Blockchain technology is arguably one of the most exciting discoveries in recent memory. It enables the application of decentralization across many crucial industries, with the potential of positively impacting billions of people in the future.
As many may know by now, Bitcoin is the first successfully implemented use-case for blockchain technology. It is now more than a decade old and has proven to be a useful method of performing financial transactions and store of value.
Beyond Bitcoin, there are many ambitious start-ups looking to disrupt industries by launching their own cryptocurrencies, proposing unique smart contracts and working closely with large institutions to introduce and apply decentralization to the problems that they’re looking to solve.
To the uninitiated, blockchain technology seems like a fancier term for a database or spreadsheet. While that may be partly true, its potential for real-world use cases ranges from small to revolutionary. Not only will it be able to create decentralization on a massive scale, but it may also help improve the efficiency and transparency of many small day-to-day things that can create much bigger changes – from transactions to data storage.
There are perhaps dozens upon dozens of ways that blockchain can be used, but for the sake of brevity, here are the 10 best applications of blockchain technology that we have found for now:
- Financial Services
Among all the industries, financial services are one of the most obvious candidates of being disrupted by blockchain technology. The distributed ledger technology (DLT) behind blockchain technology has the potential to effectively remove the function of the middlemen, which is one of the largest players in the financial industries – from central banks to commercial banks to hedge funds to remittance companies.
It’s also one of the most highly centralized industries, where it heavily relies on bureaucratic systems of intermediaries that are often slow and expensive. The new blockchain players are looking to enter the market to improve workflows and cut overheads by providing a far more secure, transparent and cost-efficient system via DLTs.
- Bookkeeping and Auditing
- Credit Reports
- Cross-Border Remittances
- Point of Sales Systems
- Lending and Borrowing
- Trading Platforms
- Clearing and Settlements
- Hedge Funds
- Smart Bonds
Another trillion-dollar industry that has enormous potential for blockchain technology application in the healthcare industry. DLTs may not revolutionise healthcare, but it does have the potential to improve the industry’s efficiency.
The healthcare industry is heavily reliant on data, such as pharmaceutical records, patient medical records, billings and invoices, medical research, clinical trials, and others. These data are also centralized, where hospitals, clinics and government agencies play the part of the middleman. Patients, on the other hand, will often need to rely on such intermediaries to safely store and process crucial information like medical history and billings. This also happens to be an industry where bureaucratic systems tend to slow down efficiency and human errors can literally be fatal.
By introducing DLTs to the healthcare industry, such inefficiencies and errors can be potentially removed altogether. Patients will be able to store and access their data on the blockchain privately, while medical institutions will be able to process that same data all from the same blockchain.
- Health Insurance
- Private healthcare providers
- National healthcare systems
- Medical research
- Nursing homes & elder care
- Healthcare Administration (no brief needed just pointers)
- Electronic Medical Records
- Tokenized Healthcare
- Prescription Medicine Compliance
- Personalized Care
- Patient Consent Management
As the world becomes more reliant on digital technology, wide-scale use of Internet-of-Things (IoT) seems to be an inevitable reality. Devices like home appliances, vehicles, handheld electronics, thermostats, mobile phones, sensors, and others, will be increasingly more interconnected and communicable over a larger network.
IoTs will prove to be the next step in the evolution of a digital world, providing convenience and efficiency, unlike anything that humankind has experienced before. At the same time, it’s important to resolve key concerns regarding IoTs, especially that of privacy, transparency and security.
To answer such concerns, one of the best solutions lies in blockchain technology. A decentralized system such as DLTs will be able to help improve security, create and process tamper-proof data, allow greater autonomy while being trustless and more affordable.
- Smart Appliances
- Supply Chains
- Energy Markets
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the government processes more data than any other institutions in the world. They require frequent use of large scale data management, transactions and asset management systems, and much of their system and methods of handling such functions are outdated and inefficient.
Blockchain technology, on the other hand, is designed to function as an asset management platform. Which may be the perfect solution to the bureaucratic systems and inefficiencies of current government systems, especially since we’re moving more and more towards a paperless society.
Blockchain technology can serve as an ideal solution to accommodate the operational needs of governmental systems. It can potentially revolutionize asset and data management by introducing new voting systems, new record storage, new tax portals, new healthcare delivery and more.
It will also improve governments abilities to transparently and securely collaborate with other countries’ governments worldwide, meeting citizens’ expectations for speed, transparency, and trustless transactions governments that will positively impact billions of people all around the world.
- Improved Taxation Processes
- Reconciling Intragovernmental Transfers
- E-residency Programs
- Reduce Voter Fraud
- Blockchain Identity
- Courtroom Evidence Authentication
- Improved Healthcare Coverage Platforms
- Shared Energy Sources
- Government Record Storage
Like the financial and healthcare industries, the insurance industry is also highly centralized and buried in complex bureaucratic systems. It’s also an industry that impacts the lives of many millions of people worldwide, by virtue of being a way in which people protect themselves against financial loss. It is a way that we use to manage risk through a third-party.
