How Blockchain is Transforming 3 Key Industries
‘Blockchain’ is a term that seems to crop up all the time – but what does it mean, and is the hype worth it?
Essentially, blockchain is a decentralised database that is managed by multiple parties. It consists of blocks that store data, and once one block reaches its capacity, a new block is formed containing new information. These blocks are all chained together, providing an irreversible, single timeline of data that is secure and decentralised.
Blockchain is more well-known for storing transactions, but it can also store any record of interaction between parties. This gives it the power to innovate many different industries, providing a single source of truth between parties and increasing trust and efficiency.
With the pressure from COVID-19, blockchain is freeing up the valuable resources of healthcare professionals by simplifying many manual and error-prone processes. In privatised healthcare, many electronic health record systems are used; these don’t talk to each other, making it very difficult to transfer patient records or medical credentials when they may need to cooperate. By data sharing on a blockchain, hospitals can transfer information in a secure and private manner, saving time and reducing risk. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has predicted that through data sharing, hospitals could save 950,000 lives and over $93B over 5 years. With blockchain, the onboarding process for medical professionals is made safer by applications like ProCredEx which authenticates and exchanges verified credentials as digital assets.
Blockchain can also help to verify the safety of medical devices and drugs. Regulators can access and trace the lifecycle of any device or medication and add quality control measures to the blockchain. With this enhanced traceability, medication can also be recalled efficiently with little disruption. Innovation in this field is increasing as shown by the FDA’s solution which reduces the drug recall process from days to seconds.
Supply Chain Management
Blockchain is being used in supply chain management to monitor and simplify processes within what are often incredibly long chains of production and movement that involve many parties. By logging the stages of a supply chain on a blockchain, the exact journey that a product has been on, including locations, legal documents and transactions, are stored in one decentralised server. Each party within the supply chain can only see the data that is relevant to them on a need-to-know basis and there is no centralised power that can see everything.
For that reason, many businesses are using blockchain to connect consumers with the sources their goods came from, for example, ripe.io, or for B2B processes, such as issuing, exchanging and signing encrypted documents and CargoX, a Bill of Lading and document transfer provider.
Through blockchain, digital assets can be created, representing any asset or agreement between parties, and these can be traded efficiently, privately, and securely via the blockchain. Trade, settlement, and custody services are combined into one, increasing efficiency and unlocking liquidity in previously illiquid markets. Six Digital Exchange, built on R3’s Corda, is the first end-to-end market infrastructure for digital assets and is currently working with the Swiss National Bank on establishing Central Bank Digital Currency, which has the potential to completely innovate the future of the financial system.