The blockchain is a distributed ledger that underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and platforms like Ethereum. Blockchain technology use cases are by no means restricted to Bitcoin and other traditional cryptocurrencies. All kinds of physical assets can have digital counterparts on the blockchain: diamonds, buildings, precious metals, agricultural products, oil, etc – the possibilities are endless. Businesses cannot shy away from blockchain either. Among the blockchain-driven technologies, Smart Contracts and cryptocurrencies appear to be truly beneficial to even non-tech businesses. They can establish business relations, streamline contractual and legal procedures via Smart Contracts and conduct cryptocurrency transactions in a safe and easy manner. For instance, e-commerce companies can use cryptocurrencies for payments, which takes away the need for using costly payment processors and merchant services. Merchants can also use smart contracts to automate fulfillment of orders – especially for the delivery of digital goods. The launch of public blockchains like Ethereum and Hyperledger has also enabled more blockchain-based, decentralized applications across nearly all industries.

The following are 10 things that blockchain could greatly improve…

Networking And The Internet-of-Things (IoT)

Samsung and IBM are using blockchain technology for a new concept called ADEPT, which will create a decentralized network of IoT devices. As it will operate like a public ledger for a large number of devices, it would eliminate the need for a central point to handle communications between them. The devices would communicate among themselves directly to update software, manage bugs, and monitor energy usage. Since the blockchain system is decentralized, its security capacity is more easily scalable. As such, blockchain is vital for eradicating the threats faced by traditional centralized server models. It can be used to micromanage home or company internet ecosystems, monitor communications between connected devices on the network, as well as those in the wider, external, IoT. The Australian telecom company Telstra is already using blockchain technology to secure home IoT systems.

Blockchain Can Revolutionize Supply Chains

Blockchain can optimize supply chains to operate on more secure and faster mechanisms. The introduction of new technologies has resulted in a growing demand for fully customized products and services in the tech and manufacturing fields. Many companies are failing to effectively strategize how to deal with the limitations of traditional supply chain management processes. Another problem with the current supply chain management processes is that larger companies have more influence over smaller companies when introducing any changes to the processes and systems in place. As blockchains are decentralized ledgers, it’s readily accessible by both the small and large companies involved in the supply chain processes who have security clearance to utilize the ledger. With Blockchain technology’s ability to link up with each company’s existing inventory and work processes, it means that supply chain processes will be all-inclusive, as small and large companies can use this ledger to fulfill their individual supply chain requirements, without changing their current systems.

Forecasting

The blockchain is set to change the entire approach of research, consulting, analysis, and forecasting. Online platforms like Augur are looking to create global decentralized prediction markets. These technologies can be used to place and monitor bets on anything from sports to stocks to elections in a decentralized way.

Healthcare And Fitness Tracking

Aside from using blockchain technology to improve healthcare providers’ efficacy, some companies are betting that adding fitness and diet factors to the equation will give patients a holistic view of their progress towards health goals. Nokia announced, in November 2017, that it has a pilot program to store volunteer participants’ fitness data, such as steps and hours of sleep. All this information will be stored on a blockchain database to test the technology’s potential for gathering real-time health data. The objective of their pilot is to explore new opportunities in this rising field (Digital Health), with the aim of giving people more control over their personal health data – how it is shared, who can access it, and how it can be used – with a focus on privacy and security offered by blockchain technologies. Another new blockchain-based platform, MintHealth, offers token incentives (“vidamints”) to encourage participants to make healthy choices. The tokens may then be used to pay for healthcare-related expenses, such as health insurance premiums.

Fintech

With FinTech, blockchain technology serves as a trustworthy and secure foundation for platforms that facilitate fund transfers. For example, the money-transfer platform TransferWise is able to provide same-day international currency exchanges for fees up to 90% less than those charged by banks for the same service. Fundraising organizations and departments can also use FinTech-enabled apps to receive and track donations. Crowdfunding platforms gain an extra layer of insurance when supported by blockchain technology. FinTech also makes it possible for consumers to use their mobile devices to pay for goods and services without the security risks they’d have faced only a year or two ago.

