Blockchain is rapidly transforming the business world by enhancing customer experience and building trust across industries. While blockchain technology is already proving useful in finance and banking industries, the distributed ledger system is not limited to this forum only. Let’s distill the least obvious (but some of the most powerful) uses where blockchain has made a foray:
- Banking and Finance
Here’s the obvious one. Blockchain is enhancing security and information sharing in an industry which is always on the lookout for a digitized and secured environment so that it can serve as critical storehouses and transfer hubs of value. Blockchain is justifying its disruptive role in the financial services industry in many ways. Many banks have taken up this new technology including UBS, Deutsche Bank and Barclays. In fact, 9 out of 10 finance executives said their bank is currently exploring blockchain’s potential. Among successful implementation of blockchain technology are the utility settlement coin “minted” by Swiss bank, UBS and trade finance platform Hyperledger Fabric, backed by IBM.
Blockchain technology in education has many uses, such as determining which students actually need scholarships and those who can afford it. Blockchain allows the system to be less detrimental to needy students who end up dropping out or accruing a lot of debt that causes them to work for many years just to pay off student loans. Blockchain will also facilitate how education credentials are handled worldwide which will reduce the risk of bogus job applications while speeding up the continuing education process. Sony is already making progress in this area with their platform for credentials verification.
Blockchain products in retail and e-commerce industries help to increase the visibility of consumer products. By using a distributed and trusted database, blockchain solutions are reducing the barriers that bottleneck business processes, such as settlement processes. Blockchain also ensures greater transparency through a shared, permanent ledger that enables businesses to establish immutable trust across areas like invoicing and payments, supply chain, and global shipping. According to the latest survey, 82% of respondents in the retail industry predicted that blockchain would yield cost savings for their company of more than 2.5% by streamlining operations and automating manual tasks. In 2017, Walmart applied for a patent for a blockchain system to track packages delivered by drones, while Target is reportedly hiring experts to accept Bitcoin.
Blockchain technology is increasing the security, privacy and usability of sensitive health data by keeping the patient-centered ecosystem in focus. In fact, blockchain provides a new model for health information exchanges (HIE) by making electronic medical records (EMRs) more efficient and secure. Blockchain technology applied to medical research can improve trust in science by creating an unchangeable, time stamped record of the research findings. The Iryo unified medical records platform does exactly that.
- Corporate governance
The latest blockchain technology can transform how shareholders vote as it streamlines the complex voting process, making it more secure, transparent and efficient than ever before. In an era when insurers, pension schemes and institutional investors increasingly need to demonstrate accountability for their investment policy decisions, blockchain will help expedite collation of ballots and significantly improve reporting transparency. At the same time it will tackle shareholder anonymity and complex proxy voting issues. A good example would be Sharechain, the first shareholder voting system based on blockchain technology.
- Government services
Robust functionalities of blockchain have captured the eyeballs of governments all over the world. The potential cases where governments are predicting the use of distributed ledger technology are healthcare, tax and revenue monitoring, national identity management systems, and electronic voting systems. Some governments are already using blockchain, for example, the government elections in Sierra Leone were entirely blockchain-based, and the U.S. state of Illinois is launching blockchain initiatives.
- Supply chain management
In the supply chain management industry, transactions can be documented into a permanent decentralized record and can be monitored in a more secure manner which will improve end-to-end transparency and also help to reduce time delays and human errors. Blockchain technology can also be used to verify authenticity and order status by real-time tracking them from their dispatch points. Intel-backed blockchain Sawtooth traces the origins of seafood, while Everledger is building a solution for the diamond supply chain.
Law firms worldwide are investigating the uses of blockchain technology for making their processes less reliant on paper while still maintaining a high level of security and trust. From using blockchain to verify motor claims, to real estate and dispute resolution solicitors putting their entire services on blockchain, the options are varied and limitless for legal professionals. The real-life successful application of blockchain in the legal arena is the Save Ideas platform based on Ethereum blockchain technology to showcase artistic work, while protecting intellectual property.
In addition to this, the distributed ledger technology is being explored by the social networking industry, peer-to-peer ride-sharing apps, cloud storage, the entertainment industry, messaging applications, real estate, critical infrastructure security, crowdfunding and many more.
Adoption of blockchain technology could add trillions in savings to the global economy. In these early days, some platforms resemble replacements for middleman services, while others are truly decentralized. In any case, with greater adoption, blockchain will heavily disrupt the way global businesses settle deals each day by giving them a path to remove bloated costs and overheads.
“Despite the increased attention from the media and business, blockchain is just a tool that has its pros and cons, which you need to remember if you want to set a startup based on blockchain,” says Michael Krusche, CEO and founder of tech development company K&C. “You’re not obliged to follow the tendencies just to be seen to be keeping up with Joneses. I believe that your project is unique enough to follow its own technical requirements, blockchain or not.”
Do you also believe that decentralized ledger technology can solve some of the world’s most complex problems? We have years of incredible change ahead of us before this market finally settles on a standard. But in a matter of years, every industry will welcome blockchain technology into their businesses and start making transformations and future advancements. With a reliable and experienced blockchain expert you can start creating greater value for your organization. As ever, you can speak to Krusche and Co for advice on how to implement blockchain into your business and if it’s right for you.
The impact of blockchain is clear. Using blockchain technology, businesses could save trillions and deliver services faster. Specifically, they could:
- Eliminate the costs of verifying transactions from third party services, saving huge amounts.
- Enable faster service by instantly verifying transactions and removing middlemen services like banks, governments and marketplaces.
- Increase security by using the principle already built into the blockchain without further investment.
- Automate complicated businesses, like insurance services, by using programmable Smart Contracts.
About: Michael Krusche is the CEO and founder of Krusche Company. With more than 20 years of experience in IT industry, Michael has both a passion and reputation for helping grow businesses through digital transformation. He is especially passionate about blockchain development.