Blockchain Applications in the Real World

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.

If you are eager to learn more about the logistics of blockchain, check out the recent blog posts by Lizzy and Dan! To begin, here’s a brief recap on blockchain technology.

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.BLOCK

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 drugsFARMA

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 authorizationshocard.png

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 solutionBEXT

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 scoreBLOOM

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”

GUTSGUTS 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.

Final Thoughts

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!

dilbert vc blockchain

Which uses of blockchain are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments below!

9 thoughts on “Blockchain Applications in the Real World

  1. Nice post! I feel like every time I read something about Blockchain technology, I learn something new. With the high prevalence of cloud computing and storage, I am impressed by Storj’s intention of increasing efficiency and privacy. Also interesting and well-intentioned how both Bloom and Shocard are companies with an emphasis on the reduction of identity theft, as the FTC estimates 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I am most excited about FarmaTrust’s use of blockchain to make a big impact on the counterfeit drug market. I find it ironic how blockchain technology was used on the dark web to purchase illegal items such as drugs just a few years ago. In such a regulated industry, it makes sense to have the most secure and efficient technology to support a complicated supply chain.

    Thanks for providing a link to FarmaTrust’s website! According to their product roadmap, they have a long journey ahead to carry out their goals but have a plan in place to get there. Overall, I really enjoyed reading about all the potential uses of blockchain outside of the finance industry. Nice job!

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  3. The book I read over winter break, “Machine Platform Crowd,” had a section covering the potential uses of blockchain, but I ultimately was just left with the real world application of smart contracts (which I wrote a little about in my post). These companies, however, took the technology to places I hadn’t even imagined. I personally found Bext360 the most interesting as I never anticipated blockchain technology revolutionizing supply chains. I’m very excited to learn about how the companies we are visiting plan on leveraging this technology. While Bitcoin’s purpose in the world is constantly up for debate, there is no denying it ushered in a truly great technology. Great post!

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  4. Great post, Amy! Blockchain is fascinating with the disruption it has already caused. These companies that you listed are extremely intriguing to the fact that they use blockchain for purposes other than financial services, like the now-famous Bitcoin. Like Professor Doyle mentioned once in class, crypto-currency and blockchain are entirely different and cannot be used interchangeably as many now do. I especially enjoyed reading about FarmaTrust. Because the intersection between health care and technology continues to enthrall me, I found this use of blockchain incredibly innovative and useful. I hope FarmaTrust, along with the other blockchain companies mentioned, will continue to expand because that is when they will most improve and become most effective.

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  5. Love the topic! I definitely agree that the implementation of blockchain technology could streamline and revolutionize various industries. In particular, I’m astonished that banks alone could save up to $12 billion through blockchain technology! It’ll also be interesting to see what steps a company like Walmart (and Walmart Labs) takes to cut costs and improve efficiency via blockchain technology.

    I also liked the idea of Storj and decentralized cloud storage. I think implementing blockchain for data storage is the next step from now-traditional cloud storage. Storj has an intriguing model as it can utilize excess capacity (like an Airbnb or Uber of the collaborative consumption economy) while offering increased efficiency and privacy. Very soon, we could see companies like Storj overtake the data storage players like Dropbox!

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  6. Pingback: What is FinTech? | Tech Trek

  7. Great post. Nice to see the other applications for blockchain that are coming online. I was at a meeting at PwC last week, and they commented that they have several blockchain projects underway.

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  8. Really interesting post! The book I read over break, The Sharing Economy, touched upon the basics of blockchain technology, but didn’t go into specific companies that implemented blockchain technology. In that regard, this post was a fantastic complement to what I learned previously! It’s mind-blowing to see the creativity with which companies are fueling these blockchain innovations.

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  9. Very interesting topic! I really didn’t know that blockchain technology can be this applicable to so many fields including finance, identification, medical field, etc. As you mentioned, I only thought of bitcoin whenever blockchain was brought up, but now I know there are so many more to it!! Thank you for the great post Amy!

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