10 Blockchain applications that will change our world

20 September 2019

The fuss about cryptocurrencies is still on the rise, and while governments are putting regulatory boundaries to them, some with an market-minded approach, others with a more restrictive intent, the technology which is the basis of cryptocurrency is finding more and more applications, and catching the attention of investors, institutions, and big companies. Such interest led to an attractive perspective on Blockchain applications.

As Blockchain consultants, we often speak about the advantages of this technology from a legal and compliance perspective. While many of the projects we are involved in are related to cryptocurrencies, the truth is there are a lot more fields that could benefit from Blockchain. And we have 10 good examples.

1. Loyalty rewards programs

Loyal customers are one of the most valuable assets a company can have, that’s why so many businesses build loyalty programs with rewards that can enhance the customer experience. Such programs, however, require management, contracts, onboarding processes, and last but not least, security. And let’s not forget that it is subject to errors and frauds.

A Blockchain-based system can cut the costs of management, reduce mistakes and fraudes, and can verify customers with an automated onboarding process linked to a smart contract. Transactions can be recorded and accessed by customers in almost real time.

2. Supply chain monitoring

Are you buying a physical item? Blockchain can still be useful thanks to a tokenisation system: if we associate each item with a digital token, we can track its origin and the steps that brought that item in particular into your hands. This is a great way to spot counterfeit products and offer extra guarantees when reselling them on the second-hand market.

This is not something that could eventually happen: it is already happening in the fashion industry, and in our opinion, it won’t take long for all companies to adopt such measures to protect their trademarks.

3. Digital IDs

In many countries, people still have to carry a physical ID document which can be easily forged by anyone with bad intentions. A shared database of IDs could be the ultimate solution to forgery and could make ID checks faster and more efficient than ever. IDs could be tokenised just like any other kind of goods, and all our personal history would be available for any identification purpose, from crossing a border to applying for a mortgage and all other operations that require a KYC procedure.

Microsoft has a project underway, but it is still in its early stages.

4. Food safety

Where does the food in your plate come from? Blockchain can answer this question with its immutable record that tracks its provenance, the factory that processed it, the origin of the packaging material, and the supplier who brought it to your local supermarket. This would make your food safer: imagine there is a contaminated batch, you could immediately detect if the product on your table is part of it or if it is safe for consumption.

In the food industry, this process already started, with some brands leading the line.

5. Medical records

While many countries digitalised patient recordkeeping, a lot of them are still relying on paper records. Blockchain, however, could be helpful in both situations, as they would be able to switch to a distributed database on which all information can be stored and the patient could control who can access those data and who can’t.

Insurance companies could also benefit from these sets of reliable data: the so-called InsurTech market is working hard to find applications based on policyholders’ tokenised clinical information.

6. Drug prescriptions tracking

As a consequence of shared medical records, each medication can be tracked from producer to patient. Drugs smuggling and their availability on the black market is a dangerous issue that cause several deaths or serious illnesses. Counterfeit medications are also a threat.

Blockchain can put an end to this thanks to its characteristics. This is actually one of the most interesting Blockchain applications.

7. Wills

Blockchain can be of help when it comes to the execution of someone’s last will: a paper can be manipulated, but a digital one, stored on the Blockchain, can never be changed or deleted. A will could also be combined with a smart contract with automated processes in place, e.g.: unlocking funds after kids become of age, or give a property to its designated owner when certain conditions are met, and so on.

8. Voting

Every single vote can be recorded on a distributed ledger and validated from the nodes of the network. It could still be secret, thanks to the sophisticated encryption system of the distributed ledger. Also, we could all have immediately available final results, with vote counting no longer needed and a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money saved.

9. Fair work conditions guard

About 25 million people all over the world work in unfair conditions. Some companies are working on a Blockchain-based workers register, with smart contracts ready to be enforced, verified policies, and any information safely stored, and books impossible to cook.

Should this innovation become real and adopted by companies worldwide (perhaps in order to comply with law requirements), it could potentially mean the end of modern slavery and child labour.

10. Digital house keys

Digital locks are not an eleventh-hour innovation, and some companies like Amazon are already experimenting domestic solutions.

Imagine you have to leave your house at 8:00 on Monday to go to work, but the TV technician is only available to come at 10:00 and do the work within an hour. Your Blockchain digital key is linked to an app on which you input the code of the technician and authorise them to have access between 10:00 and 11:00 on Monday. All done! They will open your home door with their own key thanks to your authorisation, but only in that timeframe. The TV technician, on the other hand, will feel more comfortable entering, because your authorisation is recorded on an immutable distributed ledger. Another amazing Blockchain application!

What do you think about these ten fantastic ways to use Blockchain? Do you know any other useful applications? If you have a project in mind, feel free to contact us.

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