Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) that has the potential to eliminate huge amounts of record-keeping and streamline supply chains. Blockchain – a shared database filled with entries that must be confirmed and encrypted – refers to the ‘blocks’(container data structure) that gets added to the chain of transaction records. Top blockchain technology companies provide customized solutions in every facet of the blockchain technology like smart contracts, stablecoins, public and private blockchain, etc. for their clients. For being more than just bitcoin, blockchain has garnered a significant amount of digital ink in recent years and has been making its way to the core of multiple industries.
Real-World Applications of Blockchain Technology Across the Industries
Various vertical industries are exploring, as well as implementing the innovative real-world applications of blockchain technology. Here are some of the important blockchain applications that demonstrate substance beyond the hype.
Payment Processing Services
The most logical use of blockchain is – expansion of payment options outside of traditional means, such as credit cards and wire transfers. Thus, it eliminates the need for banks for the funds’ transaction between two parties. Most transactions processed over a blockchain can be settled within no time, as the services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Supply Chains Monitoring
Many challenges of the supply chain industry, including complicated record-keeping and tracking of products, can be tackled by using blockchain. The adoption of blockchain technology ensures the reduction of fraud and errors, improvement in inventory management, reduction in courier costs as well as delays from paperwork, faster identification of the issues, and establishment of consumer and partner trust.
Blockchain has the power to change the future of voting in elections by introducing digital voting, that is more secure, easier, and will allow for more people to perform their primary civic duty. Voters’ identity and political preferences are concealed when submitting their votes. As blockchain can store votes in an immutable and tamper-proof way, officials can count votes with absolute certainty.
Property Registration and Land Record Management
Often paper trails are a source of confusion and blockchain helps take paper out of the equation. Instead of handling the transfer of a title with papers while buying or selling a house, land or car, blockchain stores titles on its network. This allows for a transparent view of transfer and presents a clear picture of legal ownership. Blockchain improves trust and transparency, reduces siloed databases, and limits the use of intermediaries from brokers to escrow companies.
Medical Record Management
Blockchain is revolutionizing the healthcare industry worldwide by tracking pharmaceuticals, decentralizing patient health history, and improving payment options. Patient data management takes a significant amount of time and might involve issues arising from human error. Blockchain offers safety and convenience while managing the patient’s digital record.
The global food chain is complex as it involves farmers, warehousing, shipping companies, distributors, and grocers and hence different record-keeping methods, which cannot be much precise or efficient. With food, many things can go seriously wrong. According to the CDC, every year, there are 28,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths and 48M Americans fall ill because of foodborne contamination. Blockchain allows food companies to quickly trace outbreaks back to specific sources and recall the impacted products, resulting in increased consumer safety and reduced financial losses.
Copyright and Royalty Protection
In a world with growing internet access, copyright and ownership laws on online content such as music, videos, blogs, are must to have. Blockchain technology can secure these laws. Real-time royalty payments can be introduced with blockchain to allow fair compensation to artists from each stream of their music. Without it, they would have to wait for an uncertain duration to get remuneration. In the music industry, the problem of poor access to information about music rights can also be solved with the increased transparency provided by the blockchain.
The procurement and sale of illegal arms happen at various locations across the world. A global immutable database created by blockchain technology can help fight against illegal trading of arms. With blockchain, any firearm can be tracked from the time of its inception. Thus, the federal government and law enforcement can track weapon ownership and also keep a record of weapons sold privately.
Future of Blockchain
Mckinsey explained in a report titled “Blockchain’s Occam Problem,” that, like many other emerging technologies, blockchain too has received its fair share of acknowledgment and challenges. The company states that industries from financial services to healthcare and the arts have recognized more than 100 blockchain use cases, ranging from new land registries to smart contracts. The reason behind this is the recognition of the potential of blockchain when it comes to accountability and transparency by the industries, regulators, and financial technologists.
According to Mckinsey, while going forward, blockchain’s practical value is mainly located in three specific areas, which :
- Niche Applications – Its specific use cases are found in insurance, supply chains, and capital markets, where distributed ledgers can address pain points such as inefficiency, fraud, and process opacity.
- Modernization value – Applications trade finance, global shipping contracts, and payment processing used by industries inclined towards modernization to pursue digitization, process simplification, and collaboration.
- Reputational value – blockchains focused on IoT networking, customer loyalty, and voting fall into this category. Here, companies with little or no intention of creating a commercial-scale application pursue blockchain pilots for reputational value.
Though there are some technical impediments and challenges in respect of governance, there have been some promising advances in use cases, particularly in industries other than the financial sector. The latest experiments in identity management, supply chains, and the sharing of public records have been positive. Blockchain – being transparent, trustworthy, and immutable, has the potential to redefine several aspects of our financial lives in the future.
Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize business processes in industries from banking to healthcare. According to Deloitte’s Global Blockchain Survey, 50% of the organizations recognize that blockchain is a critical factor. Though this technology faces structural challenges and has not yet seen a significant application at scale, it is capable of delivering more refined and mature solutions.