We talk a lot about cryptocurrencies on our blog, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many practical applications of blockchain technology in the modern world.
We’ve previously gathered a few experts to give their insights about blockchain technology and its future. In general, the perception is that adoption to blockchain infrastructure, albeit slow, will extend to virtually all of finance due to its many advantages.
Its technology will also enable decentralization and open-source networks, which can overturn tech titans like Facebook and Uber, and divide the risks and rewards evenly around the ecosystem. When it comes to the future of cryptocurrencies, it will progress predominantly in developing nations where crypto can add more value and increase practicality compared to fiat currencies.
The uses and actual applications of blockchain are not restricted to the cryptocurrency industry, or any particular trade for that matter. Decentralized blockchain systems can transform how people do business in a whole lot of ways.
Eventually, this new technology will tap into how people create contracts, vote, send money, and even prove identification. Let’s take a look at the various practical blockchain applications that can elevate industries across the board.
Understanding Blockchain Applications
Since blockchain is already used in the exchange and management of cryptocurrencies, it’s only expected to transform banks and other financial intermediaries. Blockchain offers a secure way for performing financial transactions on every point of the globe, which is what the financial industry needs right now.
In a modern world where almost everything has gone digital, don’t you think it’s time for our financial system to switch from papers or physical records to a completely digital system? Blockchain makes for a suitable and secure alternative.
- Asset management. Traditional cryptocurrencies or stock exchanges for parties who trade and manage assets can be costly and high-risk, especially for cross-border transactions. A study by tech company Calastone shows that the asset management industry could save up to $2.7 billion annually by using blockchain to deal with the time consuming and repetitive processes.
With the use of blockchain technology, customer on-boarding, trade processing, portfolio management, reporting, and settlement of assets can run in a simplified process. It also minimizes error by encrypting the records. Securrency is a trading platform that allows trading of digital currencies outside of their assigned exchanges.
- Insurance claims processing. Overall, fraud takes away $80 billion annually across all lines of insurance alone. Blockchain certainly isn’t the end-all-be-all solution to all problems of insurers, but its encryption properties eliminate suspicious transactions. It also provides a secure system for transparency and risk-free management.
Blockchain technology offers an opportunity for providing complete accountability, trust, transparency, and security for insurers and the insured alike, which can help save time (reducing manual processing) and money (fraudulent claims). A proof-of-insurance product namely RiskBlock is developed to help law enforcement, insurers, and insured to validate insurance claims instantly and fast-track claims processing.
- Cross-border payments. There’s no denying the fact that traditional money transfer or cross-border payments are prone to delays, transfer risks and error, unreasonably high fees, and open to money laundering among others.
Blockchain is already providing a streamlined system with end-to-end remittance services. Companies like Noah Coin utilize an end-to-end blockchain-based fintech service. Its project PayRemit allows people to transact online, then head to Noah Coin partner remittance outlets to pay.
Contracts need lawyers or a broker to preside over, verify the provisions, and look after the completion. Even the most basic business contact requires their supervision. This is where smart contracts come in to eliminate the middleman and simplify the process.
The first step is the registration of contract in a ledger along with contractual details of other people involved, where it will then be legally viewed as a valid agreement. From then, every move of the contract is automated and marked as completed when a transaction or specific event occurs.
Smart contracts work as a pre-written code, which is then disseminated, replicated, and executed on a network of computers (blockchain). These contracts can perform updates to the shared ledger.
- Entertainment – Ownership rights, royalty distribution, and transparency are critical problems in both the music and film industries. The blockchain and smart contract technologies find a way to circumvent this issue with a comprehensive and accurate database of rights.
The ledger offers a transparent transference of royalties and real-time distributions to everyone involved with the labels. Respective individuals will then be paid with cryptocurrencies. Ujomusic is already helping musicians track royalties for their work.
- Healthcare – The healthcare sector has already taken steps in branching from the use of paper for recordkeeping. Smart contracts can be used in medical industries for keeping tabs between payers, providers, and drug manufacturers. Healthcare providers set up smart contracts for every payer, which is then stored in their digital records.
When the patient receives any form of care, such as a consultation or a medical procedure, the entry is conducted in the blockchain. SimplyVital Health is developing two health-related blockchain projects, which aim to track the progress of patients and offer a decentralized blockchain patient ledger.
- Government – Government elections are a pivotal event in every country, which is why fraud in the voting system must be prevented at all cost. With blockchain technology, voters will vote digitally, on a regulated system that recognizes if something changes on the network.
Follow My Vote introduces a modern age voting solution for transparent and secure voting systems that diminished any opportunities for fraud.
According to the UN, 1.1 billion people around the world have no means of proving and claiming their identity. Because of this, they lack access to basic human rights, including voting, healthcare, right to own a property, education, receive government services, and open a bank account among others.
Blockchain helps by eliminating the need for a physical ID. For the homeless population, having their identities registered on the blockchain could lift the weight of maintaining physical identification copies. Often, these could be easily stolen, lost, or diminished by a disaster.
For refugees, blockchain can aid them in regaining ownership over their legal identities, which they might have lost when forced to flee their properties.
Overall, digital IDs are set to solve identity challenges. While still in a nascent stage, Microsoft is attempting to make a decentralized blockchain ID happen within its Authenticator app, allowing millions of users to control their identities.
Internet-of-Things (IoT) is a network of connected devices–any devices–to the internet that allows the collection and exchange of data with one another. It uses sensors, embedded software, and a common language to communicate.
Gartner predicts that there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices by 2020. With this number of devices set to join IoT hubs in the future, the system can show vulnerability to weak points, such as network security, speed, and affordability. So, how can blockchain technology tie with IoT?
Blockchain technology deals with the problems mentioned and strengthens the interconnectedness of IoT. Its network will enable devices to perform smoothly, securely, and autonomously by creating smart contracts that are only implemented upon the accomplishment of the specific requirements. This encourages better automation, cheap transfers (no need for third-party to supervise transactions), scalability, and security (prevents overrides and compromise of network security).
With blockchain and IoT integrated, you don’t need to open several apps to compare when booking a ride. Blockchain provides one interface that collates all offer in one place. Riders, drivers, and service providers will only have one ledger that collects all data from all transaction. This is what the future looks like with blockchain woven into the IoT.
Opportunities of Blockchain Technology Across Industries
The common association of cryptocurrencies and bitcoin with blockchain will continue to change as more and more people realize blockchain’s potential to shake other industries to its core.
Industry giants must understand that blockchain technology, while still in its early stages, comes with endless opportunities and possibilities. This technology could become a driving force for improving businesses, promoting fair societies, solving economic crises, and ultimately transform how we live and work. Knowing how it works and what it can do, blockchain applications are limitless.
Contact the cryptocurrency experts at Noah Coin to find out how they’re taking cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to the next level!