How Blockchain is Transforming Canada

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One of the biggest questions we get a BitCanuck, is getting a clearer understanding of Blockchain, and how it can be applied in a variety of contexts.

What is Blockchain? 

Blockchain, at the end of the day, is a list of records.

From a business perspective, with most of the organizations building their lists, the huge opportunity offered by blockchain is driven by the specific nature of the blockchain record keeping.

One major difference between blockchain and the typical database, from a record keeping perspective, is that once recorded, the data in a block cannot be modified retroactively.

This leads to the idea that the blockchain maintains what we could call “a single version of the truth” and maintains this historically from the first block and any additional new block that is created after. To change one block will lead to changes to subsequent blocks and through the current development, adoption, increased number of users, this becomes more and more unlikely and virtually impossible.

Proving this true has become currently one of the bottlenecks of the blockchain adoption that from a design perspective, an business person would want to employ processes where he or she was absolutely positive that alterations of records were not possible.

The immediate wider use of the blockchain in business could be driven by the understanding, as well as the enforcement of this requirement: “Absolutely positively no alterations of records are possible”

Case studies

  1. Maintenance in the Industrial Context. Use of blockchain in mission-critical industrial applications is a huge opportunity. For examplepreventive and predictive maintenance activities that if not performed could lead to catastrophic failures is an excellent case study. The requirement is to ensure accountability of responsible departments for the execution of such activities, on time. Another requirement is to make sure that accidents are being investigated in order to prevent re-occurrence.With some organizations having a “cover-up culture”, implementation of record keeping data that cannot be altered brings credibility to the investigative process and lessons learned, that otherwise will be based on altered data.
  1. Enterprise Asset Management. We can see blockchain being used in asset management applications. Imagine that an asset is under warranty by the manufacturer, however certain conditions must be met in order to claim repairs under the warranty program. From an insurance perspective, the company providing insurance or warranty for the asset needs to know with certainty that those conditions were met. On the other hand, the user should be in a situation that once all conditions were demonstrated that the asset was maintained and met all specified conditions, that those documents are not altered than the asset should be covered. In this way, both parties are protected.

  1. Record keeping in Healthcare.There are thousands of different electronic medical records systems used worldwide. In the city of Boston alone there are 26 different systems  With people traveling all over the world, the ability to access patient records in the shortest possible time, by trained professionals, with the patient consent, can make the difference between life or death. Many questions are still not fully answered which is ultimately leading to slower adoption:

– Is it valuable and can it make a difference, for example, for a doctor to see the entire list of allergies of an unconscious patient brought to ER?

– Can the need for privacy be resolved while having this data available?

– Can a reference blockchain system be developed to create the “next generation” of medical record keeping that is available to any trained professional worldwide who interacts with any patient who provides consent to access the data.

– Can we confident that this data will not be abused such as situations where insurance may not be provided?

We hope that this introduction to Blockchain has been helpful. It is exciting times, and cryptocurrency is just the beginning.