We’ve come a long way since Bitcoin’s genesis block, through regulatory uncertainty, all the way past the parallel competition era, and we now experience what some might refer to as “vertical growth” in blockchain technology. But what are some popular blockchain use-cases trending across global industries?
Although we’re not worrying much about which cryptocurrency and or blockchain platform will be the next Bitcoin, there’s still an undergoing measurement battle as to which distributed ledger, whether public or private, will deploy ready-to-use and easy-to-grasp solutions that upscale the way businesses, individuals and even governmental organizations interact with digital reality.
Over the past half a decade, we’ve seen regulatory watchdogs subjecting blockchain technology and most of its use-cases under existing financial laws, while in some cases additional laws have been tailored for different scenarios.
Government leaders were indirectly forced to posit their view of distributed ledger technology and in most cases, a national blockchain strategy was created amid concerns raised after President Xi Jinping publically announced blockchain’s importance for the Chinese government, underscoring that China aims to become a global leader in the field.
Still, we’re in 2020, and we haven’t seen a groundbreaker blockchain solution being used on a national scale, although leading economies, including but not limited to China, the U.S., Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland among others are already working on domestic solutions run entirely on some sort of a blockchain.
While government leaders are skeptical about which direction they should follow when it comes to their respective national blockchain strategies, industry leaders who have clearly a better understanding of the benefits a networking architecture of the likes of blockchain brings to the party, are already working on solutions that will radically shift the way things work online.
In this piece, I’ll try to posit some intriguing blockchain use-cases being developed around the world as you read this and give you some insights as to what might the driving force behind each move.
Document Administration Use-Cases
Probably the easiest to deploy and start benefiting out of blockchain use-cases would be tokenizing physical and digital documents, which could be later tracked, transferred between organizations and individuals, and encrypted among enterprises.
Document administration on blockchain has been already tested and adopted by the Netherlands, Greece, Russia, and China among other leading economies that grabbed the new wave of advanced innovations in the tech field by the hair.
For starters, documents in their digital form are a couple of megabytes fat even in demanding scenarios, making them an easy asset to be registered on a first or second generation blockchain, that most of the times would have something between 1 and 16 MB as a block size.
Blockchain’s transparency enables registrants to have a clear vision of their registered asset. For example content creators like authors, musicians, and digital artists struggle to monitor their success when their work is published by traditional streaming platforms and media outlets. Blockchain architecture allows content creators to watch their stats, earnings, and transfers that subject their respective work.
Furthermore, sophisticated smart-contracts allow financial institutions, traders, and programmers to develop and deploy tailored autonomous contracts on-chain that will be executed when the pre-designed conditions are met, and without human interference.
On their own turn, smart-contracts can carry documents, and other digital assets such as images, animations, videos, music etc. and be part of a closed network, where a limited amount of individuals or legal entities could access each file.
Overall, document administration on blockchain seems like the only viable way to store, manage, and distribute digital information and files in the Industry 4.0 era. In combination with the simplicity underlying the concept, it is by far the most popular of blockchain use-cases out there, hailing as early as the Bitcoin genesis block, where a cover of The Times was subject to the first Bitcoin broadcast ever.
Moreover, blockchain databases empower a modern collaborative networking system among peers and enterprises that seek the ability to access large files simultaneously from anywhere in the world and at any given time. That way companies can be assured data flow integrity is achieved without relying on a third party auditor company or contractors, relying solely on the unbiased and transparent series of algorithms blockchain’s are ade of.
Last, but not least, blockchain-powered databases enable immutable privacy for users who want to make sure their personal data are safe and can be only accessed when a specific token that acts as a “key” will be presented to the hosting platform.
Similar DLT tools and services apply to personal medical data, that most of the times are being traded across industries without your consent and most of the times without your awareness.
A popular way to tokenize documents and other physical and digital assets would be through Mintbase or other analogous platforms that empower users with smart-contract templates tailored for registering various file types ranging from text to audiovisual content.
Relevant article: Blockchain Technology: What To Expect In 2020?
Supply-Chain Management Use-Cases
Similar to document administration, the supply-chain industry is lagging behind edge developments in the asset monitoring, tracking, and management field, hence top-shelf companies such as Maersk, IBM, and Walmart have already jumped on the blockchain train.
Tokenization protocols, such as Ethereum’s ERC-20 token standard allow supply-chain managers to issue their own tokens, under their own set of rules, as well as other smart-contracts such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or ERC-721 tokens, that can act as digital ownership contracts carrying access attributes, or even represent a physical or digital asset directly.
