Blockchain technology is most widely known for powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin but it's transparent, reliable and decentralised nature makes it a forerunner to power other technologies. In this article, I am going to look at three examples of how blockchain can revolutionise technology and business.
Blockchain could find itself surfacing in the world of energy, specifically green energy. Instead of consumers buying energy directly from energy companies, they could find themselves buying the power they need from their neighbours (who have surplus energy from solar cells). Blockchain would mean energy companies do not need to be involved at all; each neighbour or 'peer' can set their own price for their surplus energy and buy energy at a rate they are happy with. With solar cell technology certain to improve in the future, this application for Blockchain could become mainstream in as little as ten years.
Finacial and contract fraud is on the increase with no signs of declining anytime soon, but could Blockchain hold the answer to combating fraudulent activities? A possible setup for contracts could involve each party involved in the contract (and therefore in the Blockchain) being required to ratify any changes. Therefore any change in the contract or the agreed terms can only be made with other participants in the Blockchain consenting to it. The decentralised nature of Blockchain also means that it is impossible (by which I mean very difficult) to covertly change data in the Blockchain without undermining its integrity. This protection against tampering, deletion and other unauthorised activity makes Blockchain technology an ideal candidate for fraud prevention.
The internet of things (IoT) is one example where IT security is currently lacking. The epidemic of botnet toasters and spying virtual assistants could lead the way for Blockchain to inject some of its security magic. Each IoT device in itself generally has inadequate security to prevent hijacking but by introducing a network-wide Blockchain manager, a secure system can be created. Each IoT device can use the blockchain to create a policy about what is normal behaviour and what constitutes suspicious behaviour. If one device is compromised then it is unable to change this policy by itself as the other devices will not agree. The network of devices can then quarantine the infected device and report the issue to its owner.
Each device on the network can also utilise Blockchain to prevent malicious activity on its data. As each update and deletion of data is recorded and replicated, the otherwise single point of failure that leaves IoT devices vulnerable is removed.