The blockchain is a simple yet ingenious invention and has the potential to change the way we buy, sell or transact. The brainchild of a small group of people and originally meant to be a supporting technology for cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has evolved into something which could revolutionise the way business is conducted across several industries.

Although there are complex definitions for blockchain, the basic concept of the technology is simple to understand. Blockchain is like a distributed ledger that records transactions and allows market participants to keep track without central record keeping. These transactions can be any movement of money, data or goods.

Think of it as a spreadsheet that has duplicate copies spread across a network of computers. The whole network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet at all locations. Any information stored on a blockchain is shared and reconciled whenever a new transaction happens.

There is no single or centralised version of this information, making it more accessible to everyone and secure at the same time as it cannot be corrupted or hacked. The robustness of this technology lies in its core concepts; because the information is stored on a distributed network, there is no single control, no single point of failure and no centralised point of vulnerability that can be exploited as happens with data held centrally.

Industries using blockchain

Blockchain technology ensures transactions can be audited by any and all parties involved and provides a perfect way to protect against potential fraud. Many industries are already using blockchain in business operations and others will benefit as it gains momentum.

The banking sector is keen on exploring blockchain technology for a number of reasons, with the main focus on reducing cost and improving business efficiency and security. These sectors are spending heavily to research how to best implement this technology as the potential benefits are huge.

Every single day, trillions of dollars are moved across the global financial system with a heavy reliance on paperwork, causing added expenses and delays and makes the system volatile to fraud. Blockchain can easily help the industry to overcome these hurdles and the expected benefits make it worth the investment.

Blockchain in real estate

It's hard to find a segment that has not been influenced by blockchain technology and real estate is no exception. The traditional way of doing business in the real estate industry seems to get an upgrade with the adaptation of blockchain technology. Currently, real estate transactions have to undergo a stringent documentation, escrow, title checks and a series of steps with a central authority to manage the transfers. The use of blockchain technology can expedite transactions by reducing the need for paper-based record keeping and eliminate error.

It can also help with verifying ownership data and check the accuracy of required documents to transfer property deeds. This also results in gaining information symmetry. Blockchain also introduces new ways to trade real estate by enabling online trading platforms and marketplaces for carrying out real estate transactions in a secure and fast manner.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) recently revealed its plan to adopt blockchain technology in cooperation with Smart Dubai and other partners, making it the world's first government entity to adopt blockchain. The DLD will implement a blockchain system to create a secure database that records all real estate contracts, including lease registrations, and links them with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, the telecommunication system, and various property-related bills. This would create an integrated system that will simplify payments and eliminate the need to physically visit any government entity.

The future of blockchain

The space is wide open and opportunities are enormous. Any industry that deals with data or transactions can find its application in their business to increase efficiency, security and extensibility.

In the future, we will see only a negligible number of businesses not implementing blockchain and these will be the ones left behind in the race to adopt technology.

The writer is online marketing manager at Aston Pearl Real Estate. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

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