Since its invention, Blockchain technology use cases have rapidly increased. Initially, blockchain was only used to drive digital currencies called cryptocurrencies with a good example of such a blockchain being Bitcoin, one of the most famous blockchain networks around the world.
Bitcoin, which was the first blockchain network to be developed, was made to only facilitate payment transactions through its digital token the BTC. However, when the next blockchain network, Ethereum, was developed everything changed. Besides creating a true peer-to-peer secure transaction by storing immutable data, Ethereum was made to be an open-source platform with smart contracts features.
This provided a platform for developers to create other decentralized blockchain applications that are tailor-made to address certain problems in the community. Afterwards, very many blockchain networks have been developed, each addressing a certain need.
A smart contract is an agreement between two people that is stored in the form of computer code. They set prior conditions, run it and store it on a public or private blockchain database that cannot be changed. The transactions only happen when the agreed conditions in the agreement are met — there is no third party, so there are no issues with trust. In other words, thanks to smart contracts we are able to decentralize agreements so that they are fair and trustless.
Other uses of blockchain technology
Below are some of the areas where blockchain technology has been adopted:
A blockchain startup called Accenture unveiled a smart plug that uses the Proof-of-Concept (PoC) consensus mechanism to monitor the use of power to save on cost. The smart plug uses other gadgets to monitor how power is used and then looks for the cheapest energy tariffs and uses blockchain technology to switch the power suppliers.
Blockchain has earned itself several uses in the healthcare industry. These include:
- Securing medical records
Since the data that is stored to any blockchain network is immutable, doctors and other medical practitioners can use blockchain technology to securely store the data of their patients. As a result, any person that shall require to use that data shall be assured that the record is accurate and it is not tampered with.
Also, since information shared on blockchain networks is cryptographically encoded, no unauthorized persons can access the records.
Several startups have delved into the healthcare sector. An example is the Guardtime, which partnered with the Estonian government to create a blockchain network for its citizens’ health record.
- Authenticating medicines
There have been many cases of counterfeit medicine flocking the market. However, since the data stored in the blockchain cannot be changed, blockchain can be used to track pharmaceuticals along the supply chains to their end-user.
A startup by the name Blockverify came up with a blockchain network that tracks pharmaceuticals throughout their supply chain. This way the doctors can track back the source of any medicine before administering it to their patients.
3- Real estate
The real estate sector is another sector that has seen widespread adoption of blockchain especially by using security tokens through asset tokenization. Contrary to the normal utility tokens that are used for paying for services and products within the blockchain network or trading on crypto exchanges, the security tokens give the buyers some shares in the company.
Therefore, real estate developers can partner with blockchain startups to allow investors to invest in their projects by purchasing security tokens (in this case which are tokenized assets). As a result, the transaction process becomes more efficient and cost-effective since there are no middlemen involved. Also, developers can access broader investment pools due to the ability to use ownership fractionalization. An example of such use case is ATLANT, which has developed a blockchain platform to facilitate the transactions with real estate and rental property industry.
Additionally, blockchain technology has also found some use in the registry of land ownership. Because any data that is stored on a blockchain network cannot be corrupted, blockchain has provided a secure platform where land ownership registry can be stored. Ubitquity is an example of a blockchain startup that has created a blockchain platform that records and tracks the ownerships of title deeds. That way t reduces fraud and future search time.
Sweden has also partnered with another blockchain startup called ChromaWay, to test if it is possible to create a land registry based on blockchain.
Transportation is another sector that has seen numerous blockchain use cases.
Blockchain has made it possible for people to track their goods/cargo in transit.
Blockchain has also made it possible to effectively transport temperature-controlled products like sensitive pharmaceutical shipments, meat, flowers and vegetables. By integrating IoT and blockchain, firms can accurately track and control the temperatures within a container to the optimum temperature required for their shipment to ensure that the products remain fresh.
An example, is TradeLens, a blockchain-based shipping platform developed by Maersk which is one of the largest container company in the world. Through open APIs, companies can integrate their systems with the TradeLens and connect to several supply chain providers, and exchange real-time data/documents that are required in the shipment process. The participants within the TradeLens platform can also create ledgers for transactions.
Another use case is IBM’s Blockchain Platform that uses Linux Foundation’s open-source HyperLedger Fabric codebase.
Another use case is DELIVER, a blockchain-based platform developed by the Port of Rotterdam in partnership with Samsung SDS and ABN AMRO bank. This platform aims at facilitating paperless end-to-end tracked shipment to optimize both physical and financial processes within the supply chain.
5- Patents and Copyrights protection
The immutability feature of blockchain stored data makes it a perfect choice for protecting the rights to ownership. As a result, it becomes difficult for unscrupulous parties to doctor the ownership of certain products to make money from them.
An example of such a use case is Chronicled, which is a blockchain startup that developed a blockchain platform that secures the identity various products ranging from wine bottle tops and labels, fine art, to luxury footwear.
Chronicles make it easy for users to verify the authenticity of the wines by scanning the seals on the labels and bottle tops using their smartphones. It has also developed cryptographic microchips that are registered on the blockchain and can be embedded in fine art paintings and sneakers. That way, buyers can be able to authenticate if a painting is genuine or not by scanning the microchips using a smartphone.
Other than cryptocurrency, these were the 5 uses of Blockchain in other industries.