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Since its very early beginning as a darling child of the cypherpunk community and the most niche recesses of the internet, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology, have steadily grown to tantalize, impress, and win over entirely the wider world, including large enterprises, financial institutions, and governments. It has received praise directly from top technology companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple.

This change of opinion is likely due to the fact that the applications of crypto have become far more varied and significant than initially thought. Today, non-financial and more service-oriented applications are increasingly growing in relevance and will likely continue to do so over the next few years.

Similarly, the versatility of smart contracts and decentralization has convinced giants such as Walmart and Samsung to budget significant sums of money towards the research and development of blockchain technology. There is evidence that institutional investment is increasing at a remarkable pace, as suggested by a report from Grayscale investment trust.

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In the following article, we examine the features of blockchain technology and how various industries are leveraging its benefits and maximizing its potential.

Removing the Middlemen with Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are programmable contracts, which execute when a set of predefined conditions are met. This computerized method of verifying agreements between parties, as well as resolving disputes fairly without the intervention of humans, has benefits in almost every industry because it can remove the middlemen in a process. It essentially makes existing processes faster and cheaper, while eliminating the likelihood of human error.

Insurance is the perfect example of an industry where smart contracts can excel. Insurance providers can quickly register buyer data on a blockchain to ensure that policy details are permanently stored. The records, being tamper-proof, are protected against fraud. Paperwork is also reduced to a minimum — benefitting all parties involved.

The immutability, security, and transparency of blockchain and smart contract technologies similarly benefit several other industries, including cross-border payments, real estate, supply chain, and advertising. Smart contracts is undoubtedly the technology’s strongest feature after the underlying blockchain itself.

End-to-End Traceability on Demand

Blockchain has proven to be very effective in the supply chain industry, offering a significant step up in terms of transparency and efficiency for the industry. Even though supply chains are a critical element in the world’s trade system, the industry is still utilizing legacy systems and plagued with issues that can be solved through automation. This is why tech giant IBM has partnered with the likes of Maersk, a shipping giant, to launch a blockchain-based shipping solution to make supply chains more efficient and secure.

Supply chain solutions have been repeatedly mentioned in multiple reports on the blockchain industry, partially because it stacks well with technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). Many solutions that involve both blockchain tech and hardware like heat sensors and RFID chips are currently being implemented and deployed to a warm welcome by existing industries. An example of this is in the shipping of dairy products and wine. Users can read data about temperature and authenticity in real-time via an app that pulls data from the blockchain. Walmart also announced a pilot program for a blockchain-based logistics system in September 2018, while Apple has made its own suggestions.

No More Fraud

Blockchains are highly secure, well encrypted, transparent, and immutable. Given that all participants can access records written to a blockchain and that it cannot be altered (without an impractical amount of resources), blockchains avoid many instances of fraud that otherwise plague in traditional payments systems.

In fact, Chile’s Santiago Exchange has specifically mentioned blockchain technology with respect to fraud reduction and improved efficiency. Banks all over the world are reviewing the technology for similar reasons.

In 2019, the potential for further application of blockchain technology is tangible. Developers and crypto evangelists have made their belief that the field is only just starting extremely vocal of late. Perhaps within the near future, we will see blockchain become more of a household phrase.

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The Ever-Increasing Potential of Blockchain Technology was originally published in Cryptocurrency Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.