If you are interested in banking, investing, or cryptocurrency, then you must have come across the term “blockchain,” the record-keeping technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Usually, blockchain definitions describe the technology as “a distributed, decentralized, public ledger.” But what does this mean? Well, blockchain is essentially just a chain of blocks; it consists of digital information (the blocks) stored in a public database (the chain).
You can try and envision it as an encrypted and verified Google Document that is accessible to other people. Each entry in the document depends on a logical relationship to all its predecessors and is agreed upon by everyone in the network.
Now, only one question remains – what is blockchain used for exactly? Is it only the fuel behind cryptocurrencies? Well, not really. We bring you the emerging real-world blockchain applications and uses across different industries.
5 Emerging Blockchain Uses and Applications
Blockchain is an excellent solution for international payments and money transfers. It can ensure the creation of a tamper-proof log of sensitive activity. Back in 2018, Banco Santander launched the first blockchain-based money transfer service in the world called “Santander One Pay FX.”
The service allows its customers to make same-day or next-day international payments and money transfers. Since the entire process is automated on the blockchain, the number of intermediaries required in these transactions was reduced to a minimum. This makes the whole process much more efficient and straightforward.
Blockchain technology can be even applied to real estate. The average homeowner sells their home every five to seven years. That means an average person will move approximately 12 times during their life.
Implementing blockchain in the real estate market would be of great use. It could expedite home sales by quickly verifying finances, reducing fraud due to the encryption, and providing transparency throughout the entire process. Propertiq already started implementing solutions to remove property ownership hassles, such as the middlemen between investors and real-estate.
Incorporating blockchain-based systems into capital markets would result in significant improvements. According to a McKinsey report, blockchain offers excellent solutions to capital markets such as faster clearing and settlement, operational improvements, and consolidated audit trail.
In 2013, a startup called Axoni was founded. The company creates blockchain-based solutions specifically for capital market improvement. Recently, Axoni announced the launch of a distributed ledger network to manage equity swap transactions. The network will enable both sides of an equity to be synchronized and to be able to communicate changes in real time.
Record & Identity Management
National, state, and local governments are in charge of keeping people’s records such as birth and death certificates, marital status, or even property transfers. Managing all this data can be quite tedious and challenging, especially since some of the records exist only in paper form. And, when an individual wants to make a change, they have to go to their local government offices. This process is quite time-consuming and unnecessary.
If blockchain technology were applied to this sector, record-keeping would be much simpler and the data would be more secure. The same can be applied to identity management. Advocates of blockchain tech for identity management claim that people would only need to provide minimum info (e.g., date of birth) as proof of their identities once there is enough information on the blockchain.
Blockchain technology is already used by some media companies to eliminate fraud, reduce costs, and even protect Intellectual Property (IP) rights of content, such as music records. As MarketWatch reports, the global market for blockchain in the entertainment industry should reach $1.54 billion by 2024.
Eluvio, Inc. is known for leveraging blockchain in the media sector. The company uses this technology to enable content producers to manage and distribute premium video to consumers and business partners without content delivery networks.
While blockchain is far from perfect, it certainly has plenty of real-world applications. Besides the ones that we mentioned, blockchain can also be applied in many other sectors as well, such as healthcare and taxes. The technology can also be leveraged for cybersecurity, data storage, and IoT (Internet of Things). There is no doubt that once the technology becomes more implemented, the common practices in many sectors will be transformed, leading to a more convenient and more straightforward execution of various tasks.