When we hear the word “Blockchain”, most of us think about future applications and say, “Blockchain can do that, Blockchain will resolve that.”
However, Blockchain has been deployed widely and many applications have been built that have improved business operations across various industries.
Disrupting the financial sector, initially with the introduction of bitcoin, Blockchain applications are far beyond cryptocurrencies. With its potential to bring transparency and fairness while saving businesses money and time, the technology is transforming a wide array of sectors.
The World Economic Forum has stated that 10% of global Gross Domestic Product will be stored on the Blockchain by 2025. It implies that the global executives have prepared themselves for the innovative shift and are all set for the blockchain implementation.
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The impact of distributed ledger technology is as imposing as the revolution of the internet itself.
Before we go ahead with the disrupting use cases of the blockchain with their real applications.
let’s understand the fundamentals of blockchain that make it a promising technology for all industries.
Since no central authority controls the blockchain network, a group of nodes or computers within the network come to a consensus in regard to what should be added to the ledger.
Members of the network use a consensus mechanism to agree upon what happens on the blockchain and which transactions are valid.
Data stored on the blockchain cannot be modified or deleted because all the blocks on the chain are linked to each other with the current and previous hash values. Altering any data on the blockchain would change the hash values of all blocks.
Blockchains can be either permissioned or permissionless depending on the requirements of a blockchain solution.
Smart Contracts are computer codes that interact with the blockchain network to execute transactions automatically.
Since the blockchain technology can bring transparency, security, immutability, auditability and many more benefits, let’s discuss how it is impacting various industries across the globe.
The earlier use cases of the blockchain were only limited to the currency and payments. It is the reason why the financial industry has now taken a significant interest in the technology, promising a new era of blockchain finance/banking.
For example, a multinational bank, Barclays implemented blockchain by adopting its security and transparency aspects into their transaction processes. The bank introduced the first type of blockchain-backed credit transaction between Seychelles Trading Company and Ornua. The project included the first encrypted trade documentation to be managed on the blockchain.
With the distributed ledger to store and move documents, the bank was able to save significant money and time on the transaction. It would have taken up to ten days if Barclays used traditional channels to process transactions.
Barclays experienced advantage in incorporating blockchain technology into their banking operations. Similarly, other financial organizations are also taking notice. In one of the surveys, Accenture has stated that the financial industry could save around $10 billion with blockchain implementation to process settlement and clearance.
Therefore, integrating blockchain infrastructure into the financial and banking system can enhance the industry by streamlining document storage, processing time, AML/KYC of a user and cross-border payments.
P2P lending blockchain PlatformImage Source: LeewayHertz
2. Supply Chain and Logistics
Have you ever imagined where your clothes come from? Where your food items are processed? Major issues faced by the shipping and supply chain industry is the lack of transparency and interaction due to the involvement of too many logistics companies. A joint study by Accenture and logistics company, DHL says that the existence of over 500,000 shipping companies alone in the US causes transparency and siloing issues.
Blockchain is the answer to all these issues faced by the supply chain management industry as it allows all stakeholders within the network to share the same ledger with read-only permissions. Providing a single source of truth, blockchain offers data transparency across the entire supply chain. By allowing users of the platform to acknowledge data sources with traceable transactions, blockchain builds greater trust within the supply chain use case.
Real applications of blockchain in supply chain are countless. For example, a shipping giant, DHL has been able to become a forefront of blockchain-based logistics with its ability to keep a ledger of shipments and maintain integrity.
Also, our team of blockchain developers at LeewayHertz recently completed a blockchain supply chain project, TraceRx that allows UNO to trace the distribution of drugs from the warehouse through the last mile. It has helped reduce so many recalls and theft cases.Image Source: LeewayHertz Supply chain Solution
Though insurance companies have started to adopt digital technology to register a policy and process claims, many organizations still have to manage paper contracts which are prone to errors due to human intervention. Also, claim approval process is a prolonged process for the users as they have to approach multiple intermediaries.
Due to the time-consuming process, lack of automation and no transparency in the ecosystem, the insurance claim process usually gets delayed up to 5–6 months, traumatizing consumers.
Using smart contracts that contain business logic, blockchain-based insurance application eliminates the need for middlemen and automate the validation process. As the insurance claims’ data is stored on the blockchain ledger, no one can alter it and all stakeholders within the network can access it transparently and securely.
