By 2020, the blockchain industry will become a massive 20 billion USD industry. By comparison, in 2017, the industry was worth just 700 million USD. Further proof that the blockchain industry is booming is that the demand for blockchain engineers had increased 400% by the end of 2017.
Looking at these statistics, it’s no surprise that people are calling it the next big thing since the internet.
A few years back, we got a taste of just what’s possible with blockchain when we witnessed the rise of the bitcoin, a cryptocurrency which made it possible to make transactions around the world in seconds without using an intermediary like a bank.
Its wide adoption stunned the financial industry — and eventually, the banks themselves began to realize the potential of blockchain technology. Now, various studies report that 69% of the leading banks around the world are experimenting with blockchain technology, with research claiming that if they use blockchain, banks could save approximately 8–12 billion USD every year.
But here’s the thing: The financial sector is just one of the many big industries blockchain will disrupt. In this article, we’ll take a look at five industries outside the financial sector which will be impacted by blockchain.
While the internet gave us access to an abundance of information, it has also enabled piracy in its wake.
It made it possible for ‘pirates’ around the world to share music, videos, digital art, games, writings and more — all without asking for permission or giving credit and compensation to the original owners. Additionally, the creative industry is also plagued with a lot of ‘middlemen’ such as music labels, digital publishers, stores, etc., who take a huge chunk out of artists’ revenue.
These two problems have caused creative professionals to lose millions of dollars.
Blockchain can play a huge role here by giving control of original works back to the creators.
First of all, blockchain can give creators the ability to store their original works and mark them with metadata which includes information such as their name, the date on which the work was created — and so much more.
Because blockchains are immutable, meaning information within them cannot be deleted, it means that once a creator’s name is attached to their work on the blockchain, no one will be able to take ownership or credit for it other than the original creator.
And since blockchains have no single point of failure, it will become nearly impossible for hackers to tamper with their works.
Plus, with blockchain, you can create ‘smart contracts’ which are highly intelligent programs that execute instructions automatically on the creators’ behalf. This means creators can fully control how their content is distributed — and how much they are paid.
And because of this, blockchain has the potential to positively impact the publishing industry, the music industry, the fashion industry — and all other creative industries that want a more secure method of protecting their IP (intellectual property).
Real estate industry
Real estate is one of the most important industries in the world. For example, in Canada, the real estate industry made up one-fifth of its GDP in 2017. This means it employed hundreds of thousands of people and supported their livelihoods.
But the real estate industry suffers from its own myriad problems, the biggest of which are disputes, which delays progress in construction and payments and leads to extra costs for all the parties involved.
And the main reason the majority of disputes occur is that the ‘contracts’ are not followed properly. The right materials aren’t used, deadlines are missed, the terms of payment gets changed and more…
Blockchain, thanks to its smart contracts technology, can solve these problems to a large extent.
Before construction starts, the terms and conditions can be written down in a blockchain, which both parties can agree to. This can include specifications of the building, the number of materials to be used, the deadline for milestones, when each payment will be released, and a host of other things.
And since the information within a blockchain cannot be changed unethically or without the other party knowing, no disputes are likely to occur. As terms and conditions get fulfilled, payments will be automatically released on time, which again, will reduce the number of disputes.
As a result, the real estate industry will become safer — and will progress faster, thanks to blockchain technology.
Trading card industry
Believe it or not, trading cards are a multi-billion dollar industry. Take the Pokemon Trading Cards Game (Pokemon TCG, for short). Since its inception, it has sold more than 21.5 billion cards worldwide. Just in August 2018, a limited edition Pokemon card booster box sold for approximately £54,000 (68,880 USD) online.
What this means is the demand for trading cards is going strong. But the problem is that most of the activity is going on in only a few countries, while the rest of the world is unable to participate. Also, there are only a few types of trading cards that are actually worth collecting such as Pokemon cards or baseball cards.
But with blockchain technology, this whole industry can be moved online where it can experience global participation from around the world.
Because with blockchain, where a limited number of bitcoins are created which give each coin its value, similarly, a limited number of trading cards can be created as well — each with its own unique identity. And since these cards are stored in a blockchain network, they cannot be copied or counterfeited. And in this way, each card will carry a specific value and a guarantee of authenticity.
Anyone from around the world can view these cards and buy them. Their price will fluctuate depending upon the demand for a particular card. Plus, there will be potential to create different types of trading cards for different audiences to further make this industry more exciting.
But what is the best part of all? That anyone around the world can buy or sell their favorite trading cards, no matter where they are.
The health industry is one of the most complex and important industries in the world. And it should be because it literally deals with people’s lives. A strong, integrated healthcare system can benefit both the hospitals and their patients — and blockchain can help the health industry with that.
Here’s how: First, what we have to understand is that the healthcare system is not integrated at all. In many countries, people go for treatment at various hospitals and many different doctors throughout their lifetime. And as such, their medical history is scattered in many different places and often disorganized.
What blockchain technology can do first and foremost is solve this problem.
Each person can be assigned a unique identity — and all their medical records can be stored under that identity. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), medical equipment can autonomously upload sensitive health data in the blockchain network, where it will be stored forever.
This process will benefit doctors as well who can quickly and easily review the complete medical history and medications prescribed for any given patient.
Another area where blockchain can help is by reducing the number of counterfeit and fake medical drugs. By assigning each batch of drugs an identifying number in the blockchain, and by using an IoT device to track location, drug stores can greatly reduce their chances of purchasing counterfeit drugs.
And using this architecture, blockchain can improve how the healthcare industry runs around the world.
According to the Financial Times, legal disputes regarding family inheritance has increased every single year from 2012 to 2016. In 2016 alone, the number of inheritance related cases increased by 36% compared to the previous year.
With blockchain, these disputes can easily be avoided.
For example, the will of a family member can be stored within a blockchain network where no one will be able to change its contents.
In addition to this, ‘smart contracts’ can be created on the basis of the will which can be executed properly without any interference. This will allow an asset, whether digital or physical, to pass down to the rightful heir safely as the investor or original owner intended.
This is because blockchain can store a digital version of assets. For example, the digital documents to a property can be stored in blockchain and can be securely passed down to the person the will states.
This process can dramatically revolutionize the legal industry as the possibility of disputes occurring will decrease. And this technology not only applies to families and their wills, but it is also a game changer for industries. Blockchain can store terms and conditions which smart contracts can execute between companies as well. This means professional disputes will seldom occur.
And therefore, the whole legal industry will suddenly experience a massive shift.
Lawyers will be spending more time creating and drafting ‘smart contracts’ rather than solving disputes between parties. Ultimately, blockchain will provide a stable system for people both inside and outside the legal industry to transfer assets among different parties safely and efficiently.