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Industries waiting to leverage blockchain technology

The promise of radical transformation of industries through use of blockchain is encouraging. The technology lays down a course of action decades into the future. Globally, several industries are looking to incorporate blockchain into their financial systems. Here are some key sectors preparing to take advantage of the distributed ledger technology according to CBN Research Highlights and Reuters

1. Banking

The sector is the heart of financial control in any economy. Banking records are securely stored and transferred and digital records are highly protected with strong firewalls. With blockchain technology, tamper-proof financial records can be digitised.

On blockchain, financial transactions can be verified and approved by all the parties involved in a financial transaction. Once a bank fully adopts blockchain technology, competitors will bow to pressure and adopt similar systems.

In UK, Barclays Bank is experimenting a blockchain prototype that could cut an equivalent of more than Sh200 billion in transaction costs.

2. Election Process

A democratic voting process requires authenticity of voters, secure transmission of votes and a verifiable tallying process. On blockchain, casting and tallying of votes can be enhanced to add more security features that would ideally eliminate the need to recount the votes.

In many countries, election disputes and electoral reforms are the major concerns for opposition groups. A blockchain-based voting platform in Virginia in US has proven that an online voting system is less prone to manipulation.

In Estonia, a company successfully tried a blockchain voting in a stocks market where shareholders voted online. Similar tests by major companies are underway.

3. Insurance

Insurance providers leverage on good customer relations and narrowly rally behind banks in technology adoption. Blockchain can address daily insurance challenges such as poor customer relations and adoption of modern technology. All insurance processes seek to cut costs, increase effectiveness and detect frauds.

Failure to address the key insurance needs makes insurers lose trust of clients. Blockchain can provide a linear record system where customer records are well preserved. On the Internet of things, home devices such as personal computers and phones can be secured on an insurance chain.

In helping to detect fraudulent insurance claims, blockchains can validate the authenticity and ownership of goods by verifying possession records. By eventual reduction of administrative costs, blockchain technology may influence insurers to adopt it.

4. Healthcare

Most hospitals lack a system that can allow secure sharing of records across all the required departments, this can lead to wrong identification of patients.

The recent mishap at Kenyatta National Hospital where a patient was wrongly identified which led to an unnecessary surgery, being a case in point.

On blockchain technology, a close collaboration between all the involved healthcare officers would ensure a timely and a secure diagnosis of a patient. Where the treatment involves several players such as medical insurers and pharmacists, health records can be easily linked on the health chain.

5. Education

All academic institutions seek to issue transcripts and certificates which are not easy to forge. On blockchain, a student’s performance can be linked to a chain that will preserve the transcripts from when a pupil begins school until graduate level.

The blockchain verification will reduce paperwork. Since paper certificates are not prone to duplication and alteration, authenticity of the documents has to be verified.

On blockchain, a single system can contain all academic records of a student and hence minimise loss. Kenya is currently seeking to start such a programme.

6. Cab services

Apps like Uber and Taxify use a system of computer protocols to control the rides. The company’s computer system determines pricing after calculating total distance covered and the time taken.

On a cab blockchain, riders can have a more client oriented service. A smart ride start-up is working on how drivers can determine pricing in consideration to the conditions of the ride and the agreement with the client.

A start-up on air cab services has been started and is eyeing Nairobi as a major market. The McFly.aero blockchain project is starting the set up of infrastructure for air taxis service in 23 cities in 13 countries, including Nairobi.

7. Selling and leasing of cars

The car market is full of notorious criminals and fraudulent market deals. Linking car sale or lease to a blockchain can increase transparency and safety to the parties involved.

On a distributed ledger model tried by Visa in 2015, the car leasing process could be reduced to only a computer click. In the model, a client chooses the favourable car and a transaction is started on a ledger.

The client then signs an agreement and an insurer is linked unto the chain. Starting blockchain in car leasing would easily influence selling of cars to implement similar technology.

8. Supply chain management

A unique feature of distributed ledger is transparency. When goods and services are transferred from say point A to point B, change of hands can lead to alteration, delays and errors.

On a blockchain, the transfer of goods can be linked to decentralised record that could reduce delay and enhance security. A supply chain model “provenance” is creating a traceable supply chain where end consumers can access to information gathered by all the suppliers or handlers of good on the chain.

9. Government records

Some counties and states seek to have a common source of information about all their citizens. Delaware State in US has started a distributed ledger system that seeks to ease delivery of services to citizens. On blockchain, a country can create a digital citizen whose activities can be added on to the system.

10. Money lending

Money lenders rely on credit reports from third parties to know the credit history of a party interested in a loan. From the credit history, a lender can establish if the person in need of a loan is credible based on their credit history.

On distributed ledgers, the credit history of a debtor can be linked to a creditor’s end, where all the lenders can recommend the credibility of a person in loans payment.

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