Blockchain technology is no longer a completely new technology. It has been with us for more than a decade now. There are obvious blockchain uses apparently in our world today that transcend digital currencies.
When people talk about a blockchain application, then it’s usually about cryptocurrency and bitcoin. But guess what? Today’s applications go far beyond. Distributed ledger technology, as the mother of blockchain, offers smart contracting, tracking music royalties, or even the creation of non-fungible tokens, also called NFTs.
In this article, we will take a dive into some of the blockchain applications in key sectors or industries we have around today.
If you don’t like reading, you can also watch this video that summarizes this blog post. But as always in life, reading the full story is much more powerful.
Are there current blockchain uses outside of cryptocurrency?
Contrary to many people’s beliefs, the current uses of blockchain technology go beyond the cryptocurrency industry. In fact, the blockchain use cases are dynamic and proven to be revolutionizing several industries today around the world. To answer the headline question clearly, Yes! There are current blockchain uses outside of cryptocurrency, and this is only one reason why so many people start to learn blockchain coding. But for now, we will give enough examples as we go on.
15 current blockchain use cases 2021
The uses of blockchain technology are futuristic as many industry analysts have highlighted. While the potentials for blockchain technology to cause a seismic shift in various sectors in the near future is not debatable, the impacts are already been very visible today. The benefits of blockchain are so manyfold, same as the types of blockchain. Below are some of the broader use cases of distributed ledger technology and blockchain in general:
- Money Transfer
- Data Management
- Medical History Digitization
- Cross-border payments
- Digital identity creation
- Supply chain management
- Trade Finance
- Real Estate tokenization
- Smart contract development
- Intellectual Property Preservation
- Business processes automation
- Digital currencies creation
- Enhancing transparency in auditing
- Insurance services
- Voting systems
The use cases of blockchain technology are way more than this but these highlighted use cases are put forth to whet your whistle as we dig deeper into how blockchain applications are changing our world.
What are blockchain applications exactly?
Blockchain-based applications are the real-world ways in which blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) are used to solve existing challenges or problems. The underlying motive behind every milestone technology is to help improve the ways in which work is done. Evolution is central to every new technology. Since blockchain became prominent through the advent of Bitcoin back in 2009, the technology has evolved to be integrated to solve a broad range of problems in industries where digitization has been previously incorporated.
A typical example of blockchain application in practice is the issuance of governance tokens, a digital asset that is now used by emerging organizations with a self-governing decentralization structure. These organizations are called Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) and they are governed using tamper-proof smart contracts.
Another real-world example of blockchain in practice is in the storage of medical data or records as used by some tech startups to create COVID-19 traceability applications. These health records are stored on the blockchain, and users can be sure of data security or undue access to their medical history.
Let us take a deeper dive into the list of blockchain applications by industry.
List of blockchain applications examples by industry
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Let’s look at some major blockchain examples. Furthermore, we answer the questions: “What is blockchain used for right now?”; and “what are blockchain applications in real life”. Sure, there are more prominent in some industries than the others. To get a clearer picture of what blockchain is used for right now, a look at blockchain examples in these key industries is pertinent. So, here we go!
Blockchain applications in healthcare
If there is any industry that data privacy is of the utmost essence, it will be the healthcare sector. Healthcare records are often predisposed to cybersecurity frailty and are being targeted by malicious actors with proven cases of intense data breaches over time. According to Healthitsecurity, eyecare conglomerate Luxottica of America faced at least two security incidents this fall, one directly involving the breach of patient data. As many as 829,454 patients have suffered attacks from the company alone.
The use of blockchain and DLTs can bring an additional layer of security with medical records that are saved on-chain. Besides protection against hacking, storing data on an open-source distributed ledger can help optimize the accuracy of diagnoses, improve the affordability of healthcare plans, and contributes to the affordability of getting medical treatments.
