We recently published an article about blockchain-esque technology and its uses for a couple sectors. What we mean by “blockchain-esque” is that tracking, ownership of goods, etc. can be traced through an open database. This “database”, some might call it the world’s largest filing cabinet, can be utilised by everyone. For example: If you buy a new pair of Nike’s and you want to know where they came from and if they were created ethically.
Also Read: All About: The Blockchain Part Four
However, this kind of technology can be implemented in a lot of other sectors. Some of the obvious positive contributions this kind of system provides are: tracking products from manufacturing to destination and who buys said product, combatting fake products and creates a transparent way of doing business in general.
Insurance, Cars, and Police Force
The blockchain offers a lot more for everyday uses and security. The blockchain technology is such a versatile tool that it can be used with every kind of database and data storage. One of these everyday uses is for insurance purposes. The blockchain-esque technology can store who has which kind of insurance or if a person has an insurance. Now some insurance types are more suitable than others. For example, it might be interesting for the insurance company to know what kind of fire insurance person X has.
Car insurance is a better kind of insurance where blockchain technology could be very beneficial; especially when the person’s car and other information are linked to it. That way police can check with a couple of keystrokes if owner paid his or her car insurance and if said insurance is linked to that particular vehicle.
This kind of database will generate an additional positive aspect for the police force, who is being questioned about their profiling. With this blockchain-esque database at their disposal, they can check the car registration number and see if everything matches. If said car does not conform with the data on the blockchain, a stop would be warranted. That also negates certain profiling methods that can be viewed a racially biased. For example: pulling over a driver of a Mercedes because of “skin colour”.
By integrating these blockchain-esque technologies and also linking them together, the police will have an easier time to identify real threats. Today, the police forces have to just “go with their gut feeling” or falling back to some fairly out-dated profiling methods (which can be wrong at times). They also have access to limited data that may or may not be up-to-date. The Blockchain-like technology can enhance and better show the information.
An apt example where the blockchain could have prevented a lot of trouble for a lady in the Netherlands was during a routine police stop. According to the documentation she hadn’t paid the car insurance. The police didn’t believe her that she did pay for her car insurance; even when she showed them the bank transfer data. Nevertheless she got booked and spent a night in jail because “she was acting very aggressive toward the police”. Now if said police had access to the aforementioned blockchain-like technology, it would be quite clear that said lady did in fact paid her car insurance but that the paperwork was delayed.
Yes We Can; But Should We?
Whistle-blowers like Snowden and others have shown us that governments have the uncanny ability to be “data hoarders.” Blockchain technology at its core promotes transparency and openness, so how do we protect certain data?
One option is to go for some kind of the so-called “multi-signature” option, where certain parties have their keys and accessibility is based on democratic principles. This means that there needs to be a majority of the group that allows access. For example: the insurance company has a key, the police have a key, you have a key, the government has a key and the company that offers their blockchain technology has a key. That way, if information is requested, every “key holder” can respond with a “yes” or “no” vote (this can be implemented in different ways).
It does seem like an elegant way of doing things but reality is a lot messier. Most of us will see a huge problem with said fictitious system. The government and police force will “work together” to get said information and maybe convince (or make some kind of law) that companies have to share said data with them unconditionally.
So some tough questions that we will face in the near future will be: We can implement said structure, or a more complex one in our everyday lives; but because we can should we do it? Aren’t we going to progress to some kind of Orwellian future where governments know everything about everybody if we aren’t careful? Who should have access to our data and should we have some kind of “veto” to deny some “party or other key holder” from accessing our data? Will that action not provoke some kind of retaliation, especially when said person denies a governmental organisation access?
Regardless of the possible 1984 scenario that may or may not come to pass, these are quite exciting times for Bitcoin and the blockchain technology. There are nearly infinite uses for blockchain technology in our everyday lives; from tracking your luggage to verifying the origin of products.
There are even some start-ups in the crypto community that are currently looking toward blockchain-esque solutions for all kinds of problems, like combating counterfeit products. Whatever the future may hold, we will have to answer some very hard questions concerning privacy, transparency, accessibility, openness, etc. and how all that fits in an everyday setting.
How would you address the problem between private and information sharing?
Image 1 link:whatishomeimprovement.com
Image 2 link: www.enhancedinsurance.com
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