One of the most talked-about tech trends over the last few years, blockchain has been just about everywhere in the news and in all kinds of circles. Like many other technological trends, it didn’t receive as much attention in the news during 2020 as the pandemic took up the headlines. However, development and research into blockchain technology have persisted.
The last year has seen more businesses around the world adopting and making use of this technology across a wide range of industries and sectors. In this article, we are going into more detail on what blockchain is and the emerging blockchain business trends of 2022.
What Is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain is still relatively new. Although it was developed in 1991, it wasn’t until 2009 that it first saw application in Bitcoin. Since then, blockchain technology has been adapted to be used in a variety of different ways, not just in cryptocurrency.
The most basic definition of blockchain is that it is a database used to store information. However, unlike a standard database, it’s kept more secure due to encryption and decentralization. Being centralized means that the network is available across many different locations while still being maintained at all times. This means that modifications must be approved by all holders of the blockchain, meaning that it can’t be tampered with.
The blockchain is so-called because, unlike a traditional database where all of the information is stored in one place, the blockchain is literally a chain of blocks. With so many copies dispersed over so many sites, all maintained up-to-date at the same time, modifications to the data can only be made when everyone agrees it’s the right thing to do.
This relatively new approach of organizing and securing data can be used anywhere where there is a need for a shared database that can be accessed and used by multiple people or organizations. One way to look at it is that the data’s security is guaranteed by cryptography and mathematics, rather than having to rely on the trustworthiness of whoever has the data at any particular time. This makes it ideal for establishing trustless systems and is one of the reasons why it’s so useful for financial transactions.
The trustless aspect of blockchain is what makes cryptocurrency so interesting. Users no longer have to put their trust in banks or financial services and get to have full control of their funds. This has led to the rising use of cryptocurrency for online payments, which offer more security, ease of use, and faster transfers than traditional payment services. The popularity of crypto for online payments was researched by Scanteam to find the most common payment trends.
Blockchain in Business Trends
Outside of finance, blockchain has many different applications, and it has the potential to revolutionize the way many organizations do business. Companies should be aware of what blockchains can do and the current trends to avoid getting left behind by the competition.
Here are some of the biggest trends in blockchain technology and innovation that are expected to make a big difference in 2022 and beyond. Crypto to watch 2022 will offer services in the following areas:
One of the first established uses of blockchain technology was in simplifying online payments. Bitcoin was one of the first applications built on blockchain technology, with the original cryptocurrency being created in 2009. Through establishing a decentralized network, Bitcoin allows users to send funds to anyone in the world for minimal fees, removing middlemen and allowing for fast and secure payments. One of the best features of using cryptocurrency to make payments is that it’s entirely trustless and traceable because the entire list of transactions can be viewed by anyone.
Other cryptocurrencies have emerged over the years, including Ethereum, Litecoin, and many more. This form of online payment has become remarkably popular with consumers and businesses, and many major businesses now accept cryptocurrency payments. By facilitating cross-border and remittance payments, blockchain has the potential to reduce costs, speed up transactions, and encourage broader financial inclusion. These ground-breaking innovations will change the way payments are made.
With financial blockchains, there’s no depositing money into a bank. Users buy cryptocurrency on an exchange and then keep their funds inside a digital wallet. The only way to get money is to utilize a private key that is kept on the user’s person at all times. In a world where banks are distrusted, having a non-custodial digital wallet that gives you complete access to your money at all times is a powerful selling point. This is especially true in nations where banks have gone bankrupt or in places where inflation is a major issue.
Additionally, blockchain can be used to establish decentralized finance platforms, giving consumers more choices over how they save, borrow and invest money. Many decentralized blockchain services offer users the chance to take out loans at low rates as well as earn high interest on their savings. Traditional financial services will need to be able to adapt to these blockchain trends if they want to retain a share of the market.
The provenance is a timeline of the ownership, custody, and placement of an object. The word was first applied to works of art, but it is now applied to a wide range of sectors, including archaeology, paleontology, archives, manuscripts, printed books, the circular economy, science, and computing. One of the most exciting areas of business growth using blockchain is in the supply chain management industry, where items need to be traced at every stage of their journey, and transparency is required.
This is particularly important in the healthcare industry, where blockchain can help healthcare organizations ensure that patient safety is at the forefront of the pharmaceutical supply chain. It has the capacity to instill trust in the validity and origin of medications in patients, for instance, with vaccines.
Two UK hospitals are also experimenting with expanding a blockchain system that is presently used to track the administration of chemotherapy medications to track the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccination. Internal sensors are installed in vaccine shipments to ensure that they do not exceed the minimum acceptable temperature. If they do, the blockchain is automatically updated with a permanent, non-erasable entry to ensure the medicines may be safely removed from the supply chain.
It can be used to establish a permanent and non-falsifiable record of where each batch was at any given time along the voyage. To do so at the speed required for global immunization to be effective, processes for demand forecasting, supply chain management, and authentication must be devised. Aside from vaccines and healthcare, blockchain business models focusing on provenance can also be used to track and verify food, luxury goods, and more.
Contracts and Dispute Resolution
A contract dispute arises when one or more of the contract’s terms or meanings are disputed by one or more of the contract’s parties. This could be because one of the contracting parties refuses to perform their contractual obligations or because one of the parties wants to be released from the contract. Disputes are usually rare, but when they do happen, they can be difficult and costly to resolve, often requiring a mediation service and potentially leading to court cases.
If a disagreement arises, blockchain can assist by stopping payments and triggering warnings that automate dispute resolution. Because of its transparent tracking capabilities, blockchain can assist in promptly resolving disputes and exposures in a secure manner.
The manner and form in which parties choose to resolve disputes, for example, can be integrated into a smart contract operating on a blockchain. Several legal technology start-ups have emerged in this space, notably the Miami Blockchain Group, which created the Smart Arbitration & Mediation Blockchain Application in 2018. This was the first blockchain for business created exclusively for the international dispute resolution community, with the goal of allowing users and arbitrators to conduct the whole arbitration process via blockchain, from commencing proceedings to distributing rewards.
Another example of how business trends in blockchain dispute resolution is in the payment of royalties or incentives. When it comes to issuing incentives or royalties, blockchain can make use of ‘multi-signature wallets.’ This technique is similar to escrow accounts, in which the arbitrator, in collaboration with the winning party, authorizes a transaction in their favor. As a result, enforcement may become easier because it can be carried out automatically, even if the losing party disputes the verdict.
Customer engagement refers to the continual interactions between a company and its customers. The encounters that qualify as an engagement are unique to the company, but they are frequently decided by the client. Customers’ emotional involvement in a brand can be strengthened by making it easier for them to participate in ways that they find worthwhile.
A common form of customer engagement is loyalty programs, which offer rewards to customers that regularly choose to purchase from them. Loyalty programs and reward schemes are used by a variety of businesses to encourage customer engagement and improve loyalty and retention. The usage of blockchain technology could prevent loyalty programs from becoming obsolete. With digital payments becoming the norm, consolidation of these programs is unavoidable, and blockchain will play a critical role in unlocking value in a fair and equitable manner for all parties involved.
Aside from loyalty programs, customer experience can be provided in other areas, such as with the use of digital wallets for payments. Users will be able to reclaim their credits whenever they want using digital wallets. Advertisers will use these data analytics to promote a comprehensive perspective of their client base in exchange. This will raise awareness of the new product and enhance sales.
Customers want a successful end-to-end experience, and after-sales support is a crucial factor in improving retention and increasing the value of each customer. Self-service is becoming increasingly popular, with customers opting for online assistance rather than calling customer care. When developed and configured appropriately, blockchain and cryptocurrency business trends can automate these transfers through digital wallets, providing customers with a simple and innovative experience.
Individuals control when, where, and with whom they exchange their credentials through decentralized identification. We take the exchange of credentials for granted in the real world, but a secure, smart means to do so has long been missing in the digital world.
During the Covid pandemic, many schools, universities, and other learning institutions moved to online classes. This raised an issue with how to properly authenticate and secure classes, and how to prove that students were who they say they were. Online authentication has been around for some time, but through a decentralized system, it can be much simpler and safer to use.
As the education sector accelerates its shift to digital learning, it is embracing new technologies with more zeal, freeing us all from inefficient, time-consuming paper-based credentialing processes that are so readily hacked. In other industries, ID verification can also be an issue. Password resets are costly, and new privacy requirements and other identity management difficulties cause businesses to divert resources away from their main business strategy.
One of the main examples of a decentralized ID system making use of blockchain technology is the IBM Verify Credentials system. IBM are business leaders and developed the Verify Credentials to allow known, trusted issuing companies to issue credentials to individuals as part of a worldwide, public blockchain ledger. Businesses in 2022 may see more applications of blockchain ID verification as security becomes more important than ever.