Blockchain technology has been around since 2008.
Today, the 10-year-old technology is making digital transformation an achievable reality, as it now applies to any industry where things of value are exchanged.
The technology provides security through distribution and decentralization, on a worldwide scale, ensuring that no party in the blockchain system can modify the data.
It offers a transparent digital ledger, without a trusted third party.
Data entered cannot be modified (and therefore cannot be falsified), and other users in the chain must validate any new data.
The possibilities are far-reaching, and it's becoming used in commercial applications far beyond the financial sector.
Let's discover four domains where blockchain technology is being implemented.
1. Smart cities
The success of truly smart cities lies in their digital framework, and blockchain can provide the infrastructure required for transaction management, offering transparency and security at the same time.
People – and places – are starting to realize this.
The city of Dubai has laid out plans to become the first blockchain-powered city by 2021, in a collaboration between the Smart Dubai Office and the Dubai Future Foundation.
Blockchain technology will turn document processing paperless, saving US$ 1.5 billion (5.5 billion dirhams) annually, as well as streamlining and improving the security of transactions in the booming Dubai real-estate sector.
And in Atlanta, USA, Augury Square is a 30-acre project headed by the Hancom Group that will incorporate blockchain technology and cryptocurrency as the basis for developing a truly smart city.
2. Digital IDs
Bermuda is in the first phase of its electronic ID program: the Perseid e-ID Project.
Citizens' records are encrypted with blockchain technology, which also helps coordinate the secure access of participants, including enterprises, services, and citizens.
Blockchain technology is ideal for supporting digital transactions that are based on trusted and verified identities, without exposing sensitive data to the threat of hacking and cyber-attack.
Bermuda's Prime Minister David Burt has said it is "reducing the burdens of compliance while exceeding global regulatory standards and expectations."
The benefits of digital identity are manifold.
3. The IoT
A key benefit of integrating blockchain technology into applying the Internet of Things (IoT) is its decentralization.
Take smart appliances: by storing data about the user and their home in a blockchain system rather than a centralized server or cloud-based storage solution, data becomes more secure. It enables smart devices to act autonomously in a variety of transactions.
By stepping away from distributed networks and by smart appliances becoming autonomous and therefore operating at their most economical, blockchain makes the IoT much more affordable, too.
4. Freight management at ports
Today's supply chain management tends to be overly complex, spanning multiple phases, locations, freights, trucking, and, crucially, payment stages.
In these systems, there are many use cases for distributed ledger technology that can simplify the process by making the system's clients the guarantor of traceability and data reliability.
This is happening at the Port of Marseille Fos, where the MGI's Cargo Community System, the data from multiple sources including shippers, customs authorities, and port agents, uses blockchain to securely link these clients together in a chain of digital trust.
So blockchain is about more than just banks and cryptocurrency. It's helping businesses, bringing efficiency, and establishing trust.