The third-party – insurance companies – create, distribute and hold policies between them and individuals and companies. Any insurance policy exists as a contract between the insurance company (the insurer) and the policyholder (the party covered by the policy). Policyholders purchase a liability policy to protect their property, assets, and self.
In order to improve the archaic systems of the insurance industry, blockchain technology is able to decentralize the industry by providing better data storage, higher security and lower overheads. All of these benefits will not only flow towards insurance companies but more importantly to the insurance policyholders.
- Claims Opportunity
- Real-time Claims and Payment Automation
- Parametric Insurance
- Big Data
Identity and privacy have become a major concern in today’s society. Banking, healthcare, national security, citizenship documentation, online retailing or walking into a bar, all require identity authentication and authorization. But what worries a lot of people is how safe are their identification documentation and privacy against prying eyes or maliciously intent players.
Due to the lack of common comprehension and often-unchecked cyberspace of personal information, Identity in the context of technology is facing significant hurdles. Events such as hacked databases and breached accounts are shedding light on the growing problems of a technologically advanced society, without entirely outpaced identity-based security innovations.
To solve this, applying blockchain technology enables tracking and managing digital identities a secure and efficient process, resulting in seamless sign-on and reduced fraud.
- Anonymous Data Collection & Analysis
- Immigration & Biometric Identity
- Self-Sovereign Identities
Some of the key problems that the music industry have been facing concerns about copyright issues, content piracy, ownership, and royalty distributions. Since the emergence and proliferation of online music sharing and streaming, the industry has struggled to find new ways of monetizing while preventing piracy at the same time.
Data storage concerning copyright and documents that identify who wrote, performed and owns a creative asset – be it in audio or video format – is still being done in conventional ways and dependant on third-parties and intermediaries.
One way of solving these archaic problems is through blockchain technology, by streamlining ownership rights, provide fair payment and enable better transparency for musicians and publishers. The decentralized nature of blockchain technology in the music industry will eventually help to redistribute power, improve creativity and motivation for artists, facilitate better transparency, and create a more secure way of storing and managing data.
- Revenue Sharing
- Tokenized Fandom
- Media Ecosystems
- Decentralized Music Streaming Platforms
- Blockchain-based Digital Rights Management
- Piracy Prevention
- Supply Chain
The supply chain is the invincible, boring, yet crucial component that greases the gears behind-the-scenes that ensures the smooth operation of our day-to-day lives. It ensures goods get from point A to point B – from fresh goods at a supermarket to items bought from online marketplaces. Supply chains require active management to keep the chain functioning and affordable for a company’s bottom line.
The goal for supply chain managers is to produce and distribute goods as effectively as possible while sticking to the budget and ensuring a certain level of customer satisfaction. By introducing blockchain technology, it will improve the efficiency of supply chains by several orders of magnitude and effectively reduce running costs for many companies. These savings can then trickle down to its employees through better pay and bonuses, then to consumers through better prices items.
- Food supply chain
- Automotive supply chain
- Inventory management
- Identity verification
- Provenance tracking
- Shipping logistics
- Real Estate
Nearly all real estate transactions around the world – from Bombay to Boston to Baghdad – relies heavily on paper records. This includes essential data like payment, escrows, titles, and property agreements and contracts.
Imagine if the real estate industry adopts blockchain technology and decentralize all these important documents and data storage. It could potentially create massive improvements of efficiencies and cost savings.
More importantly, DLTs will be able to effectively reduce fraud, increase financial privacy, improve transaction speeds, and democratize property markets. Individuals, companies and real estate companies will be able to access important data and documents on the blockchain to retrieve real-time, immutable data across borders in record speeds.
- Property Titles
- Property History Traceable via Blockchain
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
- Lending Process
- Tenant Screening and Leasing Process
- Managing Commissions
- Smart Contract Escrow
- Tokenized Real Estate Platforms
- Blockchain Notarization
If there is one area that blockchain technology can be applied and revolutionize, it is money. DLTs have the potential to create a brand new system of robust, transparent, and highly efficient monetary management.
Current monetary systems globally use primarily paper-based cash or credit systems that utilizes private intermediaries (like Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and the like) to support cross-border financial transactions. Holders of government-issued currencies (e.g. United-States Dollar, European Euro) are required to trust centralized authorities that overall monetary valuations will remain stable and that online transfers or holdings cannot be seized.
The creation of blockchain technology, led by Bitcoin, has proven that there could be a better system for money in the future. One that supports a true peer-to-peer environment of money transfer that is trustless, private, secure, faster, and cheaper. It overrides the need for intermediaries and centralized banks or private corporations and democratizes access to the monetary systems for people across the globe with instant, secure, and frictionless money.
- Low-cost money transfers
- Better store of value
- Inflation-free financial token
- Rewards programs
- A viable alternative to fiat money