Although it is widely known as the technology behind Bitcoin, Blockchain is for more than cryptocurrency use. Because Blockchain is basically a virtual ledger, there are many other possible applications of Blockchain technology. Listed below are some other applications of Blockchain:
At present, the stock market is racing towards modernization, and the introduction of Blockchain technology to stock trading will definitely take this route another step further. Although the main utilization that can be seen is making complex market transactions be completed faster, Blockchain may even be effective in working as deep as fixing the system and helping lessen certain problems and risks that stock trading is currently vulnerable to.
One of the most obvious advantages that stock trading can get from using a trading platform that is based on Blockchain is that it will streamline transactions and speed them up. Updates and changes on the market can become real-time and can be seen immediately, which will then make the tracking, buying, and selling of stocks much faster.
The application of Blockchain technology to stock trading will produce more transparency and can get rid of illegal trading tactics such as naked short selling. Naked short selling is done by some shady Wall Street players by selling shares they do not really have. Placing the stock selling system under Blockchain means securities will be digitized and there will be proper tracking and recording of shares, thereby eliminating any forms of mischief and leading the way back to clean capital markets. This is a very good use of blockchain amongst Applications of BlockChain.
Voting Fraud Prevention
Election fraud was supposed to be a problem left in the past— gone were the days where voters wrote their votes on a piece of paper, dropped it in a ballot, then they were counted manually by members of an election commission, easily vulnerable to manipulation. After all, this is the computer and information age, where everything, even voting, can be conveniently done through a computer, thus minimizing voting fraud. But voting fraud is still a problem that many countries face, even in the United States.
Computer systems and programs are all vulnerable to hacking, even ones used for elections. One way to create a computerized vote-counting system that cannot be hacked is by the application of Blockchain technology. A secure program running Blockchain can be created, beginning from the registration of voters, the input of votes during Election Day, up to the counting of votes.
Blockchain works on cryptocurrency transactions by eliminating duplicate transactions, which can process the same way with voting. A public ledger for all votes will be made (transparency is also good during elections), and once a duplicate vote from the same person is detected only one of the votes will count. Blockchain applied to voting will surely promise a future of unbiased and democratic elections all over the world.
Blockchain is somewhat present already in the world of e-commerce through the use of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, but this is not how Blockchain can make a significant impact on it. Blockchain technology can affect e-commerce right to its very core through different ways.
One of the noticeable things that Blockchain can influence is the third-party fees. E-commerce websites usually make use of middlemen to collect money from customers for goods and services. The third parties involved here are banks or financial institutions where the credit card charges come from. Credit companies take a cut, which can be quite a lot. Performing payment transactions on Blockchain can help eliminate these fees.
Transparency is something Blockchain can bring to the table of e-commerce, something that will definitely benefit sellers. Currently, merchants are facing a problem with transparency with regard to the gathering of product information. Large companies that sellers go to, to acquire products, sometimes withhold data and information that some buyers need to purchase products from them, just because it gives them a competitive edge. Sellers then resort to paying more for the information needed. The introduction of Blockchain in the e-commerce system will definitely guarantee transparency by making information about products visible.
Other problems that plague the e-commerce world are the fight against fraud and guaranteed product quality. Both buyers and merchants are affected by these problems, the buyers because the purchase of poor quality products, especially edible ones, is unsafe to their health. On the other hand, the merchants or companies that sell the products will lose credibility when potential buyers learn of negative experiences from past buyers. No merchant will want this scenario, and they cannot help it if they thought they bought products of high quality to sell, if the larger company that sold them were not transparent and intentionally withheld some information about their products. Product safety can be provided through Blockchain because of the open environment for the distribution of data regarding product quality and genuineness. Everyone at each and every step of the supply chain can confirm and rely on the authenticity of the goods being sold before they are delivered to stores or the front steps of a customer’s home. This is a great use of blockchain amongst Applications of BlockChain.
One great side to Blockchain is that the system removes the third party involved within transactions, such as banks for financial transactions. An important feature of Blockchain is the smart contract, which is like a coded procedure that is stored alongside the entries in a virtual ledger; it automatically gets completed once specific conditions are met.
Nick Szabo, a computer scientist, and cryptographer, first came up with the term “smart contracts”. Imagining an advanced way to convert terms of the contract to become automated and digitized, Szabo coined the term even before Blockchain technology was perfected. When Bitcoin and Blockchain technology was introduced to the market, the phrase “smart contracts” became any type of computer program that could process computations on the Blockchain. A smart contract program acts by imitating the same philosophy that is behind traditional contract clauses.
