By Pritish Gupta
Blockchain Technology is often associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitconnect etc., but it seems the Pandora’s Box has just opened with whole new possibilities.
A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public ledger that is used to record transactions in blocks and the record cannot be altered without the altercation of the subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network. It is like a distributed database where the information is not stored in a single location which means that the records are public and easily verifiable. It’s like a record of peer to peer transaction built from existing blocks and stored in a digital ledger.
Apart from cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology has immense potential to unlock and therefore finds opportunities to be utilised in multifarious applications. Be it finance, health or education, the technology can change how services are delivered in the future. Blockchain technology eliminates the friction and the role of intermediaries which may improve efficiencies and can prove to be a game changer.
Let us take the example of healthcare services. In India with the use of blockchain technology, countrywide electronic medical records can drastically change the service delivery mechanism. Having access to a patient’s health records can provide effective solutions to pre-emptive care. The current health systems in the US, UK although touted as the best are still quite fragmented. In 2016, a group of scientists at MIT tried to find a solution to the problem using blockchain that would help all the disparate health centres exchange data.
Although in a nascent stage, the technology needs to overcome certain organisational challenges as well. We need a robust framework and a huge investment in the academic research and development of the same. Recent findings show that in the US there is a huge demand for blockchain developers. Slovenia has even started pilot testing of the technology in the state administration. In India, NITI Aayog is working on a strategy for blockchain which is an encouraging sign. It has already started looking for possibilities and planning a paper on land records & healthcare services. It amazed me to find out that blockchain technology can even offer a solution to the water crisis in India. A group of entrepreneurs have come up with ‘Water 2 All’ project that can recycle waste water and make safe drinking water available to all.
Blockchain technology enthusiasts have come up with a solution to end poverty with developing a global property registry system to safeguard property rights of billions of people in the developing countries which can help them integrate into the formal economy.
There can be scepticism about cryptocurrencies with some tech heavyweights denouncing bitcoin but the technology behind bitcoin with all the wild volatility & stratospheric hype is bound to shape the decades to come. It can usher in a huge change in the transparency & accountability frontiers. We should avow the fact that it is here to stay and better our lives & is not just a passing fad.
- Lipman, A. (2017). Who will build the healthcare blockchain? [online] The MIT Media Lab. Available at: https://www.media.mit.edu/articles/who-will-build-the-health-care-blockchain/
- Aquacoin Research & Blockchain “Water 2 All” Connecting Potable Aqua- Industry with Blockchain Technology.
- Shetty Nishanth (2017). Slovenia wants to become the number one Blockchain Technology in Europe. Available at: https://coindelite.com/news/slovenia-wants-to-become-the-number-one-blockchain-technology-in-europe/
Pritish Gupta, the author, is a Masters student from Jindal School of International Affairs.
Featured image source: Coin Delite