5 ways blockchain can help in the future
You may have heard the term “blockchain” thrown around a lot recently, but what does it mean? Blockchain technology is the application of cryptography that allows for direct digital transfer of value or information without a trusted third party. This means it’s incredibly secure, unlike our current financial system, where trust is required between two parties who do not know one another.
Blockchain has many potential applications beyond just cryptocurrencies. One of its most essential features is decentralization, meaning that no single entity controls it. Historically, this has been difficult to achieve because computer systems tend to centralize over time without constant active maintenance. The blockchain essentially solves this by being an automated self-reinforcing decentralized system when enough nodes exist.
A blockchain can be visualized as a time-stamped series of an immutable record of data managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each time an entry is made, it’s broadcasted to the whole network, so it’s public knowledge. However, with solid cryptographic algorithms, such information being broadcasted can’t be tampered with or corrupted. In this way, because all transactions are added to the existing database and linked consecutively in a chain, no one can go back and alter them without others knowing. For example, let’s look at a simple case:
John sends Jane 10 coins. Now everyone on the network knows that John sent 10 coins to Jane, but they don’t know what happened to those 10 coins after that point. Maybe Jane sent them straight to Sarah, or perhaps she held onto them. Either way, the history of the coins is immutable.
Let’s see an example of how it would work if blockchain weren’t used: John sends Jane 10 coins John can ask for his money back by claiming he never gave it to her, OR perhaps Jane wanted to keep the money but couldn’t because Sarah got there first ( maybe Jane knew about this plan beforehand). Blockchain solves these problems because everyone knows exactly what happened and when removing trust from the equation entirely. Check RemoteDBA.com to know more.
Blockchain allows for direct transfer of value without a third party and is highly secure and difficult to corrupt. The blockchain stores an immutable (can’t be changed) public ledger which lists transactions between parties. Everyone has full access to the public ledger and information in it cannot be tampered with or corrupted because Blockchain uses cryptography.
Effective contraception is one of the most successful medical inventions ever. A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that contraceptives prevented 272 million unplanned pregnancies in 2015 alone. However, despite their successes at stopping unintended pregnancies, current systems of contraception are simply not meeting demand on a global scale for many reasons. As technology improves, providing effective contraception worldwide will involve using multiple technologies at once- with blockchain being just the beginning.
The first area blockchain can help prevent pregnancies is its applications in delivering contraceptive devices and medicines. Currently, women who use contraceptive pills or patches must remember to take them daily or weekly without fail- missing even one day could lead to pregnancy. There have been recent advancements in using long-term contraceptive injections: these last for months and reduce the need to remember pills or use condoms but still require trips to clinics for administration. A promising new technology entering trials is called Vasagel – a gel injected into the vas deferens, blocking sperm from leaving the body.
This is excellent news for men who want more control over their contraception, but currently, it is still in clinical trial stages and has yet to be mass-produced. However, what if, instead of going into a clinic every time you want contraception- or relying on your partner’s memory/organization skills-, could contraceptive methods be delivered directly? Blockchain can help make this happen by offering contraceptives now through smart contracts rather than an intermediary like a clinic or pharmacy.
Blockchain can also help prevent unplanned pregnancies by making contraceptive services more easily accessible in developing countries where clinics are unavailable and education about contraception is lacking. Currently, the average number of births per woman decreases as GDP per capita rises- but this relationship does not hold for the poorest 20% of women, who have around 4 children each on average. This suggests that even though contraceptives are available to them, they do not use them due to lack of knowledge/distrust of contraception methods, lack of access, or poverty- which hampers their ability to choose what family size they want.
The third way blockchain can help prevent pregnancies is through providing reliable tracking systems for contraceptive products. The WHO reports that one in four pregnancies worldwide is unplanned and that half of all pregnancies are unplanned in the developing world. Tracking contraceptive supplies by serial numbers could help provide better data on where contraceptives are being used- enabling health services to target women who need contraception but cannot access it.
- Open Source
The fourth way blockchain can help prevent unwanted pregnancies is by creating open source technologies for family planning worldwide. People do not use contraceptives despite availability. They lack knowledge about what options are available to them or how to use them correctly- which depends on local conditions like age/relationships/cultural preferences, etc. This means that contraceptives must be customized for different needs in different locations, only possible through open-source collaboration and development.
Finally, blockchain can help prevent unplanned pregnancies by securely sharing data across regions/countries to collaborate between researchers and policymakers for global family planning goals. Using the decentralized nature of blockchains, information could be stored locally but still available globally to inform policy decisions that affect women’s health worldwide. By allowing multiple parties to share sensitive data without exposing it publicly, scientists would have access to more accurate research than ever before which could benefit all the world’s women.
This is not an exhaustive list of how blockchain can help prevent unplanned pregnancies. If anything, I’ve missed out on some significant ways that technology is improving contraception worldwide! What are you waiting for? Go forth, share the knowledge, contribute to open-source technologies and make your data count.