Knowledge Sharing

Everipedia, the world’s first encyclopedia on the blockchain, recently announced plans to build a new, open source, wiki network that decentralizes the Wikipedia knowledge base by allowing every editor to become a stakeholder in the network. Everipedia will rely on the EOS blockchain engine to make user contributors more accountable, beginning in January 2018. At that time, editors will begin earning tokens based on their “IQs”, points earned for making valuable contributions that will represent virtual shares of the platform.

Energy Management

Energy management has been a highly centralized industry for a long time. Energy producers and users cannot buy it directly from each other and have to go through the public grid or a trusted private intermediary. TransactiveGrid is a startup using Ethereum that allows customers to buy and sell energy from each other in a peer-to-peer way.

Collectibles

Before the advent of blockchain technology, developers offering digital collectibles have struggled with a fairly consistent set of obstacles. Blockchain technology allows players to buy and sell cards in a secure and transparent environment that provides an unalterable record of transfer and ownership. Simultaneously, the virtual economic platform allows for pure market valuation, eliminating regional differences, as well as global currency adjustments. It should also come as no surprise that blockchain technology is being used to fulfill internet users’ obsession with felines – CryptoKitties for example, a blockchain-enabled platform in which users can collect and breed digital cats.

Real Estate

Some of the issues in buying and selling real estate include bureaucracy, lack of transparency, fraud, and mistakes in public records. Using blockchain technology can speed up transactions by reducing the need for paper-based record keeping. It can also help with tracking, verifying ownership, ensuring the accuracy of documents, and transferring property deeds. Ubitquity is a blockchain-secured platform for real estate record-keeping that is an alternative for legacy paper-based systems.

Government

Many citizens believe that government systems can be slow, opaque, and sometimes corrupt, due to a lack of transparency & accountability, and often using outdated systems and processes. For example, endless paperwork and red tape. This is concerning for both governments and citizens alike. Governments should want to better serve their citizens and be more efficient in processes and spending to avoid wasted time and finances. And citizens should feel comfortable, trusting, and appreciative of their governments. Implementing blockchain-based systems can significantly reduce excessive bureaucracy and increase security, efficiency, and transparency of government operations, to better gain the trust and appreciation of citizens. One such process could be voting. For example, Dubai is aiming to put all of its government documents on the blockchain by 2020.

It’s important to note that blockchains will likely continue to change the world around us, and even help shape the future. Big banks and governments should really consider embracing this disruptive technology for the benefits it can bring for all parties involved, improving government processes and citizen’s trust and appreciation. The blockchain could become a powerful tool for improving business, conducting fair trade, democratizing economies, and helping support even more open and fair societies. Companies such as Blockchains.my are already utilizing blockchain technology to help shape the future. Our BCMY digital wallet app is expanding financial access to the world through blockchain, smartphones, and the internet. Blockchains.my is dedicated to looking for solutions with the government for compliance, to make sure that our blockchain technology is beneficial and legal for everyone, and is not used in such a way that would bring concern to our governing bodies.  


Resources

http://www.digitalistmag.com/digital-economy/2017/10/19/what-is-blockchain-05433778

http://www.digitalistmag.com/digital-economy/2017/10/19/what-is-blockchain-05433778

https://philadelphiafed.org/-/media/bank-resources/supervision-and-regulation/events/2017/fintech/resources/blockchain-disruption-smart-contracts.pdf?la=en

https://ethereum.org/

https://hyperledger.org/

https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-a-decentralized-application-dapp/

https://www.coindesk.com/ibm-reveals-proof-concept-blockchain-powered-internet-things/

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3200029/internet-of-things/why-blockchain-is-the-future-of-iot.html

http://www.supplychain247.com/article/why_blockchain_is_a_game_changer_for_the_supply_chain