Blockchain – what’s the big deal here?

Blockchain’s future is looking bright as it penetrates more industries – other than finance – to realize a more integrated global economy and enhance economic growth. Many of us are still trying to get our heads round what blockchain means, how it works and why we need it in our lives along with AI, VR, Chatbots and more..

Putting it in simple terms, blockchain, is a ledger that records all types of data, including different transactions completed by any individual, upon which an alert is shared, notifying this as having taken place. This ledger is not stored on one server or computer rather on many computers (no limit to how many), all over the world. The beauty of it, is that anyone on the network can have access to the current updated ledger fostering transparency. Who isn’t a supporter of transparency, in the connected world we live in?

In addition to transparency, blockchain technology offers a more secure environment by combining cryptography, with storage and transmission of data in coded form, thus creating a shared ledger of transactions that are ‘trustworthy’ and not controlled by anyone. For governments, public services, and more, blockchain has the potential to create new foundations for both economic and social systems –  by offering a secure, unmodified public record that can be accessed anywhere, anytime with coded keys/encrypted identity authentication.

Beyond the world of finance, where blockchain came to the fore with the birth of Bitcoin, and other virtual currencies, the emerging uses for blockchain technology are exciting with huge potential to increase efficiencies and reduce costs etc..

Just recently, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced a new blockchain strategy for the UAE. This came soon after a commitment from the Dubai government to use blockchain for all government documents by 2020.

HH Sheikh Mohammed explained that the decision to adopt blockchain was aimed at helping the government prepare for future challenges, cut costs considerably, and free up 77 million hours of work, and reduce government documents by an estimated 389 million.

The retail industry can enjoy numerous benefits with the adoption of blockchain as well. Let’s look at logistics for example, with blockchain, retail outlets will be able to better track the movement of different supplies and products both locally and worldwide, with ease, increasing efficiencies, and response time whilst reducing costs.

Opportunities for blockchain use in the healthcare industry are also exciting. Secure and instant sharing of and access to confidential patient medical records, that are updated to provide medical staff and hospitals with latest insights into patient medical history to make informed diagnosis/treatments, is critical. By having the patient’s full medical records on one database and available to doctors, Bitcoin technology will be invaluable. Future developments here will be ground breaking.

In conclusion, blockchain is a work in progress with huge potential. We are in the early stages of working with, and testing this new technology to understand what its capable of doing and the benefits it can offer us. One thing for sure is that we mustn’t view blockchain as a simple distributed database!