Industries that blockchain can change
A common misconception that many newcomers to the blockchain world adhere to is that the potential of this technology is limited to the modernization of the banking and financial industries. However, cryptocurrencies and tokens can be considered not only as money, but as tools. The blockchain technology that underlies them has potential in many other areas, and not just as a means of sharing and maintaining value.
The application of this technology in areas such as supply chain management, fashion and journalism is the result of blockchain flexibility. The nature of the platform can be programmed to suit different needs. The sooner investors realize this, the sooner they will see how it can be applied in various industries, and the sooner they will be able to assess the real growth potential.
We will look at 24 industries in which the blockchain will be able to revolutionize.
1. Financial services
Undoubtedly, the financial industry is the most popular application and starting line for cryptocurrency in the global economy. The problem with today’s banking systems, as sophisticated as their predecessors decades ago, is that they do not care about the convenience of customers and put unfair price tags on their services. Alas, banking in the world today is absolutely necessary. People are forced into bad deals. And billions of the world’s inhabitants do not have access to banks.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain can fix this situation. Thanks to a smartphone and an Internet connection, everyone will be able to store and transfer funds, receive payments and start their own business. With incorruptible accounting and the lack of centralized control, financial services on the blockchain will return power to the hands of ordinary people, offering them simple solutions without having to pay commissions to intermediaries. Representatives of the banking industry do not hide the fact that the infrastructure of intermediaries is now ‘eating up’ up to $ 20 billion, which could be saved.
Bitcoin is a pioneer in this field. The fact that he made a stir in the banking sector, they even say in the news. Ripple acts differently: the company seeks to cooperate with banks, and not to supplant them. Ripple has attracted attention due to partnerships with many large banks. Ripple focuses on the ability to make large cross-border payments at an incredible speed, and this makes the company a true innovator.
Another cryptocurrency worth watching in this space is OmiseGo. This platform, based on Ethereum, has a very clear goal: to offer a full range of financial and payment services to any person. So, many third world citizens do not have their own bank account. The secondary goal of this platform is to help people switch from fiat to cryptocurrencies.
The publishing industry can also take advantage of decentralization.
Today, this industry is largely controlled by a small group of publishers. It may be difficult for an unknown writer to release his work: he has to depend on the whims of monopoly publishers. Online publications, of course, help novice writers find their audience, but there is still not enough opportunity to release and distribute a “normal” book.
Platforms like Authorship are designed to change the current system, where power is concentrated in the hands of publishers, through the use of a tokenized system that recognizes the work of any author. Publishers can choose books for publication in digital or ‘paper’ form, focusing on the quality of the manuscript. The system ensures that authors receive fair payment. Writers can be published without the help of publishers. The system also welcomes translators whose work can be published and paid.
The bottom line is that in any mechanisms involving financial support from one side to the other, the blockchain can ensure fair interaction.
3. Apartments for rent / real estate
Long-term rental housing is a natural and reasonable choice for the younger generation. However, finding a house or apartment, interacting with realtors, sometimes making a predatory deposit and trying to adapt to the opaque rules of home ownership can be a painful experience. Young working adults are desperate for a solution that will make these processes easier, more efficient and exclude third parties from them.
Young minds behind Rentberry, a blockchain-based rental platform, have personally faced many challenges: outdated resources for selecting real estate, deposits that cannot be received back, wars between realtors and endless bureaucracy.
The Rentberry platform uses smart contracts to facilitate the search and rental of housing. Directly connecting landlords with tenants, the service eliminates realtors and their commissions. It is easier for potential tenants and landlords to communicate directly with each other, make decisions, establish financial conditions, and timely payments guarantee the automatic nature of smart contracts.
Like Rentberry, Atlant uses smart contracts that are responsible for ensuring that neither side can cheat. Atlant focuses more on buying and selling real estate. Sellers can place their property assets on the blockchain and, when the audit is completed, the value of the property will be tokenized. Then the property accepts the status of PTO – property token offers, buyers can inspect it and subsequently buy it. Also, tokens of this particular purchase can be placed on a decentralized exchange.
