From virtual reality to self-driving cars, there are a number of new and exciting technologies that could significantly change our world. One technology that has immense potential is blockchain. Readers will know blockchain technology in the context of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Stablecoin, but blockchain has a variety of uses that could drive our society to become more decentralized, global, transparent and participatory.
This article will review a few ways blockchain related technology could meaningfully change our world of the next five years. By the year 2023, it’s possible that this decentralized, secure and transparent system of maintaining records could change the way people manage their finances, participate in government, and engage with consumer brands.
Decentralized financial organizations
Today if you want to transfer money you likely need to do so via an electronic check or wire transfer. If you want to dispute your credit score, you need to take it up with one of the three centralized credit bureaus.
The financial world is incredibly centralized today, in fact, a report in CNBC found that five banks control nearly 50 percent of the industry’s total assets. But thanks to blockchain technology, it’s possible that we will soon enter a world where financial organizations become smaller and more decentralized.
Of course, this will depend on whether or not governments decide to regulate the world of blockchain finance. If governments opt for light touch regulation, then an increasing number of people may turn to decentralized marketplaces for things like investing or lending.
Take Salt as one example of blockchain powered financial organizations. The platform pairs lenders and lendees and uses blockchain to securely and transparently track loans. This is far different from the financial world we live in today, where a handful of conglomerates control large swaths of the financial industry.
Digital government participation
According to the United States Elections Project, just over 55 percent of voter-eligible Americans turned out to vote in the 2016 Presidential election. Compared to participation in other countries, voter turnout in the United States is abysmal, particularly in non-Presidential elections.
Blockchain technology may be able to help Americans participate by taking elections to the internet. Ordinarily, government officials are hesitant about using technology to empower citizens to vote. They are concerned that hackers could alter the outcome of elections if they were able to access the digital voter rolls.
However, blockchain is designed to be a secure platform to transmit information in a decentralized manner. Thanks to the use of encryption, a blockchain ledger is difficult (though not impossible) to hack.
It’s possible that local, state or even the federal government may turn to blockchain technology in order to encourage Americans to participate in elections to a greater degree than they do today.
Transparent consumer brands
Consumers are increasingly opting for brands that sustainably source their products. From the movement to consume non-GMO foods to the push for organic produce in grocery stores, shoppers now tend to favor brands that hold themselves to account.
In an effort to provide consumers, and government officials, with increased visibility into complex supply chains, Walmart is working with IBM (among other organizations) to develop a technology that tracks their food production supply chain in China.
By now it should come as no surprise that Walmart is using a blockchain platform developed by IBM to provide onlookers with better visibility into their supply chain. Since consumers are already favoring brands that operate in a transparent manner, it’s likely that consumer brands will increasingly embrace blockchain technology to provide consumers with increased transparency.
In fact, blockchain-based transparency is a great way for consumer brands to create a competitive edge in highly contested markets. It is conceivable that brands like Apple or Nike would also embrace this sort of technology in order to assuage public fears related to responsibly sourced products.
Embrace of borderless collaboration
Cryptocurrency, one technology built on top of blockchain, is designed to be borderless. This is one reason why cryptocurrencies have caught on around the globe, after being launched roughly one decade ago.
Since blockchain is secure, transparent, and distributed, it encourages users to collaborate across the globe. It’s possible that this global collaboration will encourage those who embrace the technology to also embrace globalism.
As a result, these attitudes may shape a variety of topics ranging from international relations, to travel, to social norms.
There’s no telling how exactly blockchain technology will impact our world. Though it is likely that it will make a difference in areas related to finance, government, brand transparency, and globalism.
How do you expect blockchain technologies will change our world? Let us know by leaving a comment below.