For example, Etherisc is one of the examples of Decentralized Insurance Platform that allows users to buy insurance for flights and get an instant and automatic payout in case a flight is delayed or canceled.
Etherisc has also come up with the prototypes for Collateral Protection for crypto-backed loans, social insurance and crop insurance and is going to launch a decentralized solution for all these use cases soon.
One of the most promising use cases of blockchain can be an enhancement of governmental operations. Governments have started using blockchain applications to improve processes like the legal signing of documents, voting and land title registry.
For example, the Illinois government uses the blockchain technology to secure government documents, reduce financial operations, enhance bureaucratic efficiency and accountability.
Voting based on the blockchain can improve civic engagement by offering the next level of incorruptibility and security and allow voting to be done on mobile devices.
Also, Essentia is building an e-government pilot with Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners of Finland. It will allow both rural and urban citizens of Finland to access records.
5. Digital Identity
Every one of us uses an identity document on a regular basis to avail any service, book a ticket, apply for a passport or other document. Since the existing identification method is based on centralization, we don’t know where our personal information is stored and who uses it for ad targeting without our consent.
Banks, credit agencies and government institutes are more vulnerable to hacking and theft of data as they deal with a lot of identification data.
By allowing citizens to manage identity on their own, blockchain eliminates intermediaries and ensures integrity. A blockchain-based identity application stores social security numbers, birth dates, birth certificates and other sensitive and personal information on a decentralized ledger. The government could experience a dramatic drop in identity theft cases by keeping a history of records at all times.
Also, it is not possible to alter the data once it is added to the blockchain. Therefore, blockchain widely impacts digital identities.
Zug in Switzerland has built a blockchain-based identity platform, Uport where citizens of Zug can register for resident’s ID and participate in online voting by verifying their Uport identity.
6. Real Estate
The Grand View Research says that the real estate market is estimated to reach a revenue of USD 4,263.7 billion globally by 2025. In a current scenario, an individual willing to buy a property either visits a broking or listing website or real estate agency in person. Intermediaries then suggest sellers some properties matching the buyer’s criteria.
Intermediaries aim to make a profit and they have a business model that makes them look biased towards the deal. However, those deals are not in favor of buyers. It happens due to the lack of transparency in the ecosystem.
Since blockchain is a network of distributed databases where information of every information is stored in the form of hashes, keeping real-estate information on it will bring credibility and originality.
As the blockchain ledger serves as a single source of truth, any modification gets transmitted to each node in the network and information gets updated in the ledger. Therefore, manipulation in the price or ownership of property is not possible with a blockchain-based application.
Ukraine is the first nation to use blockchain for facilitating property deals. A prominent cryptocurrency advocate and founder of TechCrunch sold the property in Kiev on the blockchain. The deal was done with the help of smart contracts on Ethereum blockchain.
Though the healthcare industry uses digital techniques to maintain electronic health records, patient’s information and reports are shared without their consent and stored on a centralized server.
Since the data is stored on a centralized database, it can lead to a risk of a single point of failure and create an attack surface for hackers.
Blockchain can have a considerable impact on patient’s records by enabling them to control their data with smart contracts. A blockchain-based healthcare application allows all stakeholders to access and view records with the controlled data disclosure through business logic embedded in smart contracts.
For example, BurstIQ’s big data smart contracts allow doctors and patients to exchange sensitive medical records securely. Smart contracts ensure what data to be shared and add extra privacy to the ecosystem.
8. Waste Management
The world is drowning with an increased volume of waste with each passing day, thereby affecting human health, environment and climate. Effective waste management seems like a challenge for many developing countries. The reason behind the growing amount of waste is an increased rate of population and urbanization.
Therefore, it is essential to come up with a modern approach that allows stakeholders within the ecosystem to keep track of a full cycle of waste management.
Implementing blockchain in waste management could help WM (Waste Management) authorities to reduce the amount of waste by connecting IoT sensors that generate the data related to the waste and sending the captured data to blockchain for real-time tracking facility of garbage trucks.
Smart Waste Management System in China uses WaltonChain’s RFID technology to enable controlling of waste levels to optimize resources and enhance operational efficiencies.
The list of blockchain use cases mentioned above are only a few use cases. Blockchain can have countless use cases and has the potential to disrupt almost every industry by providing a high level of privacy and auditability.
In case your industry is not listed above and you want to understand how blockchain can help your business area, talk to our Blockchain Consultants and bring value to your business.