As blockchain technology continues to expand its reach, the endless opportunities to revolutionise our world have become evident. From streamlining financial transactions in banking and insurance to improving security for digital assets and smart contracts, this technology is set to transform the way we live.
At its core, blockchain is a decentralised system for securely storing digital information. This data can be anything from financial transactions to health records. The beauty of this is that it eliminates the need for traditional middlemen—such as banks or government agencies—to oversee and verify transactions. Instead, transactions are verified by a growing network of computers that work to maintain a reliable ledger of data.
Banking and financial services
One of the most exciting applications for blockchain is its potential impact in banking and finance. Banks can reduce costs associated with processing payments, increase data accuracy and transparency, and improve security - among other benefits. For example, Ripple’s xCurrent platform, a cross-border remittance solution, allows banks to process payments faster, cheaper, and more securely than ever before. Additionally, by utilising smart contracts, banks can automate various processes such as loan agreements or document storage, reducing paperwork and increasing efficiency.
Insurance and healthcare
Blockchain technology is also making waves in the insurance and health industry with its ability to help insurers process claims faster while maintaining data integrity. By leveraging distributed ledgers, network insurers can securely track customer information related to policies or medical records without having to rely on third-party services or vendors.
This increased security helps prevent fraud due to its immutability; once data has been entered into a distributed ledger it cannot be altered without being detected. This will eventually lead to more accurate claim-processing times and fewer fraudulent claims overall, benefiting both insurers and customers alike.
Middle East - a powerful use case
The Middle East and North Africa was the fastest-growing crypto market in 2022, according to a report by Chainalysis. Users in the region transacted $566 billion in cryptocurrency between July 2021 and June 2022 In 2016, the Dubai Blockchain Strategy was introduced. It combined the efforts of the Digital Dubai Office and the Dubai Future Foundation, with aims to make Dubai the first city fully powered by blockchain, based on three strategic pillars—industry creation, government efficiency, and international leadership.
Some successful use cases of blockchain in the region include the Dubai Police Department, which issued almost 4,000 missing passport certificates using a blockchain-enabled platform. The platform linked the police to Dubai Courts, the Public Prosecution, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, and not only streamlined the process for individuals but recorded the transactions more efficiently.
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) also jumped on the bandwagon in early 2022, launching the first advanced digital platform for data storage. The project - in collaboration with the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Dubai Healthcare City and other health authorities - aims to facilitate data storage and increase efficiency throughout the healthcare systems in the UAE.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is also setting a precedent for government organisations to implement blockchain. The RTA is working on a project on a vehicle lifecycle management system on a public ledger, which will provide open access to a transparent record of any vehicle’s history - from the manufacturer to the scrap yard.
This blockchain-based system will help boost transparency and trust in vehicle transactions, prevent disputes and lower the cost of services. It will eventually create streamlined and efficient systems applicable to any supply chain.
Only a matter of when
The Middle East has set a great example of how blockchain can be implemented to improve major industries. While often only associated with Bitcoin, blockchain technology has actually been around since the early 1990s.
However, the vast global interest in cryptocurrencies and NFTs helped shed light to the distributed ledger technology. Today, Walmart and Google are already using blockchain to streamline their supply chains and ensure the authenticity of their products. As the technology continues to develop and gain exposure, blockchain will be a part of our everyday lives- just like the internet.
It’s not a matter of if businesses, governments, and individuals need to start integrating blockchain, but when.