Example of blockchain application in healthcare
With blockchain technology, the use of digital wearables which collect vital data such as blood pressure, heartbeat, daily water or calorie consumption, and more can be enhanced. The record-keeping of data on blockchains can help reduce the storage costs while helping to achieve the sharing of data in real-time. This way, data security can be improved as blockchain platforms come with a high level of cryptography, and delays in data transmissions can also be eliminated.
Blockchain applications in finance
We would not be mincing words if we say the world of finance is currently the biggest beneficiary of blockchain technology. This is in part because Bitcoin, the pioneering asset in the nascent industry was targeted at revolutionizing cash transfers. Today, different blockchain applications in finance have emerged and are outlined below.
Example of blockchain applications in finance
Cross-border payments take the lead in this regard. Many financial services industry giants are now leveraging distributed ledger technology to channel funds transfers from one country to the other. Blockchain payments firm Ripple is one major ally industry players have been partnering with to tap into these cheaper, secure, and more transparent ways of settling cash transactions.
Key financial industry units or players including insurers, accountants, and auditors amongst others are also beginning to utilize blockchain for relatively costless storage and management of sensitive data.
Uses for blockchain technology in supply chain logistics
Blockchain technology is also used in the global supply chain and logistics industry for tracking the movement of goods across multiple locations. The transparent recording of data relating to the movement of goods on the blockchain will introduce transparency and all stakeholders can know the exact point where the goods are per time. This brings effective management of all entities involved in the transaction. Besides the real-time tracking of goods, blockchain integration in the supply chain can also help provide security for the cash transactions involved, minimize delays, cut extra expenses, and reduce employees’ failures.
Example of blockchain applications in supply chain
Walmart, the US multinational retail giant, is on the way to implement transparency to their food supply chain. Using hyperledger fabric, Walmart is already able to trace the origin of over 25 products from 5 different suppliers. The company plans to roll out blockchain to more products and categories soon.
Uses of blockchain technology in business
There are many areas in which businesses around the world benefit from DLTs and blockchains. In order not to go the conventional way, businesses can build an entirely new business model on the blockchain. For instance, a business selling a product can build tokens on the blockchain for which users can use to pay for such goods or services.
Additionally, businesses can also migrate their IT infrastructure onto their personalized blockchain systems. This will eliminate inefficiencies in data management systems, provides transparency due to the immutability of the stored data, and promote decentralization in the broader business ecosystem.
Example of blockchain technology in business
Ethereum is only one business model based on blockchain technology. It is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts. There is no downtime, no censorship, nor fraud as no third party is involved. Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency of the platform. To use their network you need to hold and pay in Ether.
Blockchain technology applications in the environment
When blockchain technology is profiled alongside the environment, many are only interested in the supposedly excessive energy consumption crypto mining generates. However, the use of blockchain technology in the supply chain, businesses, and other sectors help enhance the efficient use of resources, a development that helps achieve sustainability. This has an overbearing impact on the environment.
Blockchain technology has also found applications in environmental disaster management. There is a growing number of startups that have designed unique blockchain solutions to predict potential volcanic eruption events and immediate response to such hazards. Through blockchain, car emissions can be monitored and curtailed by players in the automotive industry and more.
Example of blockchain application in environmental sustainability
The various environmental data generated to curb climate change can be stored on open blockchain networks to give increased access to such data. Furthermore, you can gain a reward for recycling or install a tracking mechanism to reduce waste.
Applications of blockchain technology in cyber-security
The digitization of industries has necessitated the need to work with people we have not even met before. Blockchain applications can enhance the cybersecurity ecosystem as they can help to focus on building trust in an untrusting world. The encryption and model of verifying data entries or transactions in blockchains can potentially wade off cybersecurity threats from the prying eyes of malicious actors.
It is worth noting that any digital platform which operates on the web is an element of cyberspace and we can establish that blockchain can boost every player in this space as a whole.
Example of blockchain application in cyber-security
Data storage, payment services and more are all a subset of cyberspace on which blockchain has a prominent influence.
