(Source: Records Keeper)
Most of us would associate Blockchain with cryptocurrencies but it’s come a long way since being “the technology that underpins Bitcoin”.
It’s already made a foray into financial services, with the potential of saving banks an estimated $12 billion per year.
But Blockchain’s unique set of characteristics, such as being an incorruptible database which is secure and relatively inexpensive, means it’s become an irresistible temptation for a wide variety of industries.
We are always looking to do things faster, cheaper, more securely and with less hassle. As a result, there are some interesting use cases for Blockchain emerging (other than finance) that’s set to revolutionize the way in which things are done.
Blockchain could enable better data sharing among healthcare professionals which will result in more accurate diagnoses and focussed medical care.
The technology also enables the tracking of medicines which will eliminate the counterfeit market and ensure vaccines around the globe are utilized effectively.
PokitDok provides a secure network for patient data to be shared among all parties involved, increasing individual patient care, and Chronicled enables the tracking of organs, blood and medication wit temperature-regulating smart-censor technology on a Blockchain network.
In a survey conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value, 16% of healthcare executives that took part said they expect to have a commercial Blockchain solution up n running in 2017.
Real estate is a lucrative market and therefore makes it a perfect industry for Blockchain technology to shake up. There’s an entire organization (International Blockchain Real Estate Association or IBREA) specifically established just for this purpose.
By utilizing smart contracts and tokenizing real estate assets, Blockchain can enable transfers to be conducted from thousands of kilometres away without the need for any intermediaries (banks, lawyers, brokers, etc.), thereby drastically reducing transaction costs.
BitProperty enables property investors to invest in shares of properties by allowing owners to tokenize and issue digital coins that represent shares in a specific house.
ATLANT looks at the rental side of things by offering P2P rental on a Blockchain network, without the involvement of any real estate agents. Transparent information is stored on the network about every property owner.
Mining cryptocurrencies uses up a lot of energy and is quite a burden on power sources.
It’s therefore fitting that the same technology that causes this also now tries to provide solutions to counter the excessive usage.
PowerLedger is an Australian company that combats energy waste by developing a peer-to-peer energy trading platform, allowing individuals to sell their excess energy to each other.
Grid+, on the other hand, leverages the power of the Ethereum network to give end-consumers access to wholesale energy prices which is a big time saving on electricity costs and improves the utilization of existing grid infrastructure.
Voting is a sensitive process, requiring systems that provide robust security measures in order for votes to be tamperproof, accurate tracking so people can cast more than one vote, voter anonymity so people won’t feel threatened by opposition supporters and speedy processing so results can be near enough instantaneous.
Blockchain is a decentralized network that combines all these aspects in a transparent, auditable chain and is therefore ideal for democratic voting processes.
Democracy Earth developed Sovereign, a platform that believes in something called liquid democracy, which gives people increased power over how they use their vote. They can either use it themselves or pass it on to a delegate who is more informed.
Horizon State will enable voters to vote securely from anywhere around the world using a digital ballot box built on Blockchain technology. There can be no recording errors or any fraud whatsoever. By allowing voters to vote remotely will also greatly increase voter turnout in nations where this is a problem (during the last presidential election in the US, only 55% of the eligible population turned up to vote).
Government records management
Governments are tasked with keeping all sorts of vital records on its citizens including birth certificates, death certificates, land registry documents, business licences, identification documents and much more.
In countries with less robust record keeping system, corruption and missing information can cause a lot of heartache and pain for individuals on the receiving end of the stick.
Blockchain technology is an immutable, permanent data storage network that will make document theft, damage and corruption impossible.
Velox.Re successfully completed an eight-month program with Chicago’s Cook County Recorder of Deeds to test the validity of real estate transfers on a Blockchain network and the recording of such information into the public record.
Factom partnered with the Honduras government to effectively and securely record land registry titles on a Blockchain network that will reduce the risk of people losing the rights to their properties due to corruption.
Around 30% of food produced for human consumption around the world gets wasted, costing close to $1 trillion per annum.
Blockchain’s unique tracking and recording capabilities can ensure food reaches consumers before it becomes inconsumable (especially fruit and veg). It will also improve global food safety by being able to quickly and reliably identify sources of food contamination.
IBM partnered with Nestle, Walmart and Dole to tackle issues such as food contamination and waste by using Blockchain to keep an accurate record on individual groups of food.
Cargill is planning to use a Blockchain-based system designed to track turkeys, including where they came from and where they were raised. Buyers will even be able to see photos and remarks from farmers on their chosen bird.
Although it’s biggest use case to date, Blockchain is not just a platform on which to run cryptocurrency economies. The financial services industry is quite excited (or panicked, depending on who you talk to) about the technology’s potential for disruption
But’s it’s Blockchain’s core concepts of immutability, accuracy, transparency, cost-saving, record keeping and tracking abilities that make it THE technology to bring a fresh perspective to every old, stale and cumbersome industry out there.