Blockchain technology has become big news in recent times, with a slew of new practical applications proving it's so much more than just a buzzword. While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have grabbed much of the attention, the underlying blockchain technology that powers them has plenty of other use cases with the potential to revolutionize a whole range of different sectors.
In this article, we will delve into some of the most promising real-life blockchain applications, exploring how this technology is being used to enhance industries such as:
- Real Estate
- Personal Data Security
- Media and Entertainment
#1: Trusted Crowdfunding
The financial sector is ripe for a blockchain revolution. One of the most prominent applications of this is trusted crowdfunding.
Blockchain enables data transparency, thereby offering the perfect structure to act as a transparent and secure platform for crowdfunding campaigns, providing investors with crucial information about the project, team, and future plans.
Smart contracts - automatically executing computer programs - can be used to lock a portion of funds, releasing them only when certain milestones are achieved. This creates a higher level of accountability and trust in the crowdfunding process - good for everyone involved.
Some popular crowdfunding platforms utilizing blockchain technology include Wefunder, Coinstarter, TallyCoin, and Gitcoin.
#2: Cross-border Transactions
Traditional cross-border transactions are notoriously expensive and time-consuming.
But it doesn't have to be like that. Blockchain solutions offer another way, enabling faster and more affordable cross-border transactions through both fiat and digital currencies by eliminating intermediaries and providing a secure, decentralized network.
Blockchain platform Ripple is a prime example of this, providing a way to wire money globally at a fraction of the cost of more traditional methods.
#3: Easy Money Lending
Obtaining loans from banks and other financial institutions is often a cumbersome and costly process.
Blockchain technology can streamline the lending process by enabling peer-to-peer (P2P) lending through a system known as decentralized finance - often simply referred to as DeFi - that breaks free of the need for a central authority.
The likes of Celsius, AAVE, Binance, and MakerDAO are some of the top blockchain-based lending platforms that allow users to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies at lower interest rates than traditional methods meaning users can get more digital asset for their buck.
#4: Secured Insurance
Insurance fraud is a significant issue and leads to more expensive premiums for honest policy holders.
This issue can be tempered with blockchain technology. Blockchain provides a secure, transparent, and verifiable system for managing insurance claims, automating and speeding up payment processes, and ensuring adherence to cybersecurity protocols.
Companies like IBM and Cateina Technologies have partnered with several Indian insurers to create a blockchain solution for the insurance industry already.
#5: Financial Trading
Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize financial trading and open it up to everyday investors - not just institutions and high net worth individuals.
By providing a transparent and secure platform for trading of stocks, shares, derivatives, debt and tokenized commodities blockchain can streamline the entire process, ensure data integrity and improve accessibility.
Many of the top tier stock exchanges, the London Stock Exchange for example, are exploring the use of blockchain for stock trading.
#1: Cooler Incentives
Loyalty incentives and rewards are a common way to keep customers engaged in the tourism industry.
With the technology now in place to support it, blockchain-based loyalty tokens are gaining popularity as they provide long-term benefits and the opportunity to earn passive income.
France-based firm Sandblock allows customers to create customized loyalty tokens in the form of a cryptocurrency which can be used to reward users for their engagement and then be traded for rewards or even fiat currencies down the line.
#2: Easy Payments
Blockchain technology can simplify the process of making payments for travel bookings and hotel reservations and offers travelers a way to save on the fees that often pile up extra costs when using traditional payment methods abroad.
Crypto payments and other blockchain-supported payment methods enable swift, fee-free transfers without the risk of data theft.
Read More: A New Horizon for Blockchain in Nigeria?
Some hotels even offer rewards to customers who make crypto payments, adding an extra perk for travelers.
#1: Record Keeping
Transparent and secure record-keeping is essential in the real estate industry. Blockchain technology makes this possible, offering a tamper-proof solution for storing property records, ensuring the integrity and security of transactions.
Platforms like Ubitquity provide blockchain-based record-keeping solutions for the efficient tracking of deeds within the real estate industry.
#2: Buy, Sell and Earn
Blockchain technology can facilitate transparent and secure property transactions and through tokenization can provide a route for fractional property investment allowing investors to earn passive income.
Platforms such as Propy allow users to buy and sell properties using blockchain, ensuring the immutability of records and the integrity of transactions, while the likes of RealT offer investors a way to get involved in fractionalized property investment.
Cross-border deals can even be facilitated with the help of blockchain technology.
#3: Public Registry
A public registry for land ownership is another potential application for blockchain technology in the real estate space.
This decentralized network allows property owners to store their digital property right assets immutably with complete control and security.
The records are encrypted and secured by smart contracts and digital signatures.
This could prove invaluable, particularly in developing countries, where fragile or incomplete records can potentially lead to confusion or even conflict.
On the back of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for example, the destruction of records left farmers without proof of their property ownership.
Personal Data Security
Identity theft and data breaches are one of the primary concerns in this modern digital age.
Blockchain technology can help secure personal information by storing it on an immutable ledger.
