A blockchain is a type of distributed ledger, comprised of nearly-unchangeable, digitally recorded data in packages called blocks that are linked and secured using cryptography. Blockchain technology is now used in many industries for data verification and storage, and is in many products, including a smart-fridge! Blockchain technology has enabled a host of cryptocurrencies, Smart Contracts, ​ ​and decentralized applications​ ​across​ ​nearly​ ​all ​ ​industries. The technology has​ ​also ​​been applied for some mind-blowing uses. Here’s​ ​our selection ​of​ ​the ​ ​top ​10 ​most ​outrageous​ ​blockchain ​​uses:

1. Charge an electric car

Traditional car-charging stations normally require drivers to pay in fixed increments, regardless of how much electricity is consumed by the car’s battery. Additionally, for electric rental fleets, the hire company needs to develop software to track the charge left on the battery, or do it manually. German energy giant RWE have developed a pilot scheme with Ethereum pioneer slock.it, allowing electric cars to charge while waiting at traffic lights. Imagine a system where every electric vehicle has a chip that allows it to pay directly for exactly the amount of power it consumes, and all the driver has to do is top up the payment allowance from time to time!

2. Electricity

LO3 Energy developed a blockchain-based system that lets people buy and sell locally generated solar energy within their communities. Distributing energy this way is more efficient than transmitting energy over longer distances, and would make neighborhoods more resilient to power outages, as well as helping to meet demands when energy needs exceed expectations. It’s also in line with growing public support for renewable energy, distributed and decentralized energy systems, and “buy local” programs in general. LO3 Energy has launched the Brooklyn Microgrid.

3. Authenticate sneakers

The counterfeit market is currently estimated at almost $2 trillion, with 75% of high end sneakers on eBay likely to be fakes. Chronicled, a Silicon Valley based start-up, unveiled a new method to verify the authenticity of high-end sneakers. Instead of using labels which can often be copied, a smart tag containing a PKI chip hosts an encrypted private key with the public key stored on Ethereum’s blockchain. Buyers can easily verify authenticity by scanning the tag with their phone, prompting an app download which further allows for registration of the sneakers and their owner’s details. The merging of encryption, smart tags, and Ethereum’s public blockchain, could address the problem of buying fake branded sneakers.

4. Flight Delay Payouts

The Flight Delay App manages the operation of an insurance-like business process, allowing users to apply for policies, and an oracle for underwriting and payout in case of claims. The use case is the insurance of flight delays. They pay a fair premium and automatically get a payout as soon as the plane has landed. On the 8th of September the Dapp was launched on the Ethereum mainnet with a user interface at fdd.etherisc.com. The Dapp enabled users to share the risks of delayed or canceled flights on the Ethereum blockchain. The Flight Delay Dapp was tried, as a new proof of concept, on attendees who flew to China from all over the world when the Ethereum DevCon2 conference happened in Shanghai.

5. Light Bulbs

The blockchain technology company Bitfury has created a prototype light bulb that when screwed into place, could mine bitcoins. Active since 2015, the light bulb works via a chip that connects the light bulb to Wi-Fi, and another that is responsible for the process of mining Bitcoin. The light bulb is useful in the same way as a human Bitcoin miner, as it too approves transactions, and keeps up the flow and security of the currency. With the technology embedded in it, the light bulb can influence people’s understanding of Bitcoin

6. Bitnation

Bitnation is the world’s first Blockchain-powered jurisdiction, a virtual nation that aims to provide the same services as a traditional government. Launched in 2014 Bitnation is a for-all decentralized and borderless nation, offering everything from ID systems and insurance, to security. To gain citizenship, one signs the Bitnation constitution called Pangea, with the nation’s equity now on the ethereum blockchain as of 2016. Blockchain allows the citizens to simply sign in to access the constitution; this also taps into cryptocurrency, as cryptoequity can be purchased from well-known exchanges. In 2015, the crypto-nation created the first land titles and the first birth certificates on the blockchain. In the same year, Estonia partnered with Bitnation to create a blockchain based public notary solution allowing anyone from the world to digitally notarize documents on the blockchain.

7. Fishing

Blockchain technology could be used to differentiate fish caught sustainably to those caught illegally, or linked to human rights abuses. The technology, piloted by a UK-based company Provenance, could help retailers, manufacturers, and restaurants prove the origins of their fish. At present the buying and selling of seafood is tracked by paper records and tags on the fish. The new blockchain approach sees local fishermen sending SMS messages to register their catch on the blockchain. This identification is then transferred to a supplier along with the catch, with any subsequent move, for example processing or tinning, also recorded. This information seamlessly and transparently follows the fish so it can be accessed and verified by the final buyers and consumers in shops or restaurants using their smartphones. People can therefore be sure they are not contributing to devastating illegal fishing operations. 

8. Tomatoes

Ripe.io is an agricultural company that uses blockchain to monitor produce along the supply chain. Using the technology, the tomatoes’ ripeness, color and sugar content can be tracked throughout the growing process. This results in a detailed documentation of the supply chain, as well as a reduction in spoilage. In the program trial, Ripe tracked 200 tomatoes on 20 different plants in both early and late season fields. Sensors installed in the field were able to record environmental factors such as sunlight and humidity. Sensors were also installed in the storage centers to monitor the tomatoes set for distribution. The pilot project proved the benefit of tracking agricultural produce for restaurants committed to knowing the origins of their ingredients.

9. Blockchain And Driverless Cars

The Toyota Research Institute has teamed up several companies to explore the possibilities of using blockchain technology in driverless cars. Acting as a troubleshooting process, the blockchain would enable customers and businesses to securely exchange information on the driving experience. The use of blockchain in the development of driverless cars could be integral to building safe and reliable driverless vehicles. The information shared via blockchain will also help to set insurance rates. A vehicle’s sensors gather data concerning how the car is moving and operating, which is then stored in a blockchain. Owing to the transparent nature of blockchain, this increases trust between the customer and insurance company, drastically reducing the potential for fraud.

10. Refugees And Eye-Scanners

The UN’s World Food Programme and the UN innovation lab has developed a blockchain system in the Azraq Refugee camp in Jordan. The Building Blocks programme uses the biometric registration data of refugees so that they can purchase products in the camp’s supermarkets using an iris scan payments system instead of vouchers or cash. Since 2016 the program has been used by more than 10,000 Syrian refugees. It has also improved the shopping experience for residents and has helped the WFP improve how they account for transactions.

Blockchain technology could underpin our future with its ever-emerging ingenuity. The technology is even what enables our BCMY wallet users to securely trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or DinarCoin within their wallet. Blockchain technology has much potential to change the future in unimaginable ways.