5 Practical, Real World Use Cases for Blockchain Technology
In the media, blockchain technology has taken a backseat to the currencies that it supports. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, and other altcoin have all been hot topics that have brought up debates on whether or not they actually have any value. But, blockchain has not received the popular media attention that cryptocurrencies have. As it turns out, the underlying blockchain framework that makes these currencies possible is what gives them value and allows for each of them to have so many revolutionary features.
Blockchain allows for a digital distributed ledger to be used to facilitate transactions between two parties. Crypto transactions are free of fraud and do not allow manipulation or interference from third parties. Blockchain technology can revolutionize the way information is stored, secured, and exchanged between two parties by removing fraud and trust from the equation.
The invention of blockchain introduced a new method of business organization and transactional behavior that is poised to radically change the way some of the most deeply established “real world” businesses operate. We have compiled a list of 5 industries that demonstrate blockchain’s widespread use cases.
#1 Smart Technology
If you keep up with modern technology trends, you may have heard about a new sector called the “IoT” (Internet of Things). The Internet of Things is a concept that represents all facets of your life becoming “smart”. In simpler terms, this basically means that nearly every object you own will, at some point, be embedded with sensors that transmit and exchange data with the connected blockchain at all times. This information is used in combination with machine learning to better understand your habits and provide for a smarter living experience.
For example, this technology could turn your home into a “smart home”, where a setup similar to Amazon’s Alexa can do anything from find your remote control to let you know that you’re low on eggs. Smart technology connects all appliances, objects, and furniture in your home and allows them to communicate data back and forth to learn from your habits or patterns.
How is this achieved? Prior to blockchain, this was not yet figured out. Blockchain technology allows for these sensors to handle all of this information through artificial intelligence and distributed computing. Without blockchain, the security of this information and its ability to function would not be possible.
The insurance industry is one of the most talked about use cases for blockchain technology. Currently, it can be agreed that insurance claims are a hassle, and completing them correctly or getting all parties to participate is an even bigger annoyance. With blockchain, all of these steps are removed from the equation, even undue trust in the other parties and your agent. With sensors in the cars as well as digital information about each client cryptographically secured in the blockchain, the process is greatly simplified.
Instead of exchanging information, simply scan a QR code. Proof of insurance procedures will be instantaneous rather than taking weeks to process due to the ability for blockchain to store and transmit this information to the relevant parties instantaneously. As with most of its applications, blockchain can improve overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness on the consumer end within all sectors of the insurance industry.
Imagine that by using smart contracts, you can enter into blockchain protected plans where you can receive coverage nearly instantly after submitting your claims digitally. These contracts will be automatically enforceable, so you will receive the exact quote you were expecting when you signed on. This could eliminate the need for clunky insurance steps and remove the chance of you getting a lower amount than was originally agreed by your insurance company.
The healthcare industry is a constantly evolving entity that is always on the lookout for ways to improve the doctor-patient relationship. Public health records are currently stored on centralized databases that are not as secure as they would be if stored on a decentralized blockchain, and also not as inter-operable or accessible as they would neither. Doctors and healthcare IT departments need a way to keep the information secure, but allow it to be easily accessible and verified by the right people. Blockchain provides a solution to all of this and more.
The blockchain can connect the medical devices in a hospital directly to a blockchain which contains patient records, automating their use and freeing the doctor critical time for treating their patients. All of these use cases could create a more streamlined process of care, removing repetitive tasks on the physicians end and providing much more efficiency to the entire process.
#4 Real Estate
Blockchain offers a new way to approach real estate. Instead of constantly having to check credit scores, verify incomes, and sift through paperwork when closing escrow on a house, the blockchain could automate this entire process. Since blockchain allows pertinent information from individuals and businesses to communicate with each other, sensors can be placed that detect whether or not a person is a match for a property, and can automatically handle all of these steps.
Blockchain would help to quickly verify verify income, reduce fraud between lenders and home buyers, and help better match people to their dream homes. The whole process between agent and buyer would be completely transparent, and all info surrounding the sale or purchase of your home would be public information, giving you peace of mind as well as incentivizing the agent to give you best service possible.
#5 Identity Management
As one of the most important items on this list, blockchain is offering a fundamentally better way to handle our identities. Currently, you have information that is spread across multiple realms of businesses from your bank, to your insurance company, to your many social media accounts and online retailer accounts. Fraud affects hundreds of millions of people across the world each year, and the current setup is not fighting this at all.
Blockchain technology is an easy answer to this issue, as it would remove all of your personal information from being present on ANY centralized database (your bank, insurance company, etc.). Rather, it will keep your information cryptographically secured in a pseudonymous setup. What this means is that you control the permissions to this information, or who you share it with. If your bank needs to verify the info, they simply scan a QR code or have their systems verify the info after you approve access, and then it is re-secured. This removes your information from ever being vulnerable.
An important platform that is currently in its early stages is the Civic platform. This company is aiming to do all of which we just described, and turn the identity industry on its head. Without blockchain technology, revolutionary business models such as Civic’s would not exist, and we would have no answer to the current identity theft crisis in the world.
Blockchain: A New Way to Store and Exchange Information
Overall, blockchain technology provides a new way to store and exchange information, a practice which is the backbone of all modern business models. Its value comes from its ability to revolutionize all of these industries, as well as a new way to exchange value for these services.
The blockchain is a logical advancement for modern technologically that is also philosophically advanced, as it removes the power and hold on critical information from the CEO boards to the community at large. Blockchain technology has the potential to eliminate fraud and the abuse of power at the corporate level, if it can be developed and scaled to the needed threshold.