Seven Industries That Blockchain Will Disrupt in 2017

Many experts predict that blockchain technology will be the most disruptive technology since the creation of the internet. Given the amount of industries that face disruption by the distributed ledger technology, it is starting to look like this prediction will come to fruition.

While the financial industry is already testing and implementing blockchain technology to improve operational inefficiencies and reduce the costs of financial transactions, there are many more sectors that face disruption as well. Seven such industries are poised for dramatic changes courtesy of blockchain in 2017.

1. Private Transport

The private transport industry will be disrupted by blockchain in two ways: the development of in-car eWallets and the rise of blockchain-based decentralized peer-to-peer ridesharing services.

UBS, ZF and innogy are currently developing an eWallet that will allow future car owners to automatically pay for services such as highway tolls, parking and electricity top-ups using the car’s built-in, blockchain-based electronic wallet.

Ridesharing services will likely increase as part of the growing sharing economy. Basing rideshare services on blockchain technology disintermediates centralized third party service providers, as both car users and owners can arrange the terms and conditions of the rideshare via secure, blockchain-based smart contracts. Startups currently developing such services include New Hampshire-based Arcade City and Israel-based La’Zooz.

2. Cyber Security

Cyber security has become an increasingly hot topic for both individuals and corporations as the number of cyber crime cases increases globally. In fact, the World Economic Forum highlighted cyber crime as one of the key risks the world is facing today.

Due to its decentralized and immutable nature, blockchain can be used to prevent data theft, storing data in a safe and secure manner using cryptography.

Furthermore, the blockchain can be used to build a more robust and secure internet that is less prone to DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, which can take entire websites offline. Blockchain startup Nebulis is currently developing a new blockchain-based internet Domain Name System, which due to its decentralized nature cannot be affected by DDoS attacks and, thereby, creates a better internet.

3. Music Distribution

The music industry is another sector that will be affected as blockchain changes the status quo in 2017. There are several startups leveraging blockchain to change how music will be distributed and shared and how royalties will be paid and, disintermediating an industry that has relied on a few centralized parties for most of its existence. Startups Peertracks, Ujo Music and Mycelia are building blockchain-based solutions for artists to directly sell their music to fans without the need for a record label or third-party distributor, creating a fairer music industry in which artists are directly remunerated for their work and able to develop closer relationships with their listeners.

4. Healthcare

Another industry that will benefit from the implementation of blockchain technology is the healthcare sector. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities struggle to securely store and share data with one another and are regular victims of cyber attacks due to their weak tech infrastructure. Implementing the distributed ledger technology to safely store and share data with patients and authorized healthcare professionals, however, would improve data security and allow for faster and more accurate diagnoses. Startups that are working on disrupting the current status quo in the healthcare data space are California-based Gem and Connecticut-based Tierion.

5. Cloud Storage

Storing data in the cloud is fast becoming an industry standard in most sectors. However, in the cloud’s current state, storage sector users are required to trust third-party providers such as Google or Dropbox with their business data. By combining cloud storage and blockchain, however, that no longer needs to be the case.

Blockchain startups such as Storj allow users to share unused storage space on their machines with other users for a small fee. This creates a decentralized, crowd-sourced cloud storage solution that is substantially less prone to cyber attacks and data loss. Other blockchain-based projects in this sector include Siacoin and Filecoin, which both work on similar principals as Stroj.

6. Supply Chain Management

The supply chain management industry is primed for disruption by the blockchain as it focuses on transactions that need to be recorded in a secure and transparent manner. There are numerous startups building blockchain solutions for supply chain management, including UK-based Provenance, California-based Skuchain and New York-based Hijro.

7. Voting

Probably one of the most important areas of disruption for society will be the implementation of blockchain for voter registration and electronic vote counting. As the world witnessed in the latest U.S. presidential elections, a process in which Russian hackers allegedly meddled, an immutable, publicly-viewable ledger of recorded votes would be a massive step toward making elections fairer and global politics more democratic.

Startups currently working on making this a reality include Buenos Aires-based Democracy Earth, which aims to “hack democracy” using the disrupted ledger technology by creating online voting systems and identify verification processes, and Virginia-based Follow My Vote, which provides secure, open source blockchain-based online voting software for governments.

Even the biggest Bitcoin skeptics are starting to accept that its underlying technology, blockchain, will play a major role in a range of different industries by recording, storing and transmitting data in a secure and low-cost manner.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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