When you think of blockchain, what first comes to mind? Many of us immediately think– Bitcoin. While blockchain technology is at the core of Bitcoin transactions, blockchain has many other applications. In this blog post, I will explore some of the uses of blockchain that I found most interesting and exciting.
Refresher on Blockchain
Put simply, blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that permanently records transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Records on the blockchain are kept and validated simultaneously by a network of computers. Contracts are embedded in digital code, stored, and protected from deletion and revision. No individual can change the records without another’s consent. Public blockchain networks allow participants to interact directly without the ruling of a centralized third-party. This creates a collective verification ecosystem offering increased security, traceability, and speed.
Blockchain applications could transform business and society.
Blockchain is a foundational technology that could create new bases for our economic and social systems. Its immense potential lies in its ability to transfer assets and information over the Internet with ease and efficiency. Blockchain is currently helping to combat issues of political and institutional corruption, financial fraud, and privacy violations. Here are some uses of blockchain to watch out for:
FarmaTrust: combatting counterfeit drugs
FarmaTrust is an international drug tracking system that aims to maximize pharmaceutical supply chain efficiency. Blockchain is the foundation of FarmaTrust’s encrypted global tracking system. With the aid of artificial intelligence and data analytics, FarmaTrust prevents counterfeit drugs from entering the market. It does this by connecting with warehouses, manufacturers, shipping companies, hospitals, and pharmacies to track the product lifecycle of medical supplies. Customers can verify the authenticity of medicine by scanning a product’s QR code on the FarmaTrust mobile app. FarmaTrust is currently experimenting with IoT devices, smart labeling, and identity tags in order to more closely track medical supplies, reduce pharmaceutical costs, and promote efficient allocation of medical resources.
Shocard: the next generation of identity authorization
Shocard’s use of blockchain technology enables individuals and enterprises to digitally store identification information. Once a user creates a ShoCard ID, the user can upload and store personal information on a mobile device. Touch verification and encryption techniques, such as hashing and digital signing, ensure data security on the blockchain. Only intended recipients can decrypt a user’s information after the identities of both parties have been verified.
Tasks such as logging onto a server, sharing personal information, and conducting financial transactions can be performed seamlessly through the ShoCard mobile app. The ShoCard app eliminates the need for usernames and passwords, digitizes identification, and provides authentication at one’s fingertips. Shocard does all of this while creating an audit trail to detect and prevent identity theft.
Bext360: a coffee suppl(ai) chain solution
Bext360 improves supply chains of commodities using blockchain, machine technology, and mobile applications. Here’s how the service works: coffee cultivators load their product into Bext360 machines equipped with sensors and optical recognition technology. The machines sift the product, assign a quality grade, and link output to crypto tokens. Blockchain payments are then made directly to farmers and stakeholders based on the quantity and quality of their products.
Bext360’s technology eliminates the “middle men” in transaction processing so that farmers receive a greater share of the profits. Wholesalers and retailers can leverage data collected during the process to improve product quality and ensure that fair trade conditions are met. The system tracks goods from the source to the consumer, resulting in a more transparent and efficient supply chain.
Storj: the future of cloud storage
Storj is a blockchain-based internet storage system. Storj aims to revolutionize cloud storage by providing users with increased security, efficiency, privacy, and transparency at a fraction of the cost of current cloud technologies.
How does it work? With shared cloud storage, Storj eliminates downloading inefficiencies and provides users with a higher level of privacy. Blocks of data are virtually “shredded” and dispersed across the network before they are stored. The shared cloud network minimizes download times characteristic of existing cloud platforms. Users pay only for the amount of storage they use and can rent out the extra space that they don’t use. In this sense, Storj is the Airbnb of digital storage.
Bloom: Modernizing credit score
Bloom’s use of blockchain allows for a more secure and accessible credit system while reducing the risk of identity theft. With Bloom, non-credit based payment information is evaluated to increase awareness and access to credit. Bloom offers BloomID, BloomIQ, and a type credit score coined the “Bloomscore.” With BloomID, users can establish a verified identity for lending. BloomID enables cross-border credit scoring so that individuals can relocate without establishing a new line of credit. BloomIQ tracks and reports historical debt obligations tied to a user’s BloomID. The Bloomscore then converts a user’s BloomIQ into a dynamic indicator representing the likelihood that a lender pays back debts. Thanks to Bloom, borrowers in markets with less developed regulatory and financial infrastructure have greater access to credit scoring and lines of credit.
GUTS: Your own “Guaranteed Unique Ticketing System”
GUTS is an individualized digital blockchain ticketing agency. GUTS utilizes blockchain technology to create a simple and transparent mobile ticketing ecosystem. GUTS’ technology allows users to access and purchase tickets directly from their mobile devices, eliminating the potential of ticket loss and fraud. With the Guaranteed Entrance Token Protocol, ticket owners maintain complete control over the sale, resale, and trade of tickets. In the coming years, GUTS plans to expand outside of its Netherlands base. The company aims to sell over one million tickets in 2019 with its recent strategic partnerships. Check out GUTS’ online demo app here.
Blockchain technology could radically transform the competitive playing field by simplifying transactions, increasing supply chain efficiencies, and streamlining user information. With most rapidly evolving technologies, companies must adapt quickly and embrace innovation to maintain a competitive advantage. Blockchain is no exception.
Blockchain has made significant advances since its early days of enabling illicit activity on the dark web. Currently, major institutions such as Walmart, FedEx, J.P. Morgan, and IBM are utilizing blockchain to create more transparent and efficient supply chains, store data, and cultivate more secure digital relationships. Widespread implementation of blockchain will likely be slowed by technological, organizational, governmental, and societal barriers.
In spite of these barriers, the global blockchain market is rapidly growing. Research estimates that the market capitalization for blockchain-related goods and services is expected to reach $7.7 billion by 2022. According to Forbes, banks alone could save $8 to $12 billion annually by implementing blockchain technology. Blockchain is gradually becoming a new norm of next-generation of business, so expect to see more of it!
Which uses of blockchain are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments below!