For what it’s worth, Bitcoin rewarded its backers with 1,420 % gains in 2017 and Ethereum delivered more than 8500% increase in value in the same period. The arrival of more than 1000 new crypto coins in the markets also provided opportunities to investors who missed the boat on Bitcoin to profit.
2018, however, is shaping up to be the year that Blockchain technology itself will become a global buzzword. Blockchain technology is the underlying technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, Bitcoin is but one expression of the applications of blockchain technology. This piece looks at 4 industries that are set to experience disruption from blockchain technology this year.
Payments and Money Transfers
The traditional payment and money transfer industry have remained practically stagnant in the last century because traditional financial institutions are inherently averse to change. The processes and systems for money transfers across national borders paint the picture of a particularly complex process as seen in the flowchart below.
Blockchain can facilitate a peer-to-peer transfer of value without the need for a centralized authority, clearinghouse, or institutional third party. Ripple (XRP), a blockchain application that wants to replace the SWIFT baking protocol is a valid representation of the disruptive potential of blockchain on payments and money transfers. In late 2017, when Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptos started to suffer a correctional decline in price, Ripple was the only coin standing tall and booking gains because of its ability to address the systemic problems of traditional payment and money transfer solutions.
The fields of academia and education are one of the most conservative fields – there are centuries-old traditions and conventional that has remained in use to the detriment of new technology. Books are now available in electronic formats, but hundreds of thousands of books are still being printed and hundreds of millions of books are gathering dust in libraries all over the world. In addition, certificates are still issued in the paper even though everybody sends their resumes in electronic format.
Blockchain will disrupt how academic credentials are recognized and verified globally as 2018 gets underway. The current verification process for academic credentials is a manual process that follows a laborious case-by-case checking of paper documentation. Learning Machine is working with MIT Media Lab to build Blockcerts which makes it easy to store retrieve, and verify academic credentials on Blockchain.
The flowchart above shows how blockchain can improve the process for verifying academic certificates. In the words of Philly Schmidt, “Using the blockchain and strong cryptography, it is now possible to create a certification infrastructure that puts us in control of the full record of our achievements and accomplishments.”
Forecasting in predictive markets
One of the industries that could witness the biggest changes powered by Blockchain technology is the forecasting and predictive markets industries. Predictive markets provide actionable information that people in the consulting, research, and analysis industries use to curate targeted insights for making educated decisions. The problem however with the current forecasting industry is that any self-styled expert could come out with predictions. Unfortunately, many of those predictions are gambles – a large number of which turn out to be false or evident truths.
Now, blockchain technology could make it easy to track analysts and their predictions over time in order to know if there’s any iota of legitimacy in their claims. BlitzPredict, for instance, is particularly interested in bringing the immutability of blockchain technology to disrupt the predictive markets for sports. The traditional sports prediction industry is currently under the control of centralized authorities in which analytics are fragmented, users tie down money as deposits, and payouts often take a long time to process.
BlitzPredict is trying to aggregate data from different sportsbooks and prediction markets, store them on the blockchain, in order to give users a chance of getting the best odds on any bet. In addition, BlitzPredict wants to incentive sports analytics expects to create reliable predictive models, stand by their predictions, and build a following that helps sports enthusiasts make informed decisions.
First-time homeowners and non-professional investors in the real estate market are often overwhelmed by the sheer size of the volume of paperwork involved in real estate transactions. In addition, you’ll have to deal with errors in public records, brick wall in terms of transparency before and after the transaction, and the possibility of fraud (intentional or unintentional) along the way.
Blockchain solutions could improve efficiency in real estate transactions by reducing paper documentation and immutable ownership records. Blockchain will also reduce the number of intermediaries and third parties; thereby lowering transaction costs for stakeholders.
Ubiquity, for instance, is a blockchain-as-a-service platform for mortgage, title, and finance companies. Ubiquity believes that uploading property records and title documents to the blockchain could make it easier to facilitate a peer-to-peer transfer of real estate assets. Blockchain could also facilitate the growth of services such as AirBnB where people can exchange real estate assets for monetary value over a short term.