The World Economic Forum has stated that by 2025, 10 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be stored on blockchain and its related technologies.
Blockchain technology is a decentralised digital ledger that keeps public but encrypted records of peer-to-peer transactions.
Here is a detailed explanation by Daily Nation's technology journalist Faustine Ngila on how blockchain technology can be used to prevent corruption, fraud, counterfeits, data insecurity, theft and breaches of copyright and sectors like education, journalism, banking, health, insurance, law, film, manufacturing, energy and mining.
This is the technology that will eventually help democracies achieve electoral justice. Elections rigging shall become a practice of the past. To achieve free and fair elections, Blockchain must be used to create a tamper proof system that eliminates voter fraud and provide an authentic record of votes cast.
In Kenya, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has in the past hinted at considering using the technology in future elections to improve transparency.
Blockchain can also be used in the national identification and registration of citizens and foreigners where their data is put into a distributed public database which is impenetrable. It will help in cross border controls and solve the immigrant juggernaut.
The government also needs a Single Source of Truth (SSOT) regarding land ownership and transfer of property in Kenya. A distributed ledger like Blockchain has public witnesses called nodes who help to validate each transaction. This will put to end land grabbing and fraud.
Cases of degree certificate forgery and infringement into academic content copyrights can only be stopped by Blockchain. It will also help to create an e-portfolio for all academic credentials.
Have you ever thought of how many skills or certificates in your CV that look irrelevant to your employer? Blockchain enables the creation of a lifelong learning passport that can be used across the globe.
On Demand Education Market Place is a project that will provide teachers and learners with a flexible learning hub where they can connect and plan before confirming courses in a matter of minutes. A database of courses is stored on unshared servers to optimize accessibility and speed.
It will allow for safe and easily accessible storage of files on a cloud and boost transparent fees payments and external funding.
Media is an industry under siege. From dwindling revenues, collapsing advertising models and the rise and rise of fake news platforms, this sector needs redemption.
But journalism is only suffering because of the distrust and dishonesty of human beings. Blockchain can create chains of authenticity in media to make it possible for readers to validate news and also ensure every journalist earns from his work – story text, image, graphic or video.
Blockchain lovers are already creating customised crypto tokens. Imagine reading an article and receiving a percentage of cryptocurrency into your wallet as a reward.
There is a private blockchain customized for journalists all over the world. It’s called Civil, a decentralised communications protocol designed for independent newsrooms that focused with producing high quality investigative international and local feature stories.
You have heard of surgeries being done on the wrong patient. This arises from confusion of patient data and clinical medicine. But research has shown that 56 percent of healthcare providers are hopeful to start using blockchain by 2020.
This will enhance patient data privacy, interoperability and security of all healthcare data making patients safe by boosting the professionalism of surgeons, doctors and nurses.
The scandals we see in the health sector will also come to an end as well as malware and viruses that corrupt health data.
Weeding out fake medicine from the drug supply chain will be a critical role of Blockchain, besides curbing the theft of financial resources set aside by governments for their health ministries.
It will assist in speeding up and simplifying cross border payments, preventing financial fraud in banks and ease customers on-boarding processes in Know Your Customer (KYC).
This is the technology that will block middlemen in the trading of shares, bonds and securities. It will offer an efficient platform for the issuance, transfer and management of private company securities I a manner that reduces costs.
With companies adopting loyalty and rewards as part of performance management systems, blockchain’s transparency and traceability will be very crucial.
Blockchains have the ability to store any form of digital data by use of smart contracts. A smart contract is a computer code designed to allow an execution of an agreement once two or more parties involved enter their private keys. These codes are used to execute financial transactions when the provided criteria is met.
Using Blockchain to market insurance investments will increase efficiency in transfer and administration of funds and documentation of financial collateral such as letters of credit.
Many insurance companies have struggled to manage risks and authenticate claims. Research has shown that between five to 10 percent of claims are fraudulent. Blockchain can be used to establish a claims model that is transparent, efficient and customer based with the highest levels of trust you can imagine.
Insurers are able to obtain a clearer visibility and knowledge of their reinsurance contracts and exposure to risk.
The reason why lawyers prefer to use physical files to digital ones is distrust. Smart contracts can be used to replace the physical legal contracts.
There have been fights when intellectual property rights are violated with impunity with no one including a lawyer able to solve the dispute. Blockchain’s features of distributed ledgers and cryptography can be used to turn around change regarding intellectual property.
There is a new opportunity for lawyers called Blockchain Law. Lawyers specialised in this tech will be in high demand in 5 to 10 years from now. Chains of custody and notary publics will be secure, no one will be able to alter evidence or timestamp (digital fingerprint).
FILM AND MUSIC
There has been an outcry from artists and actors that they don’t get proper compensation for their work, with many cases of copyright infringement and piracy being reported.
Blockchain based smart contracts can be used to register all agreements between film, music or art producers and their respective distribution networks.
Once all the network participants and the preconditions for execution are recorded into the Blockchain, the smart contracts can be used to enable distribution of the actual items and automatically sharing revenues among the participants.
Royalties can therefore be paid, piracy curbed, crowdfunding for creative productions made easy with films and music getting digitally advertised.
Global statistics show that 8 percent of world trade is made up of counterfeit or pirated goods. Blockchain makes it easier to register each product with a unique cryptographic identity that cannot be changed.
Blockchain-based file sharing will help eliminate the theft of patented property and create trust in 3D printing. 3D model files can be shared using the all secure technology which will verify 3D printing machines and vendors.
Goods can be registered on the Blockchain before being registered into the supply chain network and assigned hash identities that will allow tracking. This will scare away thieves.
To prevent illicit transactions and low quality products in the sale of oil and gas, digital tokens need to be assigned to the barrels of crude oil being transacted. This will provide a secure and transparent record of the entire oil supply chain.
As electric cars start getting a share of the market, this technology will be used in the accurate and secure collection of electric charging fees for vehicles.
With a blockchain-based energy system, every person can invest in solar panels, harvest the freely endowed solar energy and sell it without going through an intermediary. This would lower the cost of energy.
Blockchain smart contracts with pre-defined conditions can be developed and used by suppliers of minerals and mining companies to execute transfer and acquisition agreements.
The mining industry can rid itself of the corruption and theft that occurs in the process of registering mineral rights, and the problems that arise from the chain of custody, by embracing Blockchain.
Traders in gold, diamond, silver, emerald and other minerals have always flouted the mining laws and management of inventory reserves. There have also been scuffles during the construction and handing over of mining sites. The solution is Blockchain.
Despite blockchain’s promise of creating a global trust in every sector, it is not a panacea to all the problems we have in our socio-political and economic life, but it will help a great deal to create worldwide sanity, integrity and ethics.
Technology can be used to create trust, but even with the advancement of Artificial Intelligence, it cannot create empathy.
But blockchain’s disruption will help stop the greed in Kenya’s public and private offices, where money is looted with impunity.