Supply-chain managers can use blockchain to track physical goods from generation to retail, using a combination of some sort of an IPFS or private Cloud, smart-contracts, and tracking/pairing technology of the likes of QR codes, and RFID chips.
In a nutshell, one could scan the QR code found in a pack of macaroni in Walmart, and be able to monitor its history, date of production, origin, issuer details, as well as information subjecting transport, temperature, and other conditions applied to the specific item.
This is important both for governments as well as industry leaders, as it makes sure marketable assets are exacty what they claim to be in the first place, incentivizing a fair market, while pubishing fakesters, copycats, and unregulated products that claim to be legit using no proof whatsoever.
China is leading the sphere with domestic blockchain firms offering traceability services to local and international businesses including but not limited to BMW, and Luis Vuitton.
Netizen Authentication (Web3 ID)
Authentication protocols such as KYC (know your customer), are growing in numbers, considering the need for transparent user databases by government agencies, tax collectors and financial watchdog increases by the hour.
Besides the fact governing bodies need to know who does what, when and where, blockchain-based authentication can be way more than just a digital ID for netizens.
A Web3 ID or decentralized web identification is pegged to a specific personal wallet, hence exchange wallets, and other custodian crypto wallets won’t give you the ability to use their respective wallet as a personal Web3 ID to avoid confusion and malicious activity, considering custodian wallets own your private keys.
A personal Web3 wallet such as Metamask, or AlphaWallet can be your gateway to the decentralied web. A parallel IPFS stored on blockchain. In Web3 users can directly log-in to various dapps (decentralized applications) and engage with their respective content and/or services.
Web3 ID’s also empower use-cases such as wallet-to-wallet exchanges where you can directly trade your crypto with other Web3 netizens without relying on third party exchanges.
Obviously a Web3 wallet, is not just an ID or a pouch of your digital money, but can be used as a portfolio, historical achievements tracker, and even as a vault for your collectibles, and other digital assets, and smart-contracts.
For example, AlphaWallet allows you to own ERC-721 powered non-fungible tokens that represent an ownership status for various event tickets. That way, you can visit your favorite club and swipe your wallet, or scan a QR code to prove you own a ticket in the form of an NFT that could never be forged, tampered or duplicated, thanks to blockchain architecture.
In addition, similar to Google Passwords’ service, web3 IDs can be used as “keys” that allow you to enter in various websites, use online services and computing resources, and access virtual and physical meetings and events without low-level passwords that could be easily hacked with the right algorithm.
Instead, your password is your own wallet, and in order to had it, one should hack your wallet, which might costs anything between $2 and $10 million in USD terms, considering the processing power required to tamper with a popular blockchain network.
HR agencies are also benefiting from web3 IDs data flaws since it provides a crystal-clear, transparent and verified history of achievements, experience, academic diplomas and more that are registered on-chain forever.
Web3 IDs are essential for regulating the crypto sphere and it is an unavoidable pipeline we have to cross in order to enter the mass adoption era.
More about web3 wallets: AlphaWallet CEO Explains Why Web3 Wallets Are Better Than Custodian Ones
Finance & Banking Use-Cases
Altough this should come as natural, not all financial institutions, including central banks are leveraging blockchain fruits, and the main reason for that, despite their claims subjecting regulatory concerns, is the fact they lack technical knowledge that is essential in order to understand why blockchain architecture matters.
Nevertheless, even if digital currencies are still undergoing a global debate, other financial tools and services running on blockchain are already being adopted by top-shelf financiers.
Some of the most popular blockchain use-cases in the fintech field being already utilized and researched would be the concept of blockchain-based monetary settlements, physical stocks tokenizations under the form of STOs (security token offerings), and financial bookkeeping.
DeFi or decentralized finance is also something that interests cream financiers, yet they struggle to understand how it is possible that an autonomous piece of code can perform immutable, and transparent transactions of monetary assets, and other financial documents and contracts.
For bankers, it is important to monitor the flow of the money, whether digital or blockchain-specific, and therefore distributed ledgers are unavoidable for financial institutions that want to stay relevant in the future economy.
While some banks are already considering a state-backed digital currency, also known as CBDC (central bank digital currency), most of them are based on private blockchain platforms such as IBM’s Hyperledger or R3’s Corda, due to fear of market manipulation in public cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), and Ethereum (ETH).
Read More: Blockchain Finance: What To Expect In 2020
What other popular blockchain use-cases you think we’ve missed, and which are some trending use-cases that are growing post-lockdown? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or feel free to hit me on Twitter.