Blockchain technology is almost like the older sister of Bitcoin. Yes, the two go hand in hand and really, the Bitcoin couldn’t exist without it (all of you with older sisters might feel a special bond here) but what we should consider is that the blockchain has many other uses away from Bitcoin, therefore Bitcoin is sort of like the annoying little brother, yeah the blockchain loves it but the blockchain also knows its value stands up as a solo entity.
It’s Friday and I love a good metaphor.
Anyway, there’s an interesting report out in ‘Building Design and Construction Magazine’ a magazine for construction industry professionals, that highlights how blockchain technology may be used, and will be used, in the future to compliment the construction industry. See it for yourself here- http://www.bdcmagazine.com/blockchain-merit-place-construction/
If you do read the article, I’ll warn you that it hasn’t been written for cryptocurrency-aficionados, so you might want to skip that first part which just discusses how bitcoin and the blockchain work.
As author Kenneth Booth rightly points out, blockchain technology is starting to become a regular feature in insurance policies that protect customers from flight delays. Here, the blockchain can be used to almost pre-empt flight delays and pay-out the compensation automatically.
Booth mentions how, at the moment, HM Land Registry (the UK government department for land ownership etc) are rolling out a project called ‘Digital Street’ which aims to digitise the HM Land Registry data onto a blockchain style system. This could improve planning permission applications and give construction professionals unified access to a system, without having to trawl through physical documentation to get answers to questions they might have about land in a construction area.
Booth also discusses the idea of smart contracts that could streamline the contracting process, this is something the likes of Carillion certainly could have benefited with, Booth says:
“Smart contracts are interesting applications that are being deployed as an additional layer on top of blockchain technology. A smart contract is a contract that self-executes a function when certain criteria are fulfilled, and, in this case, a record of that transaction is then encrypted on to the blockchain.”
It’s always interesting to see how people see blockchain technology applied to their specific areas of interest and profession. Construction is certainly an area that I see blockchain technology really working and to be honest, until reading Booths article it’s not something I had really thought of.
Obviously, its not just as simple as rolling out a blockchain ledger for builders and Booth agrees that there will be many obstacles and difficulties involved in rolling out such projects within the construction industry, for a start, the legal logistics of it are a bit of a nightmare. Then there’s always the ‘if its not broken, why try to fix it argument’ but, with due diligence, this is a technology that could really benefit the construction industry, something which in turn will benefit wider areas within society.
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