Will Blockchain Make the World a Safer Place?
The importance of blockchain according to American entrepreneur, Marc Andreessen is that it
Once the node receives the block, the transactions are verified, timestamped and added to the chain of transactional blocks in a chronological order that makes up the entire history of all transactions through that particular currency or field. All the transactions are kept in an open ledger, so that anyone at any time can see what transactions have occurred, meaning that there’s a concrete record of what you’ve transferred or received. There is total transparency and there’s pretty much total security. If a hacker wanted to change a transaction, in let’s say Bitcoin, they would have to hack a particular block or ledger on all 8,048 Bitcoin computers simultaneously.
Blockchain has been most associated with financial services thanks to its cryptocurrency inception, and one immediate application of blockchain would be in bringing down the cost of remittances. In 2016, an estimated $575 billion was remitted, of which $429 billion was to developing countries. The average fee for sending $200 was 7.45%, a total of just under $43 billion a year in transaction fees. Now visualise a blockchain service where immigrants can send money home, where these fees are fractions of a percent.
If we look at any given purchase, say a pint of beer from your local pub, which you pay for with your Visa card. The transaction goes through Visa, a merchant processing company, then your bank, then the pub’s bank – and unsurprisingly, at each step the middlemen take a fee. Now, if you are dealing directly with the pub, you transfer money from your digital wallet to theirs; this transaction is uploaded to the global digital ledger on everyone’s computers and the cost is infinitesimal.
If we turn to democracy and elections, if every voter received a digital token to vote with, when that vote is cast the token would be transferred to the chosen candidate and recorded in the blockchain, meaning voter fraud becomes virtually impossible. US start-up, Votem is trying to disrupt voting by making it both secure and accessible on mobile phones, meaning a boost to voter turnout, lower costs, greater security and accuracy and global accessibility for emigres. All underpinned by blockchain technology.
All anyone needs to be connected to a blockchain is a phone, and over five billion people on the planet currently have one.