With the information spread across a distributed network, there is no centralized point of failure that can be compromised.
Platforms like Civic offer blockchain-based identity verification solutions, allowing users to create secure digital profiles that can be shared with others at their discretion.
#1: Supply Chain Transparency
Blockchain technology can enhance transparency within supply chains by providing a decentralized ledger for tracking products from their origin to the end consumer.
This ensures the authenticity of products and prevents counterfeiting and fake goods - a global market worth more than the entire economy of Ireland.
Companies like DHL are utilizing blockchain technology for supply chain management, with all shipment records maintained on a secure blockchain network.
5.2 Asset Tracking
Blockchain technology can be utilized for asset tracking in the logistics industry, an increasingly complicated process in the evermore globalized economy.
Platforms like Chain.io provide cloud-native blockchain infrastructures for managing freight operations, shipping automation, and more, ensuring the scalability and security of supply chain businesses.
Media and Entertainment
#1: Royalty Payments and Digital Rights Management
Blockchain technology can help manage royalty payments and digital rights for artists and content creators, with smart contracts releasing royalties when certain conditions are met.
Steem is a platform that allows users to earn crypto rewards for their original content, while also providing a transparent and secure system for tracking ownership and usage rights.
#2: Combating Piracy
Piracy is a real problem in the media and entertainment industry.
Blockchain creates a way to battle this by allowing tamper-proof time-stamping and providing a transparent and secure platform for content distribution making it nigh on impossible to plagiarize previously copyrighted material.
With the help of blockchain, content creators can be protected, ensuring that their work is not illegally distributed or reproduced.
#1: Medical Records Management
Blockchain technology can revolutionize the management of medical data by providing a secure, transparent, and accessible platform for storing and sharing patient information and making sure that control and decision-making around the data remains in the hands of the patients themselves.
Platforms like Medicalchain offer blockchain-based solutions for managing patient records, allowing doctors and patients to access vital information of opt-in users securely and efficiently.
#2: Supply Chain Management for Pharmaceuticals
Blockchain technology can also help improve the supply chain management of pharmaceutical products, guaranteeing quality and keeping the process transparent for all parties involved.
The likes of Chronicled use blockchain to automate business settlements and product verification within the life sciences industry, ensuring the authenticity of distributed pharmaceutical products.
#1: Public Services
Governments and their citizens can benefit from blockchain technology too as it can improve the efficiency and transparency of public services, such as land registration and voting systems, and help secure government documents.
There are platforms out there, Follow My Vote and Voatz, for example, offering safe, blockchain-based solutions for voting and land registry management, ensuring the integrity and security of these processes.
#2: Identity Management
Blockchain technology can also be utilized for identity management in government services.
Evernym (now part of Midy), for example, is a platform that allow individuals to manage their digital identities safely, storing credentials on a secure digital wallet.
#1: Credential Verification
Blockchain technology can be applied to the education sector for verifying academic credentials and certifications.
This ensures the authenticity of the qualifications and prevents fraud during job applications ,for example, as well as helping the achiever of the credentials keep track of them more easily than a having to rely on a physical copy.
Platforms such as Learning Machine provide blockchain-based solutions for this kind of issuing and verification of academic credentials.
#2: Decentralized Learning Platforms
Blockchain technology can also be utilized to create decentralized learning platforms, offering a secure and transparent environment for sharing educational content.
Traditionally, educational institutions have authority over the knowledge, while a decentralized approach encourages shared learning and collaborative knowledge creation with an increased focus on peer-to-peer interactions and a life-long approach to learning.
ODEM and TeachMePlease are two platforms in particular that offer blockchain-based solutions for connecting students, educators, and institutions, helping ensure the quality and integrity of educational resources.
#3: Research and Development
Blockchain technology can be used to facilitate research and development in various fields.
Platforms like DECENT provide a decentralized platform for sharing scientific research and data, ensuring transparency and collaboration among researchers freeing up knowledge from the control of any single entity and helping to drive forward understanding for the benefit of everyone.
#1: Decentralized Energy Trading
One of the most promising blockchain use cases in the energy sector is decentralized energy trading.
Blockchain technology can enable peer-to-peer energy trading, allowing individuals to buy and sell excess renewable energy.
Power Ledger and LO3 Energy are two platforms providing blockchain-based solutions for decentralized energy trading, promoting a more sustainable and efficient energy market.
#2: Grid Management
Blockchain technology can also be used to manage energy grids more efficiently and securely.
Platforms like Grid+ and Electron offer blockchain-based solutions for real-time monitoring and optimization of energy grids, ensuring a more reliable and sustainable energy supply.
A blockchain-powered future
Blockchain technology is revolutionizing industries all over the world by providing secure, transparent, and efficient solutions for a wide range of real-world use cases.
As more companies and organizations adopt blockchain technology in the coming years, the very nature of how business operate and users interact with their services is set to change forever.
The future of blockchain is bright, and its applications in real life are only just beginning to be realized.