Impact of Blockchain Disruption–Why all the hype?
Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies have led many mainstream media outlets to feature articles on what they called a massively transformative and disruptive technology – Blockchain. Numerous blockchain enthusiasts believe blockchain (the underlying technology behind Bitcoin) will change the world by changing almost everything we do. Others believe it is just a lot of inflated expectations and promises that, in the long run, won’t have much impact at all. The Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market is driving a lot of the current interest in blockchain where many speculators have made and lost tons of money betting on new cryptocurrency offerings. Unfortunately, many of those have been proven to be fraudulent scams. However, for many legitimate reasons, in the healthcare and financial and technical space (fintech), blockchain is definitely the new buzzword.
Because of these expectations, there is a massive amount of press and hype around this exciting technology. Many predictions are made about its revolutionary impact, including the claim that blockchain is a cultural and technological disruptor as big as or bigger than the internet. Businesses and governments as well as individual consumers are becoming educated and excited around the potential promise of blockchain technology. It has even been called the “death of the middle man”.
One example of the early blockchain opportunities comes from market research firm Frost and Sullivan who recently projected some large Blockchain opportunities for addressing problems in four areas with their prediction that 1 in 6 business would have blockchain applications by the end of 2017.
- Supply Chain – 1/3 of all food produced globally is wasted. $600 Billion in fraud in global trade annually7
- Government – An estimated 1.5 Billion people have no legal proof of identity or birth
- Healthcare – Sharing data across organizations could save $93 Billion over 5 years in the US alone and save an additional $200 Billion on counterfeit drugs sold globally.
- Financial – Banks spend $200 Billion on regulatory compliance per year with 15% of banks expected to have blockchain applications
Blockchain’s claims of highly enhanced privacy, transparency, security and speed are the big drivers in the rush to add many business and government processes to blockchain. Its proponents believe it is a major move to the new trustless future inherent in blockchain. Blockchain is based on some complicated math and cryptography, which may be hard to grasp for the layman. But the good news is that you don’t need to understand everything about what is under the blockchain hood! Just like you don’t need to know about HTTP, HTML, and Internet Protocol to surf the internet or send emails or use Facebook or Instagram etc., unless you are a developer, you don’t need to understand the math behind blockchain.
Because of HIPAA concerns for privacy and security, healthcare is one very promising use case for the blockchain revolution. Considering the blockchain technologies formidable claims of highly enhanced safety and security and basically un-hackable data protections, there are many current and future healthcare applications we will explore later.