Security: I just can’t say enough and there’s even more to say when we talk about it coupled with blockchain technology. For this column, let’s delve in to how blockchain is being used globally to increase security in all kinds of situations—from peer-to-peer energy transactions to national elections and everything in between.
First and foremost, blockchain technology is more than just the underlying foundation for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Blockchain enables a decentralized transaction structure that can make transactions of many natures simpler, more secure, more transparent, and more efficient.
One sector that’s worth talking about in conjunction with blockchain is energy. The latest research suggests the global blockchain in energy market will grow tremendously in the next decade. And this is thanks in part to the influx of blockchain vendors in the energy market, including companies like Greeneum, Grid+, Sun Exchange, Veridium Labs, WePower, and so many others.
Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology that provides a platform for the management of transactions and high-value data. And since it doesn’t require a third party, a lot of people see the value in this technology for transforming market models in the energy space.
In fact, we just might be at a crucial juncture for the energy space, and blockchain has a lot to do with it. Tons of money is being invested in the blockchain-in-energy industry, and individuals are increasingly interested in peer-to-peer consumer energy exchanges enabled by blockchain.
In countries like Japan, utilities are testing blockchain tech to determine the value it can offer.
As part of a research project, Kepco (Kansai Electric Power Co.) is testing a blockchain platform in conjunction with a few other Japanese players in academia and industry to figure out the mechanics of energy transactions between people who need energy and people who generate a surplus of energy.
Projects like this one are going to become the foundation for blockchain-in-energy growth. The World Energy Council’s World Energy Insights brief for 2018, which focuses on blockchain, actually identifies seven different uses for this technology in energy.
The seven uses include not only peer-to-peer trading and other flexible energy trading platforms but also emissions trading systems, supply chain tracking, e-mobility, tokenization and project financing, and bitcoin mining. There is a lot of potential; it just needs to be unlocked.
But energy isn’t the only promising application of blockchain tech. Another sector that’s particularly concerned with data security (and in need of efficiency) is healthcare.
Deloitte recently won a blockchain ideation challenge by describing some of the opportunities for applying blockchain technology to healthcare and, in particular, to health information exchanges.
Essentially, Deloitte’s winning whitepaper says blockchain could provide a new model for health information exchanges by making electronic medical records more efficient, secure, and interoperable.
Interoperability is so important to the future of healthcare, and it will be really interesting to see how blockchain helps address some of the industry’s core challenges.
It’s clear blockchain will play a role in the current shift toward patient-centered and value-based care. In these healthcare models, patients’ health outcomes more directly influence how hospitals and physicians are rewarded.
There’s admittedly a lot standing in the way of change in healthcare, but progress is being made in creating new ways of doing things. Someday soon, blockchain will be a part of how most sectors run.
Once final point since midterm voting is coming up is how blockchain may be making an impact in the near future on elections. Election day in the U.S. is next week, and as always, there are a lot of people concerned with election security.
There is no question we want fair elections and trusted results. Globally, governments are looking at how blockchain may play a role in this crucial process. For instance, in South Korea, the government is pouring a lot of money—and we’re talking billions of Korean won—into blockchain pilot projects.
The projects span not only online voting but also livestock supply chain management, real estate transactions, shipping logistics, and beyond.
The nation is reportedly looking at ways to apply blockchain technology to key voting processes like candidate registration and ballot counting in order to make these processes more safe and secure.
In the U.S., West Virginia and Voatz are working together to provide a mobile blockchain voting option for military service members who are overseas and want to vote in November’s election. This is an exciting application of the technology, and I’m looking forward to following this story.
The idea is that absentee ballots are not that dependable, and the state is looking for a new way to make sure these Americans’ votes are secure and counted in time.
Of course, blockchain by itself can’t fix all the problems that wreak havoc on our voting system. But maybe it’s a step in the right direction. Is this a conversation starter for other ways we can authenticate voters before they vote and address other issues that convolute the voting process? Are you leveraging blockchain at your company, or have you investigated how it may play a role in your industry in the future? These are all great questions we need to engage in some discussion.
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