“Blockchain is a transformational technology that will change the entire world”, a tech expert told a delegation of 400 travel professionals.
Envision’s chief executive Todd Knapp said the distributed ledger technology will have as big an impact on the world as GPS (global positioning system), which is used to track people’s locations.
He told Collette’s Future of Travel conference, celebrating the tour operator’s 100th anniversary: “Blockchain will be the same as GPS, which happened without you ever knowing about it.”
Knapp cited examples of blockchain’s use in developing countries as a protection against robbery of traditional currencies, and its use within the travel industry through information technology firm SITA’s ‘flightchain’ data – which verifies flight updates from conflicting sources of information.
“Blockchain can mediate between conflicting data,” he said. “Your industry, like a lot of others, stands to be transformed by this technology.”
Knapp said fraud could be routed out through blockchain’s theory of allowing all partners in a transaction to ‘verify’ the transaction, adding: “Blockchain is all about removing the risk of fraud”.
“With everybody able to witness every transaction, it makes it very hard to defraud anybody.”
Knapp said blockchain technology could also be used to warn customers when there are double bookings, or a flight is full, which he said could mitigate disappointment among travellers.
He said it could also be used as a sort of “personal credit score”, suggesting that this process could help agents understand what their customer wants during the sales process without being given obvious personal data but instead an encrypted version of information such as their travel and spending habits.
Knapp predicted the mainstream adoption of blockchain “in the next three years”, adding: “That’s a big thing for an IT guy to say, we never guarantee anything”.