Blockchain technology is advancing at an exponential pace. Tens of thousands of the world’s smartest minds are using the technology to decentralise industries from banking to agriculture.
These industries continue to suffer from the inefficiencies of a centralised architecture which results in higher fees, lower security and less efficiency. Since the genesis of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008, blockchain has proved itself as a viable technology to decentralise every industry, resulting in micro fees, state-of-the-art security and lightning efficiency.
This once-in-a-lifetime breakthrough in decentralised technology has the potential to transform the 4,000-year-old banking industry. Blockchain is revolutionising banking by providing a digitised, secure and tamper-proof platform for transacting value without a centralised authority.
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OmiseGo – is a blockchain start-up aiming to provide affordable, scalable and secure banking to the world’s two billion unbanked population.
Ripple – is a blockchain start-up aiming to provide a decentralised payment infrastructure for the world’s banks, payment providers, exchanges and corporations.
2. Raising capital
The barriers to raising capital have been nearly eliminated, with the ICO framework bringing unprecedented levels of accessibility to the process of capital raising for a new business.
Until very recently, businesses have had no choice but to undergo complex and bureaucratic processes with traditional lenders. These agents have required start-ups to meet strict criteria and unrealistic collateral, resulting in a painfully slow procedure and harsh repayment terms.
The model of the ICO is completely streamlined in comparison, enabling businesses to crowdfund their projects from scratch. Founders can rally support organically, easily presenting their vision to the online community with little or no marketing costs. This is a vastly quicker, more seamless process of raising capital that significantly lowers the barriers to entry for emerging projects.
Blockchain technology will continue to vitalise the agriculture sector, offering transparent means to understand, identify and record the source of produce and its journey. Farmers, consumers and food retailers all benefit from the implementation of blockchain: farmers are guaranteed fair payment, consumers know the origin of their food, and retailers can be assured of the legitimacy of their purchase.
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Products can no longer be misrepresented, and prices no longer gouged. Blockchain ecosystems ensure that every step of a product’s journey is immutably recorded, enabling the instant confirmation of its price or origin at any stage of the process.
Blockchain will further revolutionise the logistics of farming itself, with a wide range of “smart farm technology” already creating superior infrastructure. Real-time SMS alerts, incorruptible weather data and machinery protocols are but a few of the components making farming infinitely more efficient and precise. FarmShare, Filament and Skuchain are noted companies realising the application of blockchain in agriculture.
4. Supply chain management
An effective logistics operation depends on transparency and accessibility, yet the industry’s current infrastructure fundamentally lacks both of these. Shipments are regularly misplaced, delayed, and damaged, and the lack of transparency is a breeding ground for corruption.
Blockchain’s unalterable, incorruptible nature restores traceability and transparency to supply chain management. All activities will be updated in real-time on an immutable ledger, where all participants can identify the status of an asset.
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This process erases the need for cumbersome paperwork, eliminates fraud, and enables the faster identification of errors and issues. Both on a local and global scale, a blockchain-based supply chain is infinitely more robust, effective, and efficient: increasing scalability, enhancing transparency, and improving security.
These benefits can no longer be overlooked and have already been noticed by the industry giants; with IBM just announcing a partnership with Maersk in a joint venture to create “digitised global trade” through blockchain technology.
5. Artificial intelligence
Both blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) are at the cutting edge of technological innovation, yet the enormous potential of their intersection is only just being realised. AI is rapidly becoming a part of our everyday lives, being used in agriculture, the medical industry, manufacturing, transport and nearly every context imaginable.
In spite of the vast benefits the technology may bring, there are a number of known risks, concerns and limitations that are holding back AI from mass application. When the likes of cars, aeroplanes, weapons systems and medical devices are controlled by AI, the potential for catastrophic error or loss of human life is a valid risk. Furthermore, the very ‘intelligence’ and security of AI is entirely dependent on the system’s ability to access quality data.
With this in mind, the trustworthiness and security of blockchains infinitely increases the effectiveness of AI as it is granted more accurate data, models and actions. This increases artificial trust as bots communicate using shared, secure access to data- helping them make decisions cooperatively and reaching consensus faster. Last, smart contract technology can be used to ensure AI can only perform certain actions, significantly decreasing the likelihood of catastrophe.
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Take AIDoctor, a protocol that proactively monitors, diagnoses and predicts a patient’s condition based on blockchain data. The effectiveness of the AI doctor is entirely enabled by its access to highly accurate, unalterable medical data recorded in real-time on a tamper-proof blockchain.
For the first time, patients will have unlimited access to their own highly effective, personalised digital doctor. This is but one example of how this intersection of technologies will revolutionise human existence.
While the convergence of AI and blockchain is largely uncharted territory, the technologies can be used to augment each other infinitely, mutually increasing accuracy, trust, efficiency, accessibility and transparency. Through blockchain, AI will become a trustworthy and valued tool that enhances human life.
Blockchain technology is changing the world at a rapid pace. With its arrival in 2008 after the advent of Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper, the technology has been met with immense demand both for development and commercialisation.
Over the coming ten years industries across banking, agriculture, supply chain management and data companies will leverage the blockchain to improve efficiency.
Sourced by Kingsley Advani is an investment analyst specialising in blockchain research, cryptocurrency and personal finance. As an angel investor, Kingsley is passionate about early stage blockchains and has focused on deep analysis across cutting edge blockchains such as Zilliqua, NEO and Ethereum