Bitcoin has ramifications outside of disrupting the world of money and payments. It isn't Bitcoin itself but rather the technology behind it, which is blockchain. With Bitcoin, there is a ledger which is a public record of all transactions that automatically verifies and authenticates payments. The scale on which these activities can be recorded is much larger and far more transparent than what is available currently.
This fast and secure form of records is what could really help business, and government entities streamline themselves to become more efficient and better. This helps with keeping transparent records of activities. Melanie Swan author of Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy, had a quote that really captures the possibilities of what blockchain could do for businesses in the future.
"Cloud-based, blockchain-based autonomous business entities running via smart contract could then electronically contract with compliance entities like governments to self-register in any jurisdictions in which they wanted to operate. Every business could be a general universal business first, and a jurisdictional business later when better decisions can be made about jurisdictions. The same could be true for individuals as general humans first, and citizens on demand later."
Blockchain Data In Business
The blockchain ledger is part of what makes it so great. This is what most companies and government agencies will most likely use. It can record so many actions and transfers so quickly and accurately that it is truly astounding.
Moreover, the fact that it is decentralized is another great advantage because it doesn't have one person or group controlling it. This means that it is much hard to commit fraud and mislead people. It is essentially the perfect accounting and records tool.
"The blockchain is a worldwide, decentralized public ledger for the registration, acknowledgment, and transfer of all assets and societal interactions, a society's public records bank, an organizing mechanism to facilitate large-scale human progress in previously unimagined ways. The blockchain is the technology and the system that could enable the global-scale coordination of seven billion intelligent agents. The blockchain is a consensus model at scale, and possibly the mechanism we have been waiting for that could help to usher in an era of friendly machine intelligence." Melanie Swan, Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy
Blockchain Keeping Institutions Honest
There is no perfect system but because it is almost impossible to be fraudulent on the blockchain. It means that it can serve as a form of checks and balances, keeping institutions and companies honest.
A secure and decentralized record of activities can present a lot of upsides. To start, it is a computer program, so it has no bias. It simply does as it is supposed to, and that is all.
Human nature can be messy. There are different motivations, beliefs, and biases that all effect a given persons ability to do their job. Humans also get tired, angry, and make mistakes and can also affect their ability to do their job correctly.
On the software side of things, computers and programs can be hacked or modified to display or hide certain items such as certain business activities. Blockchain takes all of this drawbacks and gets rid of them. Blockchain may not be perfect, but it is undoubtedly much more efficient, secure, and transparent. An iteration of this would be what Melanie Swan author of Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy calls blockchain governance, Personal Thinking Blockchains which would act as assistants to government agencies. Taking out human factors and errors.
"The first point is that transnational organizations need transnational governance structures. The reach, accessibility, and transparency of blockchain technology could be an effective transnational governance structure. Blockchain governance is more congruent with the character and needs of transnational organizations than nation-state governance. The second point is that not only is the transnational governance provided by the blockchain more effective, but it is also fairer. There is potentially more equality, justice, and freedom available to organizations and their participants in a decentralized, cloud-based model. This is provided by the blockchain's permanent public record, transparency, access, and reach. Anyone worldwide could look up and confirm the activities of transnational organizations on the blockchain. Thus, the blockchain is a global system of checks and balances that creates trust among all parties. This is precisely the sort of core infrastructural element that could allow humanity to scale to orders-of-magnitude larger progress with truly global organizations and coordination mechanisms."
Personal Thinking Blockchains
These are a little futuristic. However, they could definitely play a vital role in keeping more substantial amounts of data reliably stored on a cloud system without fear of one person or entity having more control than they should. Melanie Swan makes the ambitious claim that it could help with bringing computers and minds together and getting the best of both worlds, bringing mankind and machine closer together than ever before.
"Personal Thinking Blockchains More speculatively for the farther future, the notion of blockchain technology as the automated accounting ledger, the quantized-level tracking device, could be extensible to yet another category of record keeping and administration. There could be "personal thinking chains" as a life-logging storage and backup mechanism. The concept is "blockchain technology + in vivo personal connectome" to encode and make useful in a standardized compressed data format all of a person's thinking. The data could be captured via intracortical recordings, consumer EEGs, brain/computer interfaces, cognitive nanorobots, and other methodologies. Thus, thinking could be instantiated in a blockchain..."
This is all very exciting and can hopefully show that blockchain could be the next thing like the first PCs. An innovation like this with widespread adoption could really help the world become a more wealthy, more ethical, and more efficient place. This, in turn, would help humans continue to innovate and bring value with even more tools in their tool chest.