Uses of Blockchain
Now that we know what is blockchain we can imagine the possibilities of the technology are practically endless. Apart from crypto currencies which are big drivers behind blockchain, we know that there are myriad of companies and industries springing up to make use of blockchain technologies. As these startups use blockchain to drive transformational changes across digital info ecosystem, they’re further boosting awareness of the technology resulting in uptake within established industries.
Here are some recent innovative ways that firms are harnessing the power of world blockchain.
Banking is simply the beginning. However from a macro perspective, banks function as the vital storehouses and transfer hubs of value. As a digitized, secure, and tamper-proof ledger, blockchain might serve a similar function, injecting enhanced accuracy and information-sharing into the financial services ecosystem.
Swiss bank UBS and UK-based Barclays are both experimenting with blockchain as the way to expedite back office functions and settlement, that some within the banking system say might cut up to $20B in middleman costs.
Banks are among the growing number of financial services giants investment in blockchain startups like R3 CEV that is working with an 80+ member association of banks, regulators, and technology partners to develop Corda, a blockchain platform designed to be the “new operating system” for financial markets.
Another company that is making big inroads into financial transactions is Ripple. Banks can use the Ripple software to shift cash between different fiat currencies. Currently, this is often usually accomplished using SWIFT, a system that’s cumbersome and depends on the banks having separate accounts in each country they work in. With Ripple, transfer of money between banks can be reduced to hours rather than days it normally takes now. Ripple says it is carrying out feasibility tests with over a hundred banks, as well as American express.
Healthcare institutions suffer from an inability to securely share data across platforms. Better data collaboration between providers could ultimately mean higher probability of accurate diagnoses, higher likelihood of effective treatments, and the overall increased ability of healthcare systems to deliver cost-effective care.
Use of blockchain technology could allow hospitals, payers, and other parties in the healthcare value chain to share access to their networks without compromising data security and integrity.
To that end, startup Gem has launched the Gem Health Network, a blockchain network for the global companies across the continuum of healthcare. (Gem is using Ethereum blockchain-enabled technology to create a secure, universal data-sharing infrastructure for the space.) Tierion is another blockchain startup that has built a platform for data storage and verification in healthcare; both Gem and Tierion recently partnered with Philips Healthcare in the Philips Blockchain Lab.
The Heathcare industry is tipped to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Blockchain technology. The scope of the technology is endless, from automated patient heath tracking and alerts, to supply chain management of medicine and equipment which suffers from fraud at an industrial scale and puts patients’ lives at risk.
Popular among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, encrypted messaging app telegram is raising an initial coin offering (ICO) to fund development of a blockchain platform. The decentralized messaging platform is a clear threat to apps like Slack as a result of it’s planning to raise the biggest ICO in history, totaling $1.2B for its ecoystem of 170M users. The smart cash investors reported to be taking part in the ICO embody Benchmark, sequoia Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Similarly, chat platform Kik has done an ICO for in-app currency. And Line, Japan’s most popular message service, is allegedly aiming to expand into cryptocurrency trading.
Backed by names as well as 1st round Capital and Union sq. Ventures, Numerai is taking the hedge fund model — using a bunch of traders and quants — and decentralizing it. Numerai sends its thousands of disparately situated quants encrypted datasets and asks them to build predictive models, and also the best contributors are rewarded with Numerai’s token referred to as Numeraire. Then, Numerai takes the strategy and creates a meta-model to make trades. In some ways that it’s a blockchain-based spin on Quantopian‘s model for rewarding data scientists, except it’s less a contest and more an invisible collaboration.
Elections need authentication of voters’ identity, secure record keeping to trace votes, and trusted tallies to determine the winner. In the future, blockchain tools might function a foundational infrastructure for casting, tracking, and counting votes — probably eliminating the requirement for recounts by taking voter fraud and foul play off the table.
By capturing votes as transactions through blockchain, governments and voters would have a verifiable audit path, making certain no votes are changed or removed and no illegitimate votes are added. One blockchain voting startup, Follow My Vote, has released the alpha version of its stake-weighted end-to-end blockchain voting solution.
In the current web, it’s tough to ascertain your true identity, and your personal data lives on company servers for apps you use with very little inter-operability (even using Facebook as a log-in solely gets you thus far). Platforms like Blockstack and uPort assume there’s a future where your identity may be simply carried with you around the web. On Blockstack, as an example, a user can access apps atop decentralized networks, and have excellent portability of their information.
Critical Infrastructure Security
The current internet design has proved simple to hack, particularly once it involves IoT devices. As vital infrastructure like power plants and transportation all become equipped with connected sensors, the risks to civil society as we all know it are nice. Firms like Xage, for instance, are using blockchain’s tamperproof ledgers to sharing security information across industrial device networks.
Though blockchain’s ledger is public, its information communications are sent and verified using advanced cryptographical techniques — making certain that data is coming from correct sources and that nothing is intercepted within the interim. Thus, if blockchain is more widely adopted, the likelihood of hacking might go down, because the cyber protections of the technology are more sturdy than legacy systems.
Other potential applications embody using blockchain to supply huge scale data authentication. For instance, using its blockchain-enabled KSI (Keyless Signature Infrastructure), cybersecurity startup Guardtime tags and verifies data transactions.
Ride apps like Uber and Lyft represent the opposite of decentralization, since they basically operate as dispatching hubs and use algorithms to regulate their fleets of drivers (and dictate what they charge). Blockchain might inject new options into that dynamic: with a distributed ledger, drivers and riders might create a more user-driven, value-oriented marketplace.
Startup Arcade city, for instance, facilitates all transactions through a blockchain system. Arcade city operates equally to other ride-sharing firms however permits drivers to ascertain their rates (taking a percentage of rider fares) with the blockchain logging all interactions.
This allows Arcade city to appeal to skilled drivers, who would rather build up their own transportation businesses than be controlled from a corporate headquarters: drivers on Arcade city are absolve to set their own rates, build their own recurring client base, and provide further services like deliveries or roadside help.
The internet as we all know it emerged with ad hoc solutions for advertising. In aggregate, ads add tons of mobile data usage to loading web content, and both advertisers and customers suffer from any lack of protocols. Brave recently ICOed its Basic Attention Token (BAT) to compensate advertisers and users. Rather than a middleman like Google or Facebook’s ad arm, advertisers can list directly onto Brave’s blockchain-based browser. Users who opt in receive fewer, however better targeted ads without the malware. And advertisers get better data on their spending.
At the moment crypto currencies seem to have the leading foot when it comes blockchain technologies but banking is not the only industry that might be inundated by blockchain tech. Keep an eye on blockchain slowly creeping into our lives and making disruptive changes in all major industries in the near future.