Blockchain, a vast, globally distributed ledger that can record anything of value and accessible on millions of devices, has made the headlines in recent years as the prominent technology revolutionising the finance industry. This has caused many to form the opinion that the use of blockchain technology is only the domain of fintech start-ups.
However, this is far from the case, as blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise every single trusted broker industry in the world that works on the same intrinsic model – from art and antiquities to real estate, insurance, and recruitment – bringing about game-changing efficiencies and improvements to all involved.
The financial services industry is the largest and most profitable trusted broker industry in the world, contributing $13 trillion to the global economy and supporting countless businesses and individuals interact to do business. However, it remains heavily inefficient, relying on manual and convoluted processes, plagued by complex infrastructure, rising expenses and process delays.
Investment in blockchain has increased significantly in an attempt to resolve these issues and drive improvements in the sector. It was this emphasis on investment in finance focused blockchain start-ups that led many to the conclusion blockchain’s potential lay only in financial services. So much so that PwC found 56% of financial executives are aware of blockchain’s importance, while a further 20% believe it’s the most important technology to invest in over the next year.
Yet the future of blockchain is not limited to financial services alone. Any form of asset – money, bonds, titles, CVs and virtually anything else of value – can be stored privately and securely, and transferred as trust is established through sophisticated cryptography and network consensus. Therefore, all industries that currently work on a trusted broker model, where two parties rely on a third to complete transactions, will benefit from harnessing the technology.
The recruitment industry in particular could benefit significantly from integrating blockchain into its processes. Globally, the sector is worth £320 billion with the UK industry worth around £35 billion. In 2016, the global verification market was valued at $8.7 billion, and it is forecast to reach $9.7 billion by the end of 2021. Yet like the financial services industry, recruitment is infamous for its inefficiencies such as long and costly onboarding and verification processes which are born from the lack of trust between candidates and employers. Recruitment and verification platforms that harness blockchain technology, such as APPII and Technojobs, will be able to resolve these issues and increase value for all.
Employers and recruiters are increasingly coming across candidates with numerous short-term contracts and freelance work listed on their CVs as a result of the growing gig-economy. The increased number of jobs now needing to be verified per candidate has resulted in the authentication and onboarding of new hires becoming costlier in both time and money than ever before.
Harnessing blockchain technology will resolve these problems as recruiters will have access to verified career profiles for the first time. Stored securely on a blockchain system, each role and qualification added by a candidate will be independently verified by the organisation it relates to. This will substantially reduce the amount of time and money needed to ensure candidates have the qualifications they say they have.
These ‘Intelligent profiles’ will make it easier for candidates to apply for their dream jobs without prospective employers questioning the legitimacy of their qualifications or experience. For recruiters both in-house and agency-side, blockchain verified CVs will make finding the best candidates for roles significantly easier and less expensive – ultimately increasing overall productivity and enabling more candidates to be processed.
The future of blockchain is incredibly exciting and not limited to the world of finance. It’s clear that its potential to drive efficiency and increase value has yet to be completely realised, especially in other trusted broker industries such as recruitment. While the media and many investors may continue to focus on cryptocurrency and blockchain start-ups in finance, it’s essential that we start to think seriously about how blockchain can be harnessed in other industries.