Blockchain is still a relatively new term. In the context of crypto, blockchain has been thrown around enough times that it now equates to crypto in the minds of many people.
According to the 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index report by Chainalysis, the adoption of digital assets in the MENA region has grown 48 per cent compared to the previous year. The data further states that MENA-based users received $566 billion in cryptocurrency from July 2021 to June 2022. Within the GCC, the UAE and Saudi Arabia rank as central hubs, advocating crypto adoption and acceptance.
While crypto is a big part of the blockchain, the latter is a breakthrough technology beyond crypto. Blockchain represents an emerging tech infrastructure changing how industries and economies function amid a data and digital revolution. In simple terms, blockchain is a publicly accessible ledger of information and transactions.
It has created a world where all contracts can become digitally anchored and stored in seamless, shared databases that are safe from deletion and tampering. Most people don’t realize that blockchain is not just about payments and crypto solutions, but rather has a broader impact on various industries such as healthcare, supply-chain management, cybersecurity, government operations, real estate, ecommerce, and more.
The main reason blockchain has rapidly become pervasive across industries is because of the data security it provides organizations and users. Data unfortunately, it is not as secure as you think. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021 alone. FTC data further showed that around 14.4 million people fell victim to identity fraud, which roughly translates to about 1 in 15 people.
A secure storage
With massive data breaches taking place across prominent organizations such as Meta, securing private data has never been more important. With blockchain, institutions and governments can place important documents like national IDs, certificates, wills and deeds, and licenses all in a single secure, encrypted yet public domain. Switzerland has already dabbled in digital IDs built on the Ethereum blockchain. It probably won’t be too long before we see the UAE also taking the same steps.
Healthcare is another significant sector that has been transformed by blockchain technology. The lack of a secure platform to store and share data is one of the main challenges facing hospitals and medical clinics. Outdated infrastructure means healthcare facilities and data remain vulnerable to hackers who misuse private health data on a regular basis.
This is where blockchain technology can provide a secure space for sensitive data like medical records and history to be safely stored and shared among authorized professionals and patients. In fact, IBM has already ventured into this space with their very own Digital Health Pass, which enables organizations to verify health credentials for employees, customers and visitors.
Along with healthcare, industries that have further boomed with blockchain are the e-commerce and retail industries, becoming more efficient by lowering costs and tightening the security of transactions. Ecommerce giants such as Walmart, Amazon, and Alibaba have begun exploring blockchain technology with the latter even having patented a blockchain-based transaction system in Brazil in March 2020. In the UAE, we have also seen various retailers and hotels giving their customers a crypto payment alternative.
Make payments transparent
The blockchain technology can help governments, businesses and individuals tackle some of our most pressing socio-economic challenges such as unemployment and corruption. For example, governments and educational institutions can utilize blockchain in record-keeping with respect to student loans, adding to governments’ efforts to shift to a paperless and accessible system. Similarly, ports and logistics operators across the world have been using blockchain to tamper-proof shipment tracking and create a seamless supply chain operation.
Another interesting use case this year has been the recording and tracking of charitable donations. Blockchain can be incorporated into philanthropic organizations and NGOs to increase levels of transparency and authenticity.
Even with these emerging use cases, we need to understand that blockchain hasn’t shown its full potential yet. We are still at the early stages of adoption, with a long road ahead of us involving much-needed education and in-depth understanding. Slowly, organizations, economies and people will realize the value, inclusion and solutions blockchain provides to the masses.
Till then, it is all a matter of time and patience for the world to start unlocking blockchain.