There are many benefits of the use of smart contracts for businesses and organizations, including the reduction of the costs of transactions with contracting, transparency, and security. Some companies that operate on supply chains make use of smart contracts in dealing with a great number of transactions automatically with ease. Some companies, who work together, benefitting from each other’s services, can do so without revealing sensitive information about their companies by creating confidential agreements through smart contracts.
Smart contracts, mind you, are not only limited to the financial and business world, but they can also act as a replacement to traditional contracts— including a marriage contract. Last November 2, 2017, Ms. Kim Jackson and Mr. Zach LeBeau got married and sealed the deal with a smart contract on Blockchain. Nothing says forever than smart contracts that were made not to be edited or reversed. Although its legality is still in question, the couple surely is ushering in the many other uses a smart contract can be applied to today. Smart Contracts is a great use of blockchain amongst Applications of BlockChain.
The Future of Remittance Payments
There are countries in the world where remittances play an important role in their economies. A lot of families from these countries largely rely on these remittances for their living expenses, and instead of getting the exact amount intended to be sent to them, their relative working in another country needed to spend a part of the amount as fees for the transfer.
The world remittance market is currently dominated by big companies such as MoneyGram and Western Union, and billions in amounts of remittances pass through them every year. Remittance companies usually charge large fees to be able to send remittances across countries, and the higher the amount to be sent the higher their fees. These fees hurt migrant workers as well as the families they are sending them to. Either a portion of the worker’s living allowance is used to make room for the fees or the money being sent to his or her family suffers the adjustment.
Programs that are built specifically for remittances using Blockchain technology help to lower the fees that are charged for sending remittances across countries. Currently, there are remittance platforms that run on Blockchain, the pioneer of which is BitSpark, which targets not just individual remittances but business remittances as well.
Since Blockchain technology is all about security, this presents a framework that helps create a database that is tamper-proof and accessible to the public to help track ownership of properties and assets, such as houses and valuable items. This type of technology can help prevent and detect fraud. This is a great use of blockchain amongst Applications of BlockChain.
Fight against Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is an on-going world problem. Almost a quarter of the world’s population does not have legal documents that they can use to be able to prove their identity. The majority of them come from countries located in Africa and Asia, and most of them are women and children. Without any proof of identity, these unknown people are easy targets for human trafficking. And it is common knowledge that human trafficking often involves prostitution. Microsoft, together with their partners, has made known to the public that they are working towards the creation of a safe identity system that will utilize Blockchain. This system will not only help those people lacking in identity proof to finally put a stop to human trafficking, a public identity system can also help prevent fraud, identify criminals, and even help assist in matters concerning national security.
Tracing Conflict-Zone/ Blood Diamonds
Remember the movie that starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, where the latter found that really big diamond they called a blood diamond? Well, the organization that aims to scour the trade of conflict-zone diamonds, The Kimberley Process, is currently studying how Blockchain could assist in discovering the location of these blood diamonds.
Everledger, a new company, already pioneered the digital certification of diamond ownership including the transaction history of how an owner has purchased them. Leanne Kemp, the founder, and CEO of Everledger, also believes that, aside from the tracking of conflict-zone diamonds, Blockchain technology can also address problems relating to ivory poaching. The fashion industry is also experimenting with Blockchain as a method of tackling and potentially eliminating counterfeiting.
Government and Healthcare
The appropriation of Blockchain can greatly help the government, especially with functions relating to education and healthcare. Some branches of the government are vulnerable to corruption, and Blockchain can help the system solve this problem through the public visibility of allocated budgets for certain branches, services, and programs.
Healthcare is one area that can easily benefit from being on Blockchain. A common database of patient records can be set up and readily available to healthcare professionals should they need them. Although publicly shared between healthcare professionals, Blockchain can make secure certain data that needs to be is kept private. Alternatively, the sharing of results from the research will help assist in finding new drug and treatment therapies for certain diseases. Blockchain in healthcare is a great use of blockchain amongst Applications of BlockChain.
Reinventing the Music Industry
The music industry is not always fair to artists when it comes to compensation, especially with those little people involved in the creation of songs. Blockchain is now being seen as a way for artists to sell their music directly to their fans thus solving issues related to licensing. Imogen Heap, a songwriter with a Grammy award to boast, released a song of hers entitled “Tiny Human” through a Blockchain platform. Every time people download, stream, and pay for a song license, payments are routinely divided between all those involved in the creation of the song.
Some of the programs mentioned are projections, while some are already on-going but still undergoing the process of perfection. To some people, Blockchain is something that is still unknown to them, but, regardless, the points provided clearly specify all the benefits the use of Blockchain technology can bring in the world today. Cutting costs, eliminating illegal activities, helping stop human trafficking— surely these benefits say a lot about how Blockchain can transform and make better everyone’s lives. This is a great use of blockchain amongst Applications of BlockChain.