Blockchain technology is often associated with cryptocurrency — but it doesn’t have to be. The revolutionary technology that powers Bitcoin and other virtual currencies has a number of other applications, which is why more and more businesses are using it to resolve specific problems in their fields.
The technology makes it easy to share information securely, speed up transactions, and store data. As more and more industries become data-driven, there are tremendous implications for any technology that makes it easier to share data. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask yourself what the blockchain can do for your business.
What is blockchain?
In some ways, blockchain is comparable to a gigantic database. It’s often referred to as a ledger because it’s commonly used to keep records of transactions. However, the technology can be used to record any blocks of data, from medical information to financial records. Blockchains are immutable, which means that once data is stored, it can’t be deleted or altered. And because the blockchain is based on encryption, it’s difficult for hackers to target, making it a highly secure option for storing important data.
Using blockchain technology as a business tool
Blockchain technology can build automation into just about any procedure that revolves around data sharing and verification. The Ethereum blockchain is already being widely used for smart contracts, which automate payment for a product or service as soon as the terms of a contract have been met. Now, businesses are using blockchain to help make payments, verify identities, and transfer documents.
What are some uses of the blockchain?
Underwriters have begun using blockchain to speed up the process of assessing customer risk and determining coverage.
Risk assessment is at the heart of what insurance companies do. Deciding on the level of risk that a customer poses is what allows insurance providers to cover as wide a group of customers as possible. But to correctly calibrate risk levels, underwriters need to have access to a very broad range of data. This includes medical data on the customer, family history, and information about the customer’s lifestyle and behaviors.
Using traditional methods, this process can be very cumbersome and time-consuming. It takes time to obtain data and the requisite permission to access that data. Blockchain, however, can dramatically speed up the process of getting access to data, thereby speeding up the whole underwriting process.
Blockchain can also bring greater transparency to the process and improve trust, since all parties that have access to the blockchain have eyes into when and how data is accessed.
Transferring money across borders has always been a complex undertaking. Putting funds into the right accounts in the right country at the right time, so that payments can flow from one currency to another, is a major operation. Fluctuating exchange rates and the need to simultaneously update banking records in several countries just add more pieces to an already difficult puzzle.
Some global payment solutions firms have begun using the blockchain to expedite the process of transferring money. The blockchain can serve as a bridge between two currencies so that payments are seamlessly paid out and received in the correct currency, right away. As our world grows ever more globalized and interdependent, it seems likely that there will be an ever greater demand for such technology.
Know Your Customer
Many in the insurance and banking fields are subject to Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations that require them to collect, validate, and verify documents so they can be certain of their customers’ identities. In the past, this has been a tedious and time-consuming procedure, and it can be alienating to customers. Just as importantly, the need to carry out such extensive due diligence imposes a real burden on institutions, both in terms of time and financial cost.
Enter the blockchain. With a blockchain network, documentation can be shared instantly with everyone who has access to the network. Because the blockchain is immutable, there are no concerns about documents being tampered with. The whole process of identity verification immediately becomes far speedier and smoother.
Navigating through the uses of any new technology can be challenging. But the challenge is ratcheted up a notch when the new technology is something like the blockchain, which tends to be both widely discussed and poorly understood. There are endless rumors and theories in circulation about the blockchain. It can be hard to sift out the truth from the fiction.
That’s why it’s so important to work with a professional organization that truly understands the field. Skeps is a technology layer that connects merchants/sellers and their customers with the financing services they need. Skeps has experience enabling businesses to use the blockchain to improve their services.
Contact us today or request a demo to learn more about what blockchain technology can do for your business.