At this point, most of those who have heard of the word blockchain, understand what it means and what the technology can do. There are plenty of companies which continue to study the potential of blockchain in disrupting old-fashioned and mainstream industry sectors. Don Tapscott defines blockchain as an open-source distributed database using state-of-the-art cryptography. Basically, this database is cryptographically verified, and any changes made is reflected across the whole network, making it transparent to everyone. The blockchain technology is known to make processes more efficient, transparent, cheaper and quicker because it utilises smart contracts, which automates manual processes, thus removing unnecessary middlemen from traditionally complex tasks e.g. buying a house or sending money abroad. It is apparent that the blockchain technology can bring about great change, once its potential has been fully understood. Blockchain has proven to be useful in revolutionizing the way things are authenticated in any system, regardless of the industry it is working in. Here is a list of ways in which blockchain has been used to develop applications to help the world:
What most people do not know is where their food is coming from, the process it went through until it reached the shelves. Was it genetically engineered or 100% organic? People today are increasingly concerned about understanding the food they eat, where it originates from when it was harvested, product shelf life, ingredients used, etc. Platforms like Provenance track the journey of fresh produce from the source to the shop in real time. This is possible with a unique ID that allows the tracking of each good and, with that ID, people can check the digital history, as well as the verified claims made by a company, enriched with content from along the supply chain. Using blockchain to track products to their sources means greater levels of food safety and authenticity.
A research by Stanford Business has identified dozens of new ideas for how to use the blockchain technology for social impact. That same study concluded that blockchain enables solutions not previously possible, as shown in the figure below. For instance, for decades now Waqf has not been able to deliver the same results it once did, like during the period of the Ottoman Empire. Experts believe the glory days of Waqf can be revived with blockchain platforms like WAQF Chain, a blockchain solution supporting the growth of Islamic Social Finance and fundraising of Waqf assets, which addresses key issues around transparency, inefficiency and liquidity. With donors today becoming more focused on the results and impact of their contributions, trust in the NGO is crucial to their decision-making.
In the healthcare sector, important patient data and information remains scattered across different departments and systems. Due to this, crucial data is not accessible and easily available at the time of need. Patientory Inc., a blockchain startup providing personal healthcare solution to manage and transfer their health data, is encouraging people to take charge of their own health. They connect doctors, care providers, and consumers all within a single, secure blockchain system, forming a team that works together to provide the best care. The health sector has attracted more initiatives than any other sector at 25%, followed by financial inclusion; energy, climate and environment; and philanthropy, aid, and donors.
Blockchain truly offers immense possibilities and ways in which it can improve the lives of people. It is a technology which not only offers transparency and security, but it can also be applied in multiple other aspects of daily lives which includes education, financial inclusion, land rights, wills management, agriculture, voting, environment, energy and numerous other applications. Global organisations have already begun the process of implementing blockchain-based solutions such as the WAQF Chain into their daily operational processes to ensure better efficiency while at the same time making a positive impact on the world.