Blockchain: Disruption Beyond Bitcoin
With so many industries facing disruption from the blockchain revolution, it’s easy to see how any lawyer can benefit from learning more about this emerging technology
Many recent grads and lawyers in transition ask me the same question: What will give my legal career an edge? How can I best succeed? Becoming an expert in an emerging problem, technology, or trend is an excellent way to stand out, access interesting opportunities, and ultimately succeed. By focusing on an emerging technology, you can reach career opportunities that would otherwise be outside your reach. As a young lawyer, I have also found that focusing on emerging topics liberates my legal career from being defined by my age.
Blockchain is an emerging technology that any lawyer should highly consider understanding. Blockchain technology is predicted to be the most disruptive technology since the advent of the internet. While blockchain technology is most known for its role in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, there are also various sectors that will be affected as well.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology may radically change the way we manage transactions — of all kinds, not just financial transactions. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology. The technology consists of digital records and encrypted (cryptographically hashed) data stored in the form of blocks in the blockchain.
The ledger is not under any control and operates by consensus. This is different from a regular transaction ledger that is maintained by one entity (e.g., a bank) and audited by another entity (e.g., a reliable intermediary). Blockchain permits all parties to have a copy of the ledger and verify the status of the transaction.
Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive explanation of blockchain technology, but a brief overview is helpful to understand its impact on different industries. This technology provides the transparent, decentralized, safe, and efficient transactions among organizations. It may upset many industries and field in the upcoming years.
Banking and Payments
Blockchain technology has been tested and implemented by the financial industry to reduce costs and improve the inefficiencies in the operation of financial transactions. Many believe that blockchain will do the same thing to banks that the internet did to media. Bitcoin, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency, helps millions of people around the world to have access to financial services. It also allows people to transfer money across borders instantly with relatively low charges. Some banks like Barclays are now working on adopting blockchain technology to improve their business operations and make them more secure.
Blockchain data is confirmed and encrypted using complex cryptography. This makes the data less exposed to hackers or alteration without authorization. It is not hard to imagine that blockchain will affect and may become a part of security technology. Data breaches are a nearly inevitable challenge for every company, so security solutions are in high demand and effective solutions are more than welcome.
Blockchain may change the process of research, processing, analysis, and forecasting. This technology can be used to place and monitor bets on any platform — from sports to stocks — in a decentralized manner.
Blockchain technology may illuminate the need for paper-based recordkeeping. This may be used for real estate recordkeeping because it helps to track and confirm ownership, ensure the accuracy of documents, and streamline property transfers.
The health-care sector may also be affected by blockchain technology. Health care facilities such as hospitals have issues storing and sharing data with one another efficiently to facilitate a much-needed dialogue among stakeholders and streamline data sharing. Yet they fail to do so securely and are regular victims of breaches. Blockchain technology may help patients and authorized health-care professionals safely store and share data. It may improve data security and allow for faster and more accurate diagnoses, more efficient treatment, and improved outcomes.
With so many industries facing disruption from the blockchain revolution, it’s easy to see how any lawyer can benefit from learning more about this emerging technology. Whether in-house or at a law firm, lawyers who gain expertise in blockchain technology may be rewarded with access to exciting opportunities across all industries for years to come.