Last year the Covid pandemic took the whole world by surprise and nearly everyone in the business world had to scramble to catch up. The industries that were able to pivot the fastest were the ones that had a breadth of technology at their fingertips. These weren’t necessarily the industries with the most sophisticated and advanced technology, but the ones that had software which was flexible and nimble enough to meet the needs across entire organizations even if some departments hadn’t been relying on it as much prior to the pandemic.
The biggest trend I see coming is in the world of blockchain. This is the year blockchain will become known as more than just a cryptocurrency application. Thus far it is practically synonymous with the term Bitcoin, but the potential applications for blockchain reach far beyond what most consumers are familiar with.
There has already been ample press about how blockchain can be used to improve supply chains by making them more efficient and ensuring the goods are authentic, but the extra levels of security it provides also lends itself well to storing documents, contracts and all other types of digital transactions.
This is what we were working on at ShelterZoom before the pandemic hit and when it became clear businesses were going to have to shift rapidly to working remotely our document management platform saw a strong uptick in subscribers and overall interest. What we heard over and over again was its blockchain-based security gave companies peace of mind for managing all their sensitive information.
Another area where blockchain will show its strength is with limiting the massive amount data pollution we generate on a daily basis. Current estimates suggest at least 44 zettabytes of data exist in the world and by 2025 the world will create over 450 exabytes of data every day. This growth is unsustainable. If we develop a digital universe where blockchain underpins the information we create, we won’t have to duplicate the same information repeatedly—such as the case of sending documents to a group of people who all download it individually and then re-upload it once they have made their changes. This, and all the other times we send data-heavy files only to have multiple copies downloaded, create an unnecessary amount of data pollution that the world will have to reckon with sooner rather than later. When blockchain becomes trusted as the source of truth the world won’t have to resort to cumbersome data generation.
My biggest hope for this year is that the pandemic starts to recede into the distance as something that is no longer the substantial threat it has been. But I also hope that business don’t go back to the way they were before the pandemic. We all learned how to work remotely, and how that can continue over the longterm, but we need to put best practices in place so all the digital tools don’t mean we have to sacrifice security. Blockchain is one way to make that happen and I see 2021 as the year blockchain makes an even bigger name for itself.