Beetoken is another real estate project. It aims to create a p2p network that brings homeowners and travelers together – like Airbnb, but on the blockchain. Users go through the KYC procedure (“know your customer”), which guarantees the security of all participants in the system. Services such as Airbnb are faced with the problem of fake reviews, and the blockchain can easily deal with it.
Health is the foundation of any national economy. In the United States, this sector makes up one fifth of the economy, approximately $ 3.8 trillion. Unfortunately, the industry is difficult to modernize globally: obsolete processes, data management systems and infrastructure hinder this.
Patient data is an important part of the medical field. The blockchain will provide safe data storage and access to it, so that you can carry out effective diagnostics. In addition, the blockchain will help medicine collaborate with related industries, such as insurance. ICON (ICX) is working to create an ecosystem where such intersectoral collaboration can take place.
Patientory, a project that raised over $ 7 million in ICOs over three days, aims to improve the healthcare sector and offers a secure space for storing and managing data. His audience is patients and healthcare providers. Patients can easily access their data and pass them on to service providers, without revealing all the information about their health, but only what is necessary. Organizations, in turn, will benefit from cheaper, safer, and more efficient record storage.
DokChain is committed to providing cheaper and more efficient patient data processing solutions. The company is developing a platform for several industries at once, including insurance.
Gem and Tierion are two more blockchain projects working in the healthcare sector.
As in the publishing industry, the music industry has an unfair situation where major labels dictate their own rules. Musicians often complain that streaming services take away most of their earnings by paying them a mere penny. Unfortunately, this is so, but the point of no return has already been passed. Streaming is the way to the future, but we need modern composers and performers to receive fair rewards.
Most of the revenue from selling and playing music goes to record companies. Therefore, some musicians release their albums on their own, exclusively for fans. Tom York and Nine Inch Nails released their albums on p2p networks, and Björk even allowed fans to pay cryptocurrency for her Utopia album. In addition, an increasing number of players in this field are beginning to accept cryptocurrency in their online stores.
Blockchain allows fans to interact directly with their favorite musicians in an efficient and safe way. Two successful blockchain startups work in this space: Mycelia and Ujo Music.
The Mycelia project is able to support musicians in several ways at once. Singer Imogen Heap, who founded this startup, wrote in Harvard Business Review that blockchain can license copyrighted music in a way that is suitable for both the license applicant and the musician. A notable element of the Mycelia platform is the “creative passport”, which contains information about the musician, his works and dates of the tour. On the one hand, it is too reminiscent of a social network, on the other – the dissemination of such information is useful for musicians.
Ujo Music also received support from Imogen Hip. This project has a “Creator Portal”, where musicians can publish, license their works and receive rewards in ETH. The platform also helps musicians gain access to the audience, find interested listeners. Voise, a platform that focuses on streaming, works in a similar way.
6. Supply chain management
There are many challenges in this industry, most of which are related to costs and inefficient provision of retailers. This market is valued at hundreds of billions of dollars and should grow as demand increases in proportion to an increase in the purchasing power of the population.
However, the industry is facing many obstacles. Fuel costs are constantly increasing, which makes transportation more expensive. Overproduction of products consumes precious resources, such as water and electricity, and also occupies storage space, and ultimately the excess becomes hazardous waste. This is an industry whose miscalculations affect the ecology of our planet.
Smart contracts offer a potential solution to this problem. Imagine that such a large-scale industry as the automotive industry will use a system in which cars will be produced only when a fixed number of requests are received.
With the help of smart contracts, it is possible to make manufacturers start releasing goods only after a certain number of orders have been received. This would eliminate concerns about the reassessment of demand and consumption of resources and could exclude intermediaries by directly connecting consumers to producers.
VeChain and ShipChain are two blockchain projects that want to transform this industry.
VeChain is committed to creating a business ecosystem that will become autonomous and self-developing. The use of NFC chips to counter theft and fraud has gained recognition in the alcohol and tobacco markets, and VeChain has partnered with China’s National Research Advisory Center (NRCC) in this area. The project also shows interest in automobiles, retail, agriculture, logistics, food and medicine.
