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“Will blockchain disrupt my industry?” is one of the most asked questions since the technology’s inception in 2008. And rightfully so.
With transparency and increased security being at the core of the blockchain concept, solving many of the current issues for corporations and individuals alike, blockchain seems to be positioned correctly for triggering fundamental changes all around.
The core blockchain concept of a decentralised network provides increased transaction transparency and security than any existing information system. Hence, this technology offers answers to many of the contemporary issues corporations and individuals both face at the moment. In this sense, blockchain seems to be perfectly positioned for triggering fundamental changes all around.
However, to fully understand the term disruption and distinguish it from buzzwords companies use to stand out, it’s essential to look at some of the most famous disruptive innovation examples and understand how people chasing dreams took their respective industries by storm.
Nikola Tesla: Alternating Current (AC)
At the sunset of the 19th century, electric companies have been aggressively competing in a promising new industry that was drawing much capital. It inevitably led to what is now known as the war of the currents — a battle between two high-profile figures of the time, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison and their inventions — high voltage alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) systems, respectively.
One of Nikola Tesla’s inventions, AC, was first deemed too dangerous for everyday use, especially after being promoted as such by the competition. However, the advantages of long-distance, high-voltage current transmission and low-cost maintenance soon gained traction as electricity was slowly entering homes at large.
Moreover, it opened the possibility of achieving more significant scaling of economies and boosting industrial development further and faster than anyone anticipated at that time.
Alexander Graham Bell: Telephone
Although a constant in our lives today, when it first appeared, the telephone represented groundbreaking technology — a means of transmitting information vocally across great distances in a quick manner.
It allowed for efficient communication between towns, countries, and finally continents which translated into social decentralisation, more flexible work arrangements, aid to first responders,
and more. The change in people’s everyday habits was enormous, but it also created opportunities for a completely new industry to be born and grown around Bell’s invention.
Although it has changed and significantly improved over the century and a half, the telephone’s influence has been as disruptive to people’s everyday lives then as blockchain commercialisation is today.
Steve Jobs: Macintosh, iPod, iPad, iPhone
In more recent history, one of the legendary inventor figures certainly has been Steve Jobs. Jobs and his business partner Steve Wozniak made complex computer technology more user-friendly and comprehensible with a long list of devices that revolutionised the computer and mobile communications industry.
It also popularised the use of technology outside of strictly scientific or business-related environments. For instance, one of Steve Jobs’s inventions — the iPod, with its small dimensions, made music more available to people on the go. And while it may not sound like such a disruptive invention, music lovers who were once towing cassette players or confined to enjoying their favourite tunes in their homes, now had practically unlimited possibilities – and to them, that was positively disruptive.
Not to mention the increased reach music now possessed, which ultimately upturned the entire industry.
Shigeru Miyamoto: Wii
During the 1980s, Nintendo became a household name. Still, the truly disruptive innovation by one of the most famous people in tech came two decades later with the introduction of an entirely new way of playing video games.
Miyamoto made video games much easier to control via hand gestures – an idea that practically rebooted the videogame industry and made Nintendo’s competitors follow its lead in future developments. It also created a fantastic opportunity for video games to remain the favourite pastime by creating new player experiences.
Even though the future improvements surpassed it, Shigeru Miyamoto’s inventions made a permanent mark on a generation and created a demand for decades to come.
Marc Randolf: Netflix
With the idea of making renting movies easier, Marc Randolf and Reed Hastings started a movie rental company in 1997. The concept was simple – order movies online, get them in the mail, return them the same way when done. Even then, it was a new take on video rental stores and an especially convenient option for those who didn’t have one nearby.
However, the two have gotten their names on the list of innovators with the idea of turning Netflix into a video content streaming platform. It seemed so simple, yet so ridiculous — why would movie studios even want to get in on that? Would users pay to watch movies and TV shows in an entirely new way? As it turned out, yes, users saw the value and started flocking to subscribe to the service.
The level of disruption Netflix has initiated in the rental movie industry is seen because it has reduced its fiercest competitor Blockbuster to one final store out of 9,000. Netflix forever changed how we accessed video content and became a need for numerous movie buffs out there.
So What Does Disruption Mean?
Based on the industry disruption examples, an idea at the bottom of the market is undervalued and with a low-class reputation — but with enough advantages over well-established products or services to become more appealing to the same consumer to displace them altogether.
These are precisely the characteristics that blockchain can contribute to various industries and thus drastically change their landscapes and force companies to adapt quickly or perish.
For instance, companies like Shutterstock can reduce tax liability by implementing smart contracts and reducing the fees associated with international financial transactions.
Industries Blockchain Will Disrupt
There have been significant changes in several industries already, and more are expected to take place. Here are the most affected sectors by blockchain-brought innovations:
- Financial services: This sector provides some of the most visible disruptive innovation examples. Blockchain-based systems have already improved the speed and cost of financial transactions while offering a more transparent and secure accounting form. Distributed architecture and decentralisation concepts continue to modernise conventional financial services, with the idea of “decentralised finance” (Defi) taking shape through directly connected participants as equals.
Without the need for intermediaries or centralised institutions, people are engaging in P2P lending and borrowing with complete control over assets via non-custodial wallets. Users maintain control over their rights to assets and identity through its safekeeping. Blockchain changing all aspects of existing financial services is one of the most notable avenues of disruption for blockchain.
Most significant financial service disruption from blockchain has already begun with the DeFi (Decentralized Finance) movement. The decentralised financial system allows all actors to conduct transactions wholly transparent and accessible and within fair governance standards.
- Healthcare: Turning back to more providing more reliable and personalised service are the primary healthcare systems. Patients feel more comfortable managing and treating health issues from their homes with technology, leading to remote monitoring and self-checkup technologies (e.g. smartwatch, smart band). Blockchain provides the opportunity for patients to share anonymised data while still protecting their privacy.
- Logistics: To stop wasting resources and improve process efficiency, logistics companies are rapidly turning to blockchain technology for sharing information among a whole ecosystem of partners, while still preserving data privacy.
- Energy trading and renewables: Blockchain commercialisation is slowly paving the way for smart contract-based local renewable energy markets to trade energy with significant financial benefits.
- Adtech and privacy: Using the blockchain network for consumer information, the opt-in/out data can be shared between publishers and advertisers via a standardised consent management solution. Utilising consent provenance this way also aids companies to comply with various privacy legislations.
Given the speed with which blockchain technology is developing and the variety of uses it brings, it’s inevitable that it touches all aspects of business development. Bearing this in mind, it makes sense for your company to proactively take on the role of disruptor and make changes on your terms.
Blockchain will disrupt every industry — will your company be ready?
Company Representative bio: Avery Wright is a content marketing manager by day, freelance writer by night, and an all-around crypto girl in between.
We believe in the decentralised future. A world where everything will be digitised — and tokenised. Where every asset and service can be managed more safely, easily, and without middlemen.
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