By Emily Houghton, Industry Marketing Lead, NetSuite Oracle
Blockchain and cryptocurrency: the beloved buzzwords of the technology world. Due to their radical potential, these emerging technologies have been shrouded in doubt and confusion. Yet, even as awareness and adoption have steadily grown in recent years, many experts venture to call this silent revolution the fastest growing digital technology since the internet.
With their inception in 2008, bitcoin (a type of cryptocurrency) and blockchain (bitcoin’s underlying technology) have largely been pioneered by the financial services industry for simplifying and speeding up payments that have traditionally been expensive and complex. But these distributed ledger technologies go beyond finance. For any transaction where traceability and transparency are required, the two concepts offer compelling solutions. Their potential for health care, supply chain and retail, and government to name a few, make the technologies both exciting and timely.
Think about the way in which patient data is stored and transferred between providers. While the use of electronic health records is prevalent, there exists little protocol on data sharing, and often there are challenges with security and interoperability. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize this process and reduce costs, by removing transactional intermediaries, implementing smart contracts, and creating a distributed framework for patient’s digital identities. For example, Cambridge Consultants, a development firm, has designed an open market trading platform for drug price negotiation that's based on a public blockchain.