In our discussion of mega-trends that are impacting the world today, we would be remiss if we did not discuss blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is a true disruptive technology and experts have called it the future and the most disruptive technology in decades. The entire discussion regarding cryptocurrency is based upon blockchain technology.

The hype is certainly there. Nevertheless, there is some confusion about what blockchain technology actually is and why it is so disruptive today. Understanding these facts, you can not only better understand the technology itself, but be on your way to generating ideas on how blockchain technology can help your organization.

Blockchain 101

The inner workings of blockchain technology are quite complex. To get a better sense of the technical underpinnings of this technology, you can click here. The basic idea, however, is that a blockchain is a time-stamped series of immutable data that is managed and distributed across a cluster of computers. These blocks of data are secured and bound to their preceding and successive blocks through using cryptographic principles. The fact that the blockchain is immutable and verified by thousands (or even millions) of computers is one of its most significant features, as it means that transactions on it are virtually unhackable and inherently reliable.

You can almost think of a blockchain as a public ledger that is shared with others over the internet. This is unlike a traditional bank ledger, for instance, as that bank ledger is only seen and managed within the bank itself. A blockchain has no central authority and is, by its nature, transparent. Everyone can view all transactions on the blockchain, which creates transparency and trust when entering into blockchain transactions.

The Disruptive Nature of Blockchain Technology

While the above is just scraping the surface when it comes to explaining blockchain technology, it is the disruptive nature of the technology that excites those with little technological background. We are still in the early innings of this technology; nevertheless, there are some extremely exciting applications today that are changing the ways that we once again work and play.

One of the most well-known applications of blockchain technology is through cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is the technology that actually enables the existence of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Cryptocurrencies are essentially digital money that use encryption techniques to verify the transfer of funds. They only exist in the network (you cannot physically hold a Bitcoin) and are not regulated by a central authority (like a central bank).

What does all of this mean? Cryptocurrencies offer a wide range of benefits to users. They enable no-fee transactions, allowing, for instance, families to send money abroad without transaction costs. They can be a stable currency in a nation-state that is experiencing hyperinflation (like Venezuela). They can even be used as direct payments to content creators, which can lead to even more innovation in the marketplace. 

Along with cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology is already powering cutting-edge applications in fields like entertainment, retail, logistics, healthcare and insurance. For instance, in the healthcare industry, companies like MedicalChain are using the blockchain to store and utilize electronic health records. The opportunities are there for the taking, whether you are an entrepreneur looking for the next big thing or an intrapreneur hoping to leverage blockchain technology in your operations.

Salesforce, the world largest provider of CRM in the Cloud, has already adapted this disruptive technology in the marketplace. Salesforce has developed the First Low-Code Blockchain Platform for CRM. It enables a fast and easy way to build trusted parnernetworks that share verified, distributed data. It is build upon the well known Salesforce Lightning Platform and uses open source blockchain technology from Hyperledger. The good part, it requires no code and easy to deploy!

While it is always difficult to predict the future of technology, some of the future applications of blockchain are mouth-watering. It will begin to take on larger and more complex problems throughout the world. For example, blockchain technology will be able to create efficiencies in the shipping supply chain, helping the global economy to grow by up to 5 percent. Blockchain technology may be able to help prevent accidental deaths by tracking prescription drugs through the supply chain. It may even be a key tool to prevent child trafficking.

Looking Toward The Future

Ultimately, blockchain technology is extremely powerful and it can be used in a wide variety of ways. We are only just getting started.

Because of this, it is absolutely worth your time to continue monitoring this mega-trend. This is true even if you aren’t going to program a smart contract or mine some Bitcoin. Regardless of your industry or sector, this technology is coming to change the way that things are done. Will you be ready?