Disruptive technology is the holy grail of investing. It undermines existing markets, exploiting inefficiencies while improving the quality of life of those involved.

The internet and the dot-com boom are probably the most recent examples of disruptive technology. But a new king has emerged in the past decade that is going to turn everything on its head: blockchain.

You may have heard about blockchain when looking at investments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In effect, blockchain is the underlying technology that makes cryptocurrencies possible.

Without getting too technical, blockchain is a digital transaction-processing and record-keeping system. It involves a series of connected digital blocks that allow those connected to the network, usually public, to track information safely and securely.

Where cryptocurrencies are concerned, blockchain is a decentralized distrusted ledger for transactions. This secure and public record ledger basically eliminates the need for payment processors — a major function of the world’s banking system.

With blockchain at its core, cryptocurrency can be used for payment verification and secure transactions through online payment gateways — all without a centralized banking system to facilitate the transactions.

For example, many Americans still get paid via company check. These checks have a payment processing time before the funds become available in your account.

My bank says it takes about three to four days to clear a check before the funds are available. If I want those funds immediately, they charge me $35 per check.

With blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the processing time and the fees associated with it are gone. That’s considerable convenience for even the average American, and it is a major blow to banking institutions collecting fees on payment processing.

Essentially, blockchain is to modern banking what the automobile was to the horse and carriage market. This is why blockchain has so much potential.

Few technologies have had any major impact on the banking or financial institutions of the world. Even with the advent of the internet and mobile payment processing companies like Square and PayPal, banking is still basically the same as it has been for the past century.

The financial system must now adapt or lose massive income from its outdated payment processing model.

Investing legend investor once points out that blockchain also will reduce the massive amount of fraud in the banking industry.

“The fact that our traditional banking system is overrun with fraud, additional fees and lots of paperwork, you can immediately see why more and more people are turning to blockchain to make their transactions,” he said.

“Given how completely disruptive this technology is, it’s no surprise that the global banking community is scrambling to implement blockchain technology into its existing infrastructure.”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Due to its extremely secure and digital nature, blockchain has the potential to reshape any related market.

Passports, birth certificates, digital identity, security clearance, etc., anything that requires the secure verification of data could easily implement blockchain technology.

Analysts estimate that the total global market for blockchain technology will grow to about $7.6 trillion by 2024. It’s why companies ranging from NASADQ to IBM to Daimler AG are investing millions in developing blockchain applications.

So, if you aren’t already investing in blockchain companies in your portfolio, you need to start now.