every industry manages its information and data, not only financial services.
Imagine being able to track shipments through your supply chain with ease, down to the individual package or even component level. Or, executing a contract with a vendor without the need for an intermediary auditor. Blockchain can even help verify materials and food sourcing to ensure health and ethical standards are maintained.
Though most who are familiar with the technology equate it to Bitcoin, opportunities abound in other verticals in effectively storing transaction, customer, and supplier data in a transparent, unchangeable ledger online. Any relationship that depends on third-party maintenance, or those that require multiple data sources to fulfill customer expectations for cohesive experiences, can be improved by blockchain applications.
In the latest Catalyst Companies market projection report, “The Business Models of Blockchain” (available to our innovation council members only), we explore how blockchain technology enables transparency and accountability of assets in every industry through shared, immutable ledgers. These impacts are outlined at a high level in the infographic below. (Click here or on the image for the hi-res version to share with your networks.)
The potential industry disruptions included in the infographic are:
Legal: “Smart contracts” stored on the blockchain track contract parties, terms, transfer of ownership, and delivery of goods or services without the need for legal intervention.
Supply Chain: By utilizing a distributed ledger, companies within a supply chain gain transparency into shipment tracking, deliveries, and progress among other suppliers where no inherent trust exists.
Government: Blockchain offers promise as a technology to store personal identity information, criminal backgrounds, and “e-citizenship,” authorized by biometrics.
Energy: Decentralized energy transfer and distribution are possible via micro-transactions of data sent to blockchain, validated, and re-dispersed to the grid while securing payment to the submitter.
Food: Using blockchain to store food supply chain data offers enhanced traceability of product origin, batching, processing, expiration, storage temperatures, and shipping.
Retail: Secure P2P marketplaces can track P2P retail transactions, with product information, shipment, and bills of lading input on the blockchain, and payments made via Bitcoin.
Healthcare: Electronic medical records stored in a blockchain, accessed and updated via biometrics, allow for the democratization of patient data and alleviate the burden of transferring records among providers.
Insurance: When autonomous vehicles and other smart devices communicate status updates with insurance providers via the blockchain, premium costs decrease as the need for auditing and authenticating data vanishes.
Travel and Hospitality: Passengers store their authenticated “single travel ID” on the blockchain for use in lieu of travel documents, identification cards, loyalty program IDs, and payment data.
Education: Educational institutions could utilize the blockchain to store credentialing data around assessments, degrees, and transcripts.
As part of our research coverage on disruptive technologies, blockchain aligns with our prior research on the Collaborative Economy, where technologies strengthen P2P relationships to bypass central institutions. Additionally, blockchain technologies will be harnessed by autonomous technologies, enabling machine-to-machine transactions.
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