Blockchain has been termed by many as the biggest invention for the future. There is a unified intrigue by all corners of the society about it and it does not seem long that it will truly take us over. From finance and business to smart contracts and property, from Internet of Things which itself is a concept of great potential, to smart appliances, health care and even application in voting system. Blockchain development aims to revolutionize several sectors of humanity for the future generations.
How Blockchain works, is yet to be fully exploited and is not understood at complete ease by many, as it is different to the form of internet and centralized networks we are set up with in this age and time.
Our internet deals with intangibles. We send and receive mails, correspond to forums, read and distribute articles. In comparison, this modern internet called the Blockchain deals with assets, the most valuable immediate assets that are tangible and those we want to protect. These assets are stored in encoded form on a network-to-network structure, called the Blockchain or the Digitial Ledger (Distributed Ledger Technology). Here, each participant on the network sees the business transaction and approves of it to make it valid and secure. This not only protects business dealings and minimizes possibility of theft, but also simplifies affairs, quickens processes, reduces errors and saves from hiring a third party, e.g centralized banks.
This decentralized blockchain system is going to change our lives from the way we transact business or manage assets, to the way we use your machines, vote, rent a car, and even prove our identities. Along the way, it will transform banks and other financial institutions, hospitals, companies, and governments among others.
The foremost and most crucial application of Blockchain are the cryptocurrencies. There has been great debate over how blockchain and crypto can transform the world’s economy – leaving paper money behind and going truly digital. Indeed, many investors and crypto businesses are pursuing solutions which can eradicate inefficiencies in practically every industry and positively affecting goods and services of everyday use.
But apart from monetary profit margins, are there other ways that blockchain can prove to be source of good? For organizations and parts of community that want to give something back, Blockchain has shown a promising future in aiding many challenges faced by the 21st century.
Here, we see how novel applications of blockchain are and will be able to serve the humanity in the future.
In February, the United Nations International Children Education Fund announced a program to create a fund for war-stricken Syrian children. This initiative worked in a unique way that it asked PC gamers to use their computers to mine Ethereum and donate their earnings. The two-month long campaign, dubbed ‘Game Chaingers’ was aimed at gamers that use high level graphic cards capable of cryptocurrency mining, turning the cards into humanitarian tools:
Today, humanitarian collections often solicit the same people with the same methods, but cryptocurrencies and their revolutionary approach are an opportunity to raise funds differently. Have you heard of Bitcoin? The Ethereum is the same, except that you can more easily ‘mine’ the Ethereum coins via your computer and that money will go directly into the UNICEF wallet.
Donations are made when participating gamers take a break from their computers or go to sleep, they can turn on UNICEF’s Ethereum mining application, thus donating without giving away anything but access to their computer’s processor.
The website reads:
Through the use of mining we create an opportunity for those who can not give or have never had the opportunity to do so.
It’s safe to say that the project Game Chaingers, was a success. Over 59 days, with more than 12,000 computers involved, 85 ETH was raised to go toward UNICEF’s work in Syria.
This isn’t even the first time that UNICEF has tried to mix cryptocurrencies with humanitarian aid. In January last year, UNICEF presented “Donercoin” at London Blockchain Week, a Blockchain-based program aimed at creating transparency in global aid by digitizing donations.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme is making use of blockchain to tackle hunger in areas of poverty and parish, through the “Building Blocks” scheme with more than 100,000 refugees benefiting so far.
Building for Scientific Advancement
Blockchain is also being practiced by healthcare entities that are working to improve patient safety and using blockchain as an ideal place for storing patient records. This application not only helps in eliminating inaccuracies and geographical barriers that can arise from paper-based documents, but via this protocol, a person could get treatment based on his/her medical record even if they were thousands of miles away from home. In addition to that, the patient’s electronic data could be used in different researches all over the world to make exciting discoveries of all natures that will pave way for new treatments and revolutionary drugs.
In this regard, US healthcare giant UnitedHealth recently partnered to use Blockchain as means to keep records up to date, according to a statement.
The pilot will examine how sharing data across health care organizations on blockchain technology can improve data accuracy, streamline administration and improve access to care.
This was regarded as a major step forwards in blockchain exposure and application for US healthcare as UnitedHealth are placed 6th currently on the Fortune 500 with revenue exceeding $200 billion.
Adding to that, the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, home to approximately 60 million people, has started to embrace blockchain, with the aim to make predictive and personalized treatments for the public possible and provide better access to it.
It has signed an agreement with Shivom, a Genomics company which will allow locals to sell their genetic information for research purposes into databases that are crowded by people of European descent rather than more ethnic minorities.
While this serves as a promising note for blockchain’s novel applications, government officials in India deny the future use of cryptocurrencies in any manner.
Ukraine’s Electoral Commission is working with NEM, on a pilot voting system and American troops overseas are being given the chance to use a ‘blockchain-based smartphone app’ for casting their ballots in the midterm elections, if they are from West Virginia.
A Russian polling research center also announced it’s use of blockchain to monitor exit poll results for the presidential elections earlier in 2018.
This is an encouraging initiative that the blockchain technology provides. In a world where there can be a lot of mistrust concerning the transparency and integrity of polling, voters are often left disillusioned of true results as electoral rigging has become a common practice, especially among the developing countries. In this application of blockchain being used for good, several nations are exploring whether this process can reinstate the lost confidence in the electoral process.
Bancarizing the unbanked
Across certain regions, such as Africa and Southeast Asia, an overwhelming number of individuals are unable to gain access to bank accounts, credit cards or other financial services that the status quo takes for granted. These people are termed to be ‘unbancarized’ and the reason that they struggle to obtain these simple services is that they lack a credit history.
Based in United States, BanQu allows refugees, the displaced, and the world’s poorest populations to establish an economic identity on the blockchain. When they interact with organizations, businesses and governments around them, it aids in building a more vetted version of their financial and personal histories.
Giving back to the community
Following the leap in value of cryptocurrency, especially in 2017 – many investors and profitants decided to become involved in charity and other philanthropic projects where they could donate to several causes of ailment to humanity, and serve to give something back to the community.
One such example was the Pineapple Fund, where an anonymous crypto user turned their 5,104 BTC into $55 million with the sole goal of donating to good causes. More than 60 charities have been supported since, and crypto is now involved in projects such as delivering clean water to the sub-Saharan Africa.
It is imperative that the world finally starts to look up to blockchain technology and it’s various applications, rather than being abrupt and irate about it. It aims to not only revolutionize the way we store and share our assets, but also possesses great potential to bring out the best of ourselves and a lot of charitable, humanitarian activities.