ShipChain, with its platform, is committed to similar goals. Track and Trace technology is designed to track the path of the product from the manufacturer to the end user. This allows small carriers to work independently of each other and successfully compete with industry giants. ShipChain also incentivizes operators, rewarding them for efficient transport routes and timely deliveries.
The need for decentralized management systems is almost obvious. In many parts of the world, and even in the United States, which have long been considered the gold standard of democracy, power manipulates voting results, distorting them in favor of some parties or even individuals. The principle of “one person, one vote” in political voting systems, where the future of peoples and the whole world is shaped, is critically important.
Startup Democracy Earth has developed a p2p management protocol for organizations. Budgeting takes place in cryptocurrency, all processes are controlled by smart contracts, and only you, the voter, have access to your information. Those in power will act more accurately and responsibly, bearing in mind the transparent nature of the blockchain.
Horizon State’s management-focused voting solution. The platform allows you to instantly process voices at a much lower cost than existing systems. Platform tokens are used as “gas” for voting and other services, including for financing election campaigns.
Boule is another voting platform, and its goals are similar to those pursued by the creators of Democracy Earth and Horizon State.
8. Internet of things
Along with blockchain and artificial intelligence, the Internet of things is another technological innovation that is gradually transforming our reality. In fact, it is the Internet connecting all devices. Soon we will live in a world where our smartphones ‘talk’ with our refrigerators and cars.
Naturally, such a system is fraught with potential security problems. In addition, the amount of information that will be processed promises to be unprecedented. Blockchain can help in this situation.
It is necessary that the blockchain facilitate the processing of this data stream without the need for a strict centralized system, and also ensure the security of data in an encrypted format. The pioneers in this niche are Waltonchain and IOTA (the latter uses directional acyclic graphs, not blockchain).
The Waltonchain team combines RFID technology with blockchain and the Internet of things and forms what it calls the “value of the Internet of things”. Its participants believe that the new business system will develop where logistics, manufacturing, retail and infrastructure can safely exchange data. Thanks to RFID technology, the system will also provide product tracking and asset ownership.
IOTA’s goal is to become a practical, feasible way for machines to interact with each other. The following example will help describe this best: imagine driving a car registered on the IOTA network when entering a toll road. When you enter it, the car contacts the service and automatically transfers funds. We live in a world that is increasingly dependent on machines, so you can imagine the potential of a system that automatically performs these processes.
Hurify is another project in the Internet of Things space, the goal of which is to stimulate industry growth. The platform allows developers to find IoT development tasks, complete them and receive rewards. Clients can find suitable candidates for their IoT projects and reduce overall industry costs.
Samsung and IBM are working together on IoT projects as part of a blockchain initiative called ADEPT.
9. Cloud / distributed computing
Computing power is quickly becoming a basic need, such as electricity and the Internet. Many of the tasks that we solve today for scientific purposes and for entertainment require significant computing power. The trouble is that this requires resources that are available only to large corporations.
The distributed nature of the blockchain is changing the picture, allowing people around the world to use the computing power of conventional computers to perform intensive computing tasks. Golem Network is working on just that, letting people lease out unused resources, such as bandwidth and computing power, to other members who can use them to visualize CGI and do scientific calculations.
SONM, or Networkcompany’s Supercomputer Organized, has similar goals using similar tools. This project will allow users to offer their unoccupied computing resources for other people’s computing. SONM is suitable for processing complex video and for scientific processes such as DNA analysis.
Elastic is another project from this area that you should pay attention to. This is an open source p2p platform that runs in ElasticPL.
The authors of the article consider this to be a particularly important case of using the blockchain potential. In a world where computers are involved in almost every type of activity, it can give less financially privileged entities the opportunity to compete with corporate giants.
When concluding insurance contracts, as well as when awarding insurance payments, the data of the insured person is checked. These processes still cause many difficulties.
InsureX (IXT) promotes itself as an alternative insurance market. There are many intermediaries in the insurance market, which makes approving insurance a lengthy and expensive process. This process is inefficient and lacks simplicity. The goal of InsureX is to encourage new business models, increase transaction speed and insurance approval, reduce risk through better access to data and improve the quality of customer service.
Etