This is the fourth post in a five-part blog series focused on future trends in business.

Most people have heard about blockchain, either in the news, in a conversation or on social media. Many recognize the term but could not explain what it is. Blockchain was originally created for Bitcoin, a digital currency, but now is the backbone of a new internet. The technology allows digital information to be distributed and not copied which has led to blockchain to be called “digital gold” as well as factors such as its durability and robustness. It cannot be controlled by a single entity and has no single point of failure. This leads to an utter transparency of data and it being incorruptible. All these positive sides of blockchain have led it to become a large benefit to businesses in the future.

A few ways blockchain has proven to be an asset to businesses include:

Business and Smart Contracts: Blockchain is a financially secure way to store information making it unchangeable. The contracts also allow users to receive information without viewing the sensitive information. Additionally, it lowers costs of a financial transaction by cutting out the middleman.

Transactions: Blockchain allows transactions of many types such as salary payments through the use of cryptocurrency as well as international transactions. This also allows international companies to ease the payment to their employees overseas. This payroll service is called Bitwage and helps rid companies of fees associated with international transfers.

Taxes: Taxes are something not many people enjoy due to their time consuming, cumbersome nature. Blockchain offers a process to help automate it entirely. This can lead to the prevention of human error, time-saving and faster refunds. Additionally, since information is unalterable in blockchain, it allows for easier tracking making audits utterly seamless.

Insurance Claims and Titles: In today’s day and age, companies hold multiple types of insurance from liability to worker’s compensation. Blockchain allows for companies to ensure accuracy in their claims as well as allow for quicker settlements. Insurance companies additionally benefit due to the cut down of duplicate claims being filed. Car and land titles can also be filed through blockchain. It is an efficient system due to effortless authentication of identity and a quicker processing time.

Voting: Bitshares, another application involved in blockchain, allows for electronic voting in a fast, efficient, decentralized and flexible model.

Cloud Storage: The majority of people who own a form of electronics whether it is a phone, tablet or laptop has struggled with running out of storage, usually at the most inconvenient of times. Blockchain has created another application to help aid users of this problem called Storj. The application is still in beta-testing but it is working to use the excess hard drive space users have to store over 300 times what a traditional cloud holds.

A little over ten years ago blockchain was a mere idea in an individual’s head and today it impacts so many aspects of individual’s lives and businesses day to day operations. Blockchain is predicted to continue testing out new extensions to their industry aiming to benefit many in an endless supply of ways.

Click here for the third post in this series.

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