/>
X

How Blockchain technologies are transforming our societies

We take a look at the surprising uses of distributed ledger technology in 2018.
screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-12-32-49.jpg
1 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Cryptocurrency

The most common use of blockchain, or distributed ledger technologies, is cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency including Bitcoin has taken the world by storm, rocking traditional investment and a speculative investment which has worked out well for some, and disastrous for others.

screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-13-09-57.jpg
2 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Know Your Customer (KYC)

The financial services industry is one that can benefit from blockchain technologies through streamlining Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.

HSBC and the Singaporean government, among others, are testing out ways to improve KYC by allowing banks to securely share customer information without having to go through vetting processes every time there is a switch -- which should, in turn, speed up the process for both issuer and user.

screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-13-11-15.jpg
3 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Decentralized financial options

While traditional institutions may not be keen on the idea of cryptocurrency removing funds from investments and standard accounting, in some cases, taking transactions out of corrupt systems or those in which individuals cannot easily secure a bank account, potentially through a lack of existing infrastructure, can control their finances.

In areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, blockchain technologies have the potential to improve businesses and individual finances, such as through microlending.

screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-13-12-25.jpg
4 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Smart contracts

Smart contracts have the potential to revolutionize the legal tape which binds our financial and asset management systems. Decentralized ledgers can be used to store, irrevocably transcribe, and preserve contracts suitable for legal contracts and asset transactions such as the sale of real estate complete with preserved rules that are agreed at the time of a contract being 'signed.'

screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-13-15-55.jpg
5 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Cloud storage

An interesting application of the blockchain is cloud storage and services. Companies such as Storj offer blockchain-based cloud systems which are encrypted and distributed, only allowing access to permitted users, and scalable up to the exabytes.

screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-13-17-53.jpg
6 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Identification

Tech giants including Microsoft and Accenture are among many exploring how the blockchain could be used to verify our identities in the future. ID cards, passports, and more could be a thing of the past if our identities. Current tests are focused on refugees and ways to give them an ID they can show to access services including education and healthcare.

screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-13-20-13.jpg
7 of 8 Wikimedia Commons

Voting

As an extension to identity verification, the blockchain may also one day be utilized to make sure those voting have the right to do so. We haven't had the best of luck when it comes to electronic voting systems, but as distributed ledgers are extremely difficult to tamper with, it may be possible to come up with a system which removes miscounts and corruption.

screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-13-21-21.jpg
8 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Smart cities

Smart cities rely on connectivity, the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, and analytics to improve the efficiency of urban areas. Blockchain technologies may also have a place by offering neutral and transparent ways to scribe government records and deals, as well as for information exchange and urban planning.

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza
img-8825

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza

26 Photos
A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex
img-9792-2

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

22 Photos
Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos
Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup
Asian woman working at a desk in front of a computer and calculator

Related Galleries

Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup

8 Photos
Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup
Person seated at a booth in a cafe looks at their phone and laptop.

Related Galleries

Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup

10 Photos
Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida
ca3b4019-26c5-4ce0-a844-5aac39e2c34b.jpg

Related Galleries

Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida

16 Photos