Applications of blockchain in government
There are many ways in which blockchain and DLTs find applications in government today. Many world governments are bedeviled by corruption, including money laundering, budget misappropriation, and more amongst the top vices being recorded. Data sharing between government agencies are becoming prone to attacks.
In the past decade, we have heard the incidence of government agencies hacked, a situation that is easy because of the frail IT infrastructure these agencies use. These security breaches can be changed with blockchain technology. Government agencies can employ DLT for storing and sharing data in a transparent and secure way. Auditing processes can be made more transparent through open-source ledgers, and government procurement processes can be used to cut back leakages and fund misappropriation.
Example of blockchain technology in government
As the election is a key part of every democratic government’s transition, blockchain technology is now also being used to enhance the electioneering processes. Open public ledger systems are almost immune to hacking, and the immutability of stored data makes it free from any form of manipulation. This makes the whole election process free, fair, and credible.
Blockchain applications in banking
To the banks or financial institutions, blockchain technologies can be used to enhance payment settlement, amongst other things. The banking system works with many collaborations between banks. The traditional system involving various multiparty intermediaries makes before payments and cross-border transfers are processed is fraught with delay, and excessive charges being borne by the customer.
Example of application for blockchain in banking
With blockchain technology, payments can easily be captured and shared with all the parties involved in real-time. Top banking outfits around the world are now developing private blockchain networks dedicated to serving the sector.
Education applications for blockchain
Many higher institutions of learning around the world are building accessible blockchain-based investment vehicles today. The University of Wyoming is championing the move in this regard. Additionally, institutions are beginning to explore how blockchain can help secure academic credentials and broadly secure educational data from hacking. In the past years, data breaches among institutions are were commonplace, however, with blockchain technology, data security is now being introduced.
Example of blockchain application in education
Blockchain technology also helps in recording student’s payment records, keeping and issuing digital transcripts, and safeguard the intellectual property in general.
Blockchain usage in law
Storing regulatory data and law documents that are often in demand regularly can be made more accessible by storing such on the blockchain. One other major application of blockchain is in revolutionizing the process of issuing business contracts. With smart contracts built on Ethereum or other functional blockchain networks, the process of issuing agreements between small businesses or even parties involved in global trade can be simplified and made highly cost-effective.
Example of blockchain usage in law
Standard law documents can be stored and preserved using blockchain technology.
2 interesting blockchain potential applications yet to emerge?
With the much that has been said, many may be seeking answers to this question, what are other uses for blockchain? What can blockchain be used for in the future? With the way we have talked about this, it may appear as if there is no niche the tech has not touched yet. But the most interesting uses of blockchain are yet to be unraveled. There are at least two major areas in which blockchain technology is yet to be harnessed adequately.
In this section we’ll walk through possible future applications:
Netflix-like movie libraries are not yet developed using blockchain technology. This is one key niche blockchain can revolutionize. The world was used to cinemas until Netflix broke the trend. Now the world can watch movies for a few bucks. The only difference is that the entire movie library is stored on a centralized server, predisposing the business to risks. While Netflix has not had any major flop over time, blockchain and its accompanying tokenization system can introduce a new experience to the ecosystem in the future.
This takes precedence from the previous point. IBM is trying to sell blockchain as a service, even there is no need for such a service due to the open-source nature of all blockchains. Some start-ups are beginning to build decentralized cloud storage infrastructures, but these are yet to go mainstream. More uptrends in this niche will be seen in the future.
How can blockchain be used to its full potential? Final Points
Blockchain technology obviously has its merits and governments, stakeholders in the capital markets, regulators, and innovators need to start asking the critical question, what can blockchain do for our future? From this question would we start seeking new ways to integrate blockchain and distributed ledger technologies into business processes, the Internet of things (IoT), and other digital systems, a move that will enhance transparency, security, and efficient resource use as the case may be.
A piece of innovative technology will find no relevance if it is not applied, but with a mainstream embrace, such tech can transform our world. Blockchain is one such technology. Deloitte’s global blockchain survey underlines all its benefits.
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