You’ve probably heard that 2018 is going to be a massive, make or break, year for blockchain technologies (and as such their cryptocurrency derivatives such as Bitcoin and Etherium). Whether blockchain is a success will largely hinge upon the necessariness of its uses.
Think, for instance, of products that have revolutionized a marketplace to a point it can no longer do without a given technology. Apple revolutionarily announcement of the pen-less touch iPhone is one example. Does blockchain have applications that will change industries forever? Many think so. But one that is potentially being overlooked in the cryptocurrency mania of the moment is its application in smart contracts. Smart contracts could be a deal maker.
What are smart contracts
For a really great overview of everything smart contracts related - head over to this blog at Blockgeeks.com. But for those who don’t have time to wade through blockchain script and thousands of words - stick with me for a quick run through.
Effectively, smart contracts are a digital record of a legal contract that would normally be dealt with on paper that is stored across a blockchain network. The contract is seamlessly stored in the cloud of computers and as it uses blockchain technology, no middlemen are needed to certify the contract or handle it. The tech can be used forever contract imaginable including property, money, shares, a supply chain etc.
Why are they important?
So why does this matter? Well, as mentioned before contracts are usually handled by middlemen (lawyers etc). This isn’t the case with blockchain smart contracts and means that the solution could be significantly cheaper than current contract ratification. It is also incredibly safe (as blockchain requires every network to validate a contract they are free from being digitally altered). As they are digitally entered - their accuracy is significantly higher. No humans means no human errors!
There are a lot of different industries that look likely to benefit from smart contracts - meaning smart contract developers are in for a huge 2018. Some of the industries that might benefit include:
- Real estate - The tech cuts out costly contract writing.
- Elections and Politics - Smart contracts mean UNRIGGABLE elections. The ledger is stored on the network and would require altering at all terminals - an impossible task - to manually change the voters decision. This idea might have seemed like a nonstarter in 2016, but with mounting evidence of Russia’s involvement in the US election, it’s something to consider.
- Healthcare - People personalized healthcare records could be secured on a digital ledger. This would be incredibly useful for insurance purposes - where medical insurance companies could automatically receive details of surgeries etc.
- Supply chain and logistics - This has been heralded as low hanging fruit for blockchain. Want to know where that diamond ACTUALLY came from? Smart contracts can do just that by producing a digital record of an item's movement across the world.