Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have become possible because of blockchain technology and its popularity is screaming aloud how useful blockchain tech can be in different industries that are on the verge to transform.
Here are the latest innovative ways companies are harnessing the power of global blockchain.
Banking is just the beginning. But from a macro perspective, banks serve as the critical storehouses and transfer hubs of value. As a digitized, secure, and tamper-proof ledger, blockchain could serve the same function, injecting enhanced accuracy and information-sharing into the financial services ecosystem.
Encrypted messaging app Telegram raised $1.7B from private sale investors before canceling the public sale piece of its much discussed initial coin offering (ICO), which was supposed to break records at $1.2B. Telegram is still developing its blockchain-based platform called the TON (Telegram Open Network) that extends Telegram’s services into payments, file storage, and censorship-proof browsing for its 200M users.
Elections require authentication of voters’ identity, secure record keeping to track votes, and trusted tallies to determine the winner. In the future, blockchain tools could serve as a foundational infrastructure for casting, tracking, and counting votes – potentially eliminating the need for recounts by taking voter fraud and foul play off the table. By capturing votes as transactions through blockchain, governments and voters would have a verifiable audit trail, ensuring no votes are changed or removed and no illegitimate votes are added.
Ride apps like Uber and Lyft represent the opposite of decentralization, since they essentially operate as dispatching hubs and use algorithms to control their fleets of drivers (and dictate what they charge). Blockchain could inject new options into that dynamic: with a distributed ledger, drivers and riders could create a more user-driven, value-oriented marketplace.
Education and Academia
By nature, academic credentials must be universally recognized and verifiable. In both the primary/secondary schooling and university environments, verifying academic credentials remains largely a manual process (heavy on paper documentation and case-by-case checking). Deploying blockchain solutions in education could streamline verification procedures, thereby reducing fraudulent claims of un-earned educational credits.
Car Leasing and Sales
In 2015, Visa partnered with transaction management startup DocuSign on a proof-of-concept project that used blockchain to streamline car leasing – transforming it into a “click, sign, and drive” process.
With the Visa-DocuSign tool, prospective customers choose the car they want to lease and the transaction is entered on the blockchain’s public ledger. Then, from the driver’s seat, the customer signs a lease agreement and an insurance policy, and the blockchain is updated with that information.
If the technology were to be implemented in practice, it’s not a stretch to imagine that a process of this sort might be developed for car sales and registration as well.
Enterprises that offer cloud storage often secure customers’ data in a centralized server, which can mean increased network vulnerability from attacks by hackers. Blockchain cloud storage solutions allow storage to be decentralized – and therefore less prone to attacks that can cause systemic damage and widespread data loss.
Dubbed the “Airbnb for file storage,” Filecoin is a high-profile crypto project that rewards the hosting of files. This could help create a decentralized version of S3 from Amazon Web Services.
Music/Entertainment Rights and IP
Entertainment entrepreneurs are turning to the blockchain to make content sharing fairer for creators using smart contracts, whereby the revenue on purchases of creative work can be automatically disseminated according to pre-determined licensing agreements.
Before pivoting into an entertainment think tank, Mycelia was launched with a focus on producing “intelligent songs” supported by blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Ascribe.io, a product of BigchainDB, also works to provide a trackable, verifiable record of ownership between artists and their work.
British blockchain startup JAAK also has plans to work with music rights holders and other entertainment-industry stakeholders. JAAK, which provides an operating system for content, is developing a platform that allows media owners to convert their repository of media, metadata, and rights into “smart content” that can self-execute licensing transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.
Pain points for buying and selling property include a lack of transparency during and after transactions, copious amounts of paperwork, possible fraud, and errors in public records. Blockchain offers a way to reduce the need for paper-based record keeping and speed up transactions – helping stakeholders improve efficiency and reduce transaction costs on all sides of the transaction.
Real estate blockchain applications can help record, track, and transfer land titles, property deeds, liens, and more, and can help ensure that all documents are accurate and verifiable.
Healthcare institutions suffer from an inability to securely share data across platforms. Better data collaboration between providers could ultimately mean higher probability of accurate diagnoses, higher likelihood of effective treatments, and the overall increased ability of healthcare systems to deliver cost-effective care.
Use of blockchain technology could allow hospitals, payers, and other parties in the healthcare value chain to share access to their networks without compromising data security and integrity.
Supply Chain Management
One of the most universally applicable aspects of blockchain is that it enables more secure, transparent monitoring of transactions. Supply chains are basically a series of transaction nodes that link to move products from point A to the point-of-sale or final deployment.
With blockchain, as products change hands across a supply chain from manufacture to sale, the transactions can be documented in a permanent decentralized record – reducing time delays, added costs, and human errors.
Gift Cards and Loyalty Programs
Blockchains can help retailers offering gift cards and loyalty programs to make those systems cheaper and more secure. With fewer middlemen needed to process the issuing of cards and sales transactions, the process of acquiring and using blockchain-reliant gift cards is more efficient and cost effective.
Similarly, increased levels of fraud prevention enabled by the blockchain’s unique verification capability also save costs and help prohibit illegitimate users from obtaining stolen accounts.
Government and Public Records
The management of public services is yet another area where blockchain can help lessen paper-based processes, minimize fraud, and increase accountability between authorities and those they serve.
Wills and Inheritances
Wills are a highly specific kind of contract, providing an ideal use case for a blockchain smart-contracts solution. In addition to the challenge of verifying the deceased’s actual death, will-related litigation often involves challenges to the “genuineness” of a will – that is, whether the legal interpretation aligns with the deceased’s intentions.
While the application of blockchain would not completely remove these challenges, it would make it easier to identify factual information, provide verifiable transaction data, and dismiss claims that are without merit.
Video is predicted to account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. Blockchain could help dramatically reduce the cost of video traffic by decentralizing video encoding, storage, and content distribution. This could disrupt Netflix, YouTube, and other players in the video distribution ecosystem.