Blockchain! Is it just another buzzword or has it lived up to the hype? Cryptocurrencies and blockchains have enjoyed a good run since 2010. A series of scams, busts, an uncertain regulatory landscape, and a lack of real-world implementation are some reasons many continue to dismiss blockchain. Despite strong criticism, the adoption of blockchain continues to grow each year.
If we inspect blockchain’s journey so far, there is nothing unusual about how it’s transforming from an emerging technology to a matured one. From the time of its inception until now, the applications of blockchain technology have only increased worldwide.
Many have deemed it as the “next big thing” in the tech space after the internet. Some have even made bold statements that the blockchain will play a key role in replacing today’s Web 2.0. Although this innovative financial technology (Fintech) offers significant promise, we would have to wait and find out if that really happens.
In this article, we will explore some innovative real-time blockchain applications. If you are interested in blockchain technology, we urge you to take a look.
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What is blockchain technology?
A blockchain is a relatively new and fresh technique to collect and store data. Advocates of blockchain claim it is next to impossible to hack, cheat, or manipulate the blockchain. Therefore blockchain has become popular in recent times, showing little signs of slowing down.
In addition, it is important to understand that blockchain is much broader than finance and can be used for applications that require transparent multi-step transactions. Some of the core principles upon which blockchain is built include transparency, decentralization, automation, and immutability.
Real-time applications of blockchain technology
Now that we have a basic understanding of blockchain, let’s look at some real-time applications of blockchain technology.
1. Money transfer and payment processing
This is arguably one of the most rational applications of blockchain technology. It can speed up the movement of funds from one account to another. While a few transactions could take a few days with traditional banking, most blockchain transactions are completed in just a few seconds.
2. Closely tracking supply chains
Today, companies seek new, and innovative ways to streamline and monitor supply chains. This is where blockchain technology makes its case.
Businesses may quickly identify inefficiencies in their supply chains and find products in real time by eliminating paper-based trials. Blockchain also enables companies and customers to monitor the quality control performance of products as they move from the place of origin to the retailer.
3. Application of blockchain in the real estate sector
Did you ever imagine that blockchain can be used in the real estate sector? Neither did we, but as things turn out, blockchain technology has carved its place in the real estate sector.
Today, accessing relevant information about a specific property including land registry, land title, survey number, and other technical data is relatively slower than the desired levels. Proponents of blockchain think that technology can change that by making all important information easily accessible online.
In the same manner, all parties will have access to and information on the terms of any sale agreement, which lowers the likelihood of miscommunication or disagreement.
Because almost all relevant information will be available on the irreversible, secure blockchain network, it will also be possible to prevent real estate fraud. It may also automate payments for brokers or attorneys, accelerating and simplifying the process overall.
4. Cryptocurrency mining and decentralized banking
Did you know cryptocurrency is legal tender in a couple of countries? Yes, you read that right. The Central African Republic and El Salvador have passed legislation to allow cryptocurrency to be used as a legal tender. Many countries including the U.S., India, United Kingdom, Australia, and Singapore to name a few are also flirting with the idea of making cryptocurrency completely legal.
The battle between pro-fiat currency vs pro-crypto supporters continues worldwide. Although it could take some time for every country to embrace crypto as a legal tender, blockchain will continue to play a key role here.
5. Use of blockchain in car leasing and transportation
Buying or leasing a car is not as simple as it seems. One of the biggest challenges of leasing or buying a car is bargaining with the dealer. Further, sorting out finances is another headache car buyers need to sort out before they can sit behind the wheel.
Noting this problem, in 2015, Visa joined hands with the transaction management firm DocuSign. The initiative aimed to streamline and speed up car leasing with blockchain technology. With this approach, customers were required to sign and lease an insurance policy on the blockchain public ledger. Hence, there was no need for intermediaries.
The transportation sector is evolving rapidly. Autonomous vehicles, ridesharing, and linked vehicles have made a profound impact on the entire landscape. In addition, players operating in the transportation business are making conscious efforts to minimize carbon footprint, improve customer experience, and enhance security. Blockchain can address these problems and therefore it is one of the most important blockchain technology applications today.
6. Blockchain technology to safeguard legal notaries
This is another interesting and exciting blockchain technology application. Legal documents are of utmost importance. That said, they can be easily misplaced, manipulated, subjected to fraud, and even destroyed. Blockchain technology throws all these problems out of the window. A blockchain ledger safely secures digital copies across different nodes in the cloud.
Blockchain technology protects the data in a historical chain of transactions by confirming that an altered block uses a cryptographic hash. Any modification to the subsequent block would change the value of that hash, showing tampering because the next block’s hash signs the preceding block.
7. Application of blockchain in retail
Did you know that many companies operating in the retail space have turned to blockchain to safeguard their operations and instill trust in customers? Blockchain has repeatedly exhibited that it promotes transaction transparency. Right from crucial product facts to use cases, blockchain improves transaction transparency at every stage.
Blockchain can record and safeguard every transaction in an organized manner. With additional research and knowledge, we predict that blockchain technology applications in the retail space will continue to expand in the future.
8. Blockchain application in the insurance sector
The insurance industry has been around for many centuries. However, there are several processes and operational methods that are stuck in time and need a major revamp. For example, creating contracts on paper and purchasing policies on the phone.
Blockchain technology can significantly improve the different aspects of the insurance sector. Multiple blockchain startups are exploring the possibility of using blockchain in insurance.
Fidentiax, a blockchain marketplace to trade insurance policies rolled out a digital ledger product for insurance policies in 2018. The aim here is to ensure that policyholders are not kept in the dark and have complete access to crucial information at all times. In addition, the policyholder’s portfolio can be shared with relevant stakeholders via the ledger. This also allows beneficiary distribution after death.
9. Blockchain in the pharmaceutical space
One may suggest why adopting blockchain is essential owing to the pharmaceutical industry’s strict privacy requirements, laws, and international restrictions. Blockchain may solve any issues that may naturally arise because of this.
The pharmaceutical industry continually tested blockchain technology to assist with many practical use cases. Some use cases include speeding up clinical studies, safely maintaining patient health data, and eventually lowering drug development costs. Blockchain in healthcare is another interesting development we should closely track in the next few years.
10. Application of blockchain to improve food hygiene and supply
Experts suggest blockchain can identify the probable origin of contamination, thus, preventing and containing epidemics. Besides, players in the food industry have stated that blockchain technology with secondary tools including IoT sensors can create a transparent food supply chain. This would play a key role in improving customer trust and safety.
Blockchain applications are expanding, there is more to come
The blockchain technology applications mentioned in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. At present, blockchain technology is at a very nascent stage, and there is a lot of work that needs to be done. While blockchain is gradually penetrating into different industries, it could take a while to call it a ‘mainstream technology.
What makes blockchain so appealing? There are plenty of benefits of using blockchain in different industries. Automation of redundant and slow processes, tamper-proof data security, and centralized record-keeping are some of the most glaring advantages of using blockchain.
With additional research and progress, applications of blockchain technology will continue to expand in the future.
Which blockchain technology application excites you the most? Which industry will reap the maximum benefits of blockchain? You can share your views by commenting below.
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