But first, what is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology allows for the creation of a decentralised public record of digital information. The data (the block) is stored in a public database (the chain) and can consist of any information. It is the first digital technology that offers a way for unsecured parties to refer to a common, indelible (append-only) digital record. Blockchain already has many varied applications, and here’s some examples:
One of the more famous examples of Blockchain in action is Bitcoin. This is a digital currency (commonly called a cryptocurrency). This entirely electronic form of funds can be transferred securely directly from user to user without the need for intermediaries – essentially there is no central bank or administrator needed. Bitcoin is not the only currency based on Blockchain technology. Bitcoin Atom (BCA) is a fork of Bitcoin and provides a truly decentralised way of exchanging cryptocurrencies without trading fees and no exchange hacks.
Following acquisition of Mediachain Labs in late 2017, Spotify are using a decentralised database (blockchain technology) to correlate artists with license agreements and tracks. Use of Blockchain in music looks to create a more transparent record of rights ownership that will solve long-standing issues within the industry, whereby artists and labels have not been fairly acknowledged.
A cooperative Blockchain effort called TradeLens has been created by Maersk and IBM. An open and neutral industry solution, it is underpinned by Blockchain technology and supported by major industry players. The platform promotes a more efficient, predictable and secure exchange of information across the global supply chain. What’s more, TradeLens also sports a custom smart-contract service for executing complex shipping orders with fewer middlemen.
æternity is a scalable Blockchain platform, that can be used for many applications requiring high-speed transactions. These can include smart contracts, secure document exchanges and nano/micro payments. The technology promises to facilitate mass adoption of Blockchain to support everything from IoT, IoV, FinTech, Video Gaming, The Unbanked and Trust-free Exchanges.
The Matchpool platform incentivises ‘matchmakers’ to connect members of communities such as Airbnb, Uber or dating services. Matchpool uses cryptocurrency payments as a means for incentivising the communities, to provide value to the rest of the network. Guppy tokens, also known as GUP, are used to make payments inside the Matchpool app. Guppy tokens can be purchased and earned on the platform or traded on exchanges.
New York based LO3 is working with Siemens Digital Grid and Siemens’ start-up financier next47 on the Brooklyn Microgrid project. The initiative enables the local community to produce, consume and purchase power with a transactive energy platform powered by Blockchain technology. The distributed energy supply system allows for more resilient and renewable sources.
Reinventing how customer incentives are created, rewarded and managed – Loyyal is a cross-sector loyalty and rewards platform. Based on proprietary Blockchain and smart contract technology (making use of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric) Loyyal can handle travel & hospitality, employee incentives and credit card rewards. Loyyal also offers a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) client version with all-inclusive access to the Platform and enterprise-grade hosting.
The healthcare industry struggles to share data due to privacy and security issues as well as the added cost of aligning different technologies. Delivering better health data management, SimplyVital Health uses Blockchain to allow patients and providers to access, share and even move their healthcare data. The platform assures safe and secure coordination and communication with other providers and creates a trusted audit trail.
Five leading diamond manufacturers have been working with De Beers during the development of Tracr, the first Blockchain platform that securely tracks a diamond across the full value chain from mine to cutter, polisher and right through to the jeweller. Where once there was a trust and traceability risk, due to lack of transparency, this industry platform will deliver peace of mind with auditability, tamper-proof records and data authenticity.
Circle is a peer-to-peer payments technology. With a suite of financial products including Poloniex, Circle Invest and Circle Trade, the crypto finance company operates Circle Pay as a bitcoin wallet service to buy and sell bitcoins. Investments of some $250M USD are behind company, backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Breyer Capital, Accel and more. Poloniex is one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges. Unlike existing systems that are closed and proprietary, Circle uses open, Blockchain-based standards and protocols to build products, such as the remittance and messaging application that exists to serve the ‘unbanked’.
BASF Corporation and arc-net have collaborated to use blockchain technology to record and analyse sustainability in livestock, by connecting every part of the process from farm to fridge. The information will provide an environmental footprint along with full transparency and traceability along the entire value chain. In the future, this project will enable consumers to make informed choices about the meat they eat via an on-pack unique scannable code, providing information on the product’s provenance and environmental footprint.
The BitGive mission is to ‘Leverage the power of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology to improve public health and the environment worldwide.’ The first Blockchain and Bitcoin non-profit charity, the foundation launched the Charity 2.0 Initiative in 2015, which includes a variety of projects aimed at employing blockchain technology to benefit charities worldwide. The flagship project is GiveTrack™, a revolutionary donation platform for non-profit organisations that delivers transparency and accountability to donors by sharing financial information and direct project results in real time.
The Blockchain-secured platform for real estate recordkeeping, Ubiquity provides a secure, user-friendly experience to record property information with a clean record of ownership. The Patent Pending API and SaaS Platform allows a client to input their data and store it on a blockchain of their choice, for an accurate and secure audit of all records.
Blockchain has the power to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry. The MediLedger Project is supported by a working group of members including drug distributors and Big Pharma companies. The open, decentralised network records an indelible record of transactions and data to demonstrate regulatory adherence and improve security. Live in the U.S., MediLedger meets the emerging needs of the prescription medicine supply chain by redefining the potential of blockchain for the pharmaceutical sector.
AIA launched Hong Kong’s first blockchain-enabled bancassurance network in late 2017. The platform uses the Hyperledger Fabric, allowing its bank partners to share required policy data and documentation on a real-time basis, reducing the time needed to process insurance applications. AIA also runs its own blockchain accelerator, seeking out ‘high potential start-ups’ in the insurance/insurtech space.
A transparent ticketing ecosystem that relies on Blockchain technology, GUTS eliminates ticket fraud and exorbitant prices. The service assures that tickets are sold for for a fair price and also makes the process simple and secure. The digital smart ticket is powered by blockchain technology with a self-updating, rotating QR code that claims to make fraud impossible. Ticket prices are locked and linked to a unique mobile phone number.
As you can see, Blockchain is versatile technology with unlimited potential – these examples merely scratch the surface. If you’re keen for your organisation to unlock the power of emerging technologies, sector specific workshops are an ideal way to help others appreciate the prevalence of technology innovation and adoption in your industry. There’s no better way of opening the eyes and ears of even the most reluctant stakeholders to the value of digital technologies like Blockchain.