Blockchain and How It Can Change Construction
Ethan Campbell, Tech Writer looks into blockchain’s potential to impact construction and the factors that could make the technology particularly useful.
Blockchain technology functions as a digital ledger that verifies, conducts, and keeps records of digital transactions. It is only via a system of this nature that bitcoin and now dozens (if not hundreds) of other cryptocurrencies can exist. These currencies are purely digital, and the blockchain essentially serves to make them legitimate, helping to establish their value and in a sense serving as a marketplace for their activity.
Today, it’s common practice to buy or sell cryptocurrency as a means of investment. There are ways to do this without actual direct transactions, such a through CFD or futures trading. For the most part though, cryptocurrency trading occurs over the blockchain, with quantities of different assets being bought and sold in an attempt at financial gain. This alone shows how quickly and profoundly blockchain’s purpose can evolve, even with regard to cryptocurrency. In a matter of years, it has advanced beyond being a digital ledger, and is now effectively a trading platform as well.
Upon first thought, especially if you aren’t particularly familiar with blockchain, this might sound like an odd fit. We think of construction as a very hands-on industry with little to do with the digital world, and thus it doesn’t naturally come to mind as a fit for blockchain disruption. The reality, however, is that there is a lot about this industry that blockchain might be more or less ideally suited for.
The “contractual processes and paperwork” relating to building codes, safety regulations, and project management are to say nothing of inventory control and any and all involved transactions. All of these things are vital to real estate projects, and all of them, in theory, could be moved to the blockchain. There, they would be at least partially automated, and it’s likely that a great deal of time would be saved (and hassle avoided).
The basic idea here is that blockchain tech can be used to perform cause-and-effect functions. So, for example, a construction company can input a function that transfers funds to a supplier when the company receives material; it might organize agreements regarding safety and regulation to be digitally catalogued once all involved parties have signed. From these examples, you can begin to see how any number of necessary functions in a standard construction project might be made more exact and more efficient via the blockchain.
For the most part, this disruption hasn’t quite taken effect just yet. With blockchain tech continuing to spread into new industries though, and with such clear potential benefits, construction is a likely candidate to integrate the tech in the near future.
Blog @ geospatialworld.