This article will be focusing on blockchain technology and the various use-cases developing in the industrial, as well as the technopolitical sphere and not on blockchain-powered public cryptocurrencies. If you want to get ahead of Blockchain Finance trends in 2020, we suggest that you read our relative article.
While we’re just a few weeks in 2020, it already feels like a full year on its own considering the vast developments in the distributed ledger technology sector that took place since the beginning of the year.
For starters, blockchain is not only the architectural pillar for digital currency, but it can be used in many different aspects in a huge spectrum of modern industries.
In this publication, we’ll try to lay down some of the most prominent blockchain scenarios that are not directly linked to alternative economic systems.
Supply Chain is the sector with the highest blockchain adoption rate
One of the most demanding sectors for blockchain technology would be the global supply chain industry. It should come as no surprise, but make natural sense if you’re aware of how DLTs work.
In essence, tracking goods on a transparent, immutable digital ledger is exactly what’s missing from current supply chain business models, and blockchain is exactly the missing point by default.
Christian Di Giorgio, the head of DLT at Inacta AG, a Swiss company specializing in blockchain solutions, had a good example during his speech at the recent Crypto Valley Summit in Davos:
“Crime pays when provenance is broken. The issue is knowing where a product comes from, knowing that it’s genuine. It runs from shoes to bags to the pharma industry and B2B market — medicine and car parts, for example.” – Christian Di Giorgio said.
So basically, tracking physical goods in real-time, being able to authenticate them, and knowing their history from issue to shelf is exactly what’s missing from the supply chain business and blockchain is here to change all of that with one single addition to the recipe.
There are now startups popping out to the broader market offering blockchain solutions specifically tailored for the supply chain industry, and they have nothing to do with cryptos, CoinMarketCap, or cryptocurrency exchanges.
This signifies the importance of the technology for the sector and empowers new generation enterprises to focus on specific blockchain use-cases instead of trying to become the next Bitcoin.
Of course, tech giants such as IBM, R3, Microsoft, and Amazon have already tapped in the scene and while startups are trying to close their first deal, these companies have already ready-to-use blockchain solutions for the supply chain industry, and already being utilized by the likes of Walmart, Maersk, and Deutsche Telekom.
Why is this important?
Besides the fact that the global supply chain market is a multi-billion dollar operation or simply a standalone market on its own, it is the backbone of every single physical product we’re buying, selling, or utilizing in our everyday life.
Better supply chain insights mean better product insights and by extent, better company insights and the domino goes on.
Knowing where this apple came from, and additionally how many miles it traveled, who was the farmer and what seeds he used, under what circumstances, temperatures and all the information tracked by IoT infrastructure and stored and distributed via blockchain the whole global economy would radically shift into a more efficient version of it.
No more apples claiming to be local and just harvested last morning will be eligible for sale, or at last for the price they used to claim, before we realized they’re actually coming from Africa and were harvested a month ago.
Identification / Authentication with blockchain
Another equally important aspect of international physical goods transfers is identification or authentication.
This should be pretty self-explanatory but in a nutshell, scanning a QR code, or an RFID chip attached to a physical product could provide you with information regarding its origin and authenticity. Sure, stickers can be forged, or re-pressed in large quantities, but when you have blockchain in the middle, it’s nearly impossible to skip registration, unless you’re a fake.
The fashion industry, although considered to be one of the least progressive tech-wise communities, has already jumped on the train, and brands of the likes of Luis Vuitton, NIKE, and New Balance have already patented several blockchain-based scenarios to use with their future products.
In modern technopolitics, blockchain is mostly used as a keyword to attract young generations into trusting old politicians, as I can guarantee you most of them have no clue how and why blockchain actually works.
Sure, one way or another, it’s good for blockchain adoption, but what they don’t realize and will eventually bite them back, is the fact that blockchain will out-throne the old regime and replace it with unbiased new human units or even better, with AI.
From transparent voting systems to government document administration protocols, blockchain technology has already a series of clean-cut solutions most politicians are hesitating to accept and implement, even when they are aware of them and comprehend the social benefits.
Finally, based on developments during the first month of 2020, we can be sure that some interesting state-backed blockchain-powered economies are to be introduced within the year.
Blockchain will also be used between various banking institutions to track, verify and share personal financial activities, in order to tackle money-laundering they say. Basically what you do with a bank will be transparent and constantly updated with B and C bank and vise versa. Read our previous article to get an in-depth idea.
The way I see it, private companies found a way to use blockchain to gather more data and more accurate and detailed data about how their own industry works, while governments are tackling to find ways to control how netizens act online, again using blockchain technology.
If this doesn’t give you a clear vision of where DLTs are headed next, you should take a lesson on the history of the internet, or read our article about how blockchain parallels the internet.