Applications and Use Cases

Blockchain's Potential Extends Well Beyond Cryptocurrency

July 22, 2021

Most people have heard of cryptocurrency or at the very least, Bitcoin. Fewer people understand how blockchain, the distributed ledger system that provides the platform for cryptocurrency transactions, works. And fewer still know that blockchain is about much more than cryptocurrency, and has the potential to transform the financial system along with a host of other vertical markets.

Blockchain has become virtually synonymous with cryptocurrency. But the core of the technology is about providing a decentralized ledger to record and distribute information in a manner that ensures it is verified and validated for every party using it. That provides a level of accountability simply not possible with traditional, centralized solutions.

Because blockchain provides a transparent, validated chain of custody, it is an extremely secure and reliable way to track any type of data. The technology has potential applications well beyond financial services with use cases already underway in the supply chain industry, governments and municipalities, the media and healthcare.

One of the key benefits of blockchain-based solutions is the ability to verify provenance. The New York Times is using blockchain to track metadata through their News Provenance Project. The endeavor seeks to diminish the spread of misinformation while empowering readers to make more confident judgments about online news. Blockchain is used to track metadata like sources and edits for news photos, offering transparency and context about when and how content is created.

The Project, which is being conducted in tandem with IBM, is all about fostering trust among readers. According to its website, "We chose blockchain because its data structure can help maintain a transparent and immutable record of a photo’s origins: when, where and by whom it was taken, who published it and how it has been used across a network of news organizations."

Of course blockchain has applications in media beyond verifying photo information. The technology has the potential to verify and maintain online identities and reputations in both traditional and social media. That has significant ramifications particularly in social media, where an article might be republished dozens of times and in dozens of iterations. A blockchain solution could verify the identify of the content creator as well as assess their reputation for accuracy.

With myriad applications and uses globally, blockchain is steadily making a name for itself outside the world of cryptocurrency. As the technology proves itself as a reliable system for transparency and accountability, it is poised to grow and evolve to adapt to changing needs driven by a world in digital transformation.

Edited by Luke Bellos



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