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Blockchain technology is best known for supporting digital coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, others. Companies are inclined towards this technology because of its decentralized, transparent and secure model. It itself drives distributed data structure in a way that it replaces the role of a central bank or government backing. Businesses are steadily increasing its usage as with this, one can move money from place to place, accept deposits, complete transactions without any regulation, monitoring, business hours, or any other restrictions that an online bank may have. Currently, travel companies, shipping, and bitcoin gambling sites are making use of this technology. In March 2017, Maersk completed its first test of using blockchain technology in order to streamline and secure international shipping.
The technology is revolutionizing the way people transfer money, invest and purchase real estate. It is being increasingly used by the businesses across the globe to perform real-time tracking. For instance, Walmart is using blockchain by providing employees the ability to track products literally back to their roots. The technology is helping with the restocking process. Furthermore, it is being used by the government agencies to streamline their processes. Countries like Dubai, Switzerland, the UK are adopting this technology in various sectors. In the UK, the government is using blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) to track welfare paychecks and disburse student loan grants. The government of Dubai is supporting innovation to implement blockchain based services so as to improve services in the areas such as road and transport, education, energy, and healthcare. With right political and regulatory support for blockchain- based startups, Switzerland is home to some prominent startup’s such as Status, ShapeShift, Bancor, and Melonport.
Though in the initial phase of this technology, the countries were initially hesitant to adopt this technology due to the absence of legal support and regulations, the US supported this by launching the first licensed exchange in 2015 for people to trade the cryptocurrency. With blockchain gaining traction over the years, government across the globe started framing blockchain-related laws which led to the creation of BitLegal- an online map that tracks the constantly evolving regulatory landscape of cryptographic assets and distributed ledger technology (DLT). After that, the technology gained traction over the years. US Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) started using blockchain technology to detect illegal transactions in which criminals used cryptocurrency. Government funding has played a major role in the rising adoption of blockchain in various sectors. For an instance, the district government of the Jiangbei new area in Nanjing city announced the plan to launch the 10 billion yuan blockchain fund in July 2018 so as to support the development of blockchain-focused enterprises. Similarly, in March 2018, The United States Congress has officially endorsed the future of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
With data being generated at huge scale across industries and growing need for safe online backup of data, blockchain can prove to be a promising technology. It can benefit a variety of sectors such as BFSI, transportation and logistics, government, retail and etc. In BFSI, it can provide a high level of safety in storing and transmitting data, open and transparent network infrastructure, decentralization and low cost of operations. These impressive characteristics make blockchain a really promising and in-demand solution, even in the extremely conservative and restrictive bank industry. North American and European banks are expected to adopt blockchain technology for accepting payments, fraud detection, Know your Customer (KYC), and smart contracts.