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Blockchain 101

What is the use of blockchain?

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Since you already know what the blockchain is and how it works or at least you have a basic understanding of the technology after reading our Blockchain 101 articles, now it’s the time to move forward and go through some of the examples what the blockchain technology can be used for.

Oftentimes blockchain is associated as a synonym for cryptocurrency however there are other uses for blockchain technology, too. According to the Price Waterhouse report, more than 80% of the companies have already started experimenting with various blockchain technologies at different scales.

You have probably heard and/or read that blockchain is a game-changing technology but are still wondering why. Below, you can find some use cases of the blockchain technology and how would it impact the status quo.

Payment processing and money transfers

As we spoke, the most common use of blockchain is in the financial industry, especially payment processing and money transfers. Large distributed networks like Bitcoin or Ethereum can expedite the transfer of funds from one party to another. As stated earlier, blockchain is a tamper-proof technology which runs 24 hours, 7 days a week on a number of independent machines all having the same state of the data, therefore is resistant to any failures or downtimes. Unlike banks or other payment processors, it is completely decentralized which in fact make it unstoppable.

Stock exchange

Trading stocks or bonds over the traditional stock market typically takes up to 3 days of delay due to a number of validations that must happen before the transaction is confirmed. Blockchain makes such trading more effective, cutting down the cost of ownership and processing time as it comes with a nearly instant settlement.

Supply chains

Monitoring and tracking products in real-time are one of the advantages that could come into supply chain business with blockchain implementations. By doing so, businesses would have the ability to identify inefficiencies of their chains much quicker in a more effective manner which ultimately would lead to cost reduction.

Retail business

Retailers would benefit from blockchain payments due to reduced processing costs. Currently, payment processors charge relatively high fees for every single transaction. Blockchain can be very cost effective. Additionally it can be used as a loyalty program database tracking orders and loyalty points collector machine thanks to the smart contracts.

Digital IDs

Until now, there is no standard on how do we document identity. Furthermore, millions of people are facing challenges with their identities and identity theft is becoming more of a problem now. Blockchain could be a game-changer here if implemented properly giving everyone the ability to manage their data throughout the internet. United Nations is already working with Sierra Leone government to develop blockchain based ID system.

Voting

“It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes,” said Stalin. Blockchain being tamper-proof technology which provides verifiable transactions could be a real improvement in the future of the election systems. It would provide a fraud-free platform with the instant vote count. Ethereum network already experiments with their DAO – decentralized autonomous organization,

Decentralized internet

Blockchain architecture brings another possibility to build distributed internet. Thanks to the data replication to all of the nodes it provides an additional layer of resiliency. Combined with IPFS (interplanetary file system) as off-chain storage can be a good start for the unstoppable decentralized internet.

Smart Contracts

Those (currently) simple applications running on the top of the blockchain are operating independently on every node ensuring state of the data across the network remains intact. Imagine a supercomputer that has some computing power across the globe like SETI, that is able to process millions of contracts within just seconds.

Encrypted messaging

You are probably familiar with popular messaging systems like WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram who provide encrypted messaging. The blockchain is different and can leverage technology to encrypt messages and store data more efficiently in many different locations like IPFS where they can only be accessed with a private key and you don’t need to worry about backup, lost number or phone. All history, attachments, photos, and logs can be restored.

Wills or inheritances

With further adoption of blockchain based IDs and Smart Contracts, it may also be able to help with will or inheritance matters. Instead of creating the paper will and worry about where and how to store it, people may have the option of creating and storing their digital will on a blockchain network. In case of Smart Contract wills, those can be executed based on the number of pre-defined criteria. With blockchain wills would become clear and legally binding, leaving no questions as to who should receive what assets when you pass away.

Proof of ownership

Since we already established Blockchain can support retail business in terms of tracking, sales or loyalty rewards, it can also support end customers providing proof of ownership or proof of purchase. This could prevent the sales of stolen goods and ease claims of lost and found items.

Real estate

There is no central notary database which would allow searching property titles across the globe. Blockchain may come handy here and track all of the notary edits as well as ownership transfers. This could lead to reducing the notary fees and processing time required to validate ownership.

 

Above are just a few examples of how the blockchain technology can be used. Remember it continuously evolves so, what’s not possible today may be already outdated tomorrow. If you have any other examples, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

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