Technology · January 28, 2021

5 Blockchain Trends to Expect in 2021

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the need to find new ways of doing business, it's safe to say the future of blockchain is no longer emerging—it's here and well-established.

The distributed ledger technology will likely continue to prove its relevance in all aspects of business in 2021. It may even make inroads into industries where it hasn't yet seen widespread adoption. Here are five key areas where business owners can expect blockchain applications to expand.

1 Managing the COVID-19 crisis

The biggest news of 2021 will undoubtedly be the rollout and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, the use of blockchain to organize and protect personal and medical information could see significant growth in the year ahead. Government agencies and the medical industry will work together to share test results, track COVID-19 cases and manage the vaccine. Blockchain can provide a secure, traceable repository for all the different data points and supply chain steps to ensure a smooth vaccine distribution plan.

For other businesses, blockchain can help employees get back to work. Because blockchain is a decentralized system, there's no single source to hack. That means businesses that choose to take temperatures and conduct employee COVID-19 tests can store that personal medical information without fear of having information stolen.

2 Making voting more secure

Election security has been a major preoccupation over the last several election cycles. It will likely continue to be a focus in 2021 and beyond. Blockchain could potentially become a secure and necessary part of voting infrastructure by authenticating a voter's identity through biometric means. It could also capture and secure votes and provide a verifiable audit trail that eliminates the need for recounts.

Blockchain could also provide the encryption and verification features needed to allow votes to be transmitted online or by a mobile device. This may help boost voter participation and make the process easier and more secure.

3 Improving efficiency in real estate

Blockchain technology can make verifying transactions faster and more accurate by providing a secure digital ledger for all interactions between parties. While it hasn't yet seen industry-wide adoption, blockchain has the potential to make major inroads in real estate in the next year. It can help homebuyers and sellers limit face-to-face interactions during the pandemic.

Real estate transactions rely on a large amount of paperwork, including contracts, property deeds, land titles, liens and other public records that can be riddled with errors or technical changes. Blockchain can reduce the need for paper records and speed up settlement by recording, tracking and transferring documents and transaction records securely between buyers, sellers, financial institutions, and title and mortgage companies.

4 Monitoring food supply chains

Restaurants and grocery stores rely on relationships with customers built on trust. Providing trustworthy food choices is an important part of the industry's future success. Blockchain's ability to record, store and track data in a secure, immutable ledger can make the food supply chain more transparent and safer.

QR codes and similar blockchain technology can allow restaurants and grocery stores to trace any contaminated food or beverage along the entire supply chain back to the source. Other vendors can then avoid any food-related emergencies and alert the manufacturer and distributor of the need for a potential recall.

5 Streamlining car sales and leasing

If any sector has been able to adapt and even thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's the auto retail industry. The pandemic has led to increased car sales as people avoid mass transportation and shift their vacation plans from air travel to road trips.

But the process of buying or leasing a car or RV continues to be a piecemeal process involving dealership personnel, financial institutions, title and registration agencies and insurance providers.

With blockchain, dealerships can shift the transaction to blockchain's public ledger and manage each step of the transaction in nearly real time. The customer can choose the car they want to lease or buy, have the vehicle delivered to their driveway and sign all the paperwork without having to step foot in the dealership.

A wealth of possibilities

The future of blockchain is much more than finance and cryptocurrencies. It provides an innovative approach to managing data and executing transactions where accuracy and reliability are critical. There are many opportunities to use blockchain across many businesses and industries to transform products, services and processes—a trend that will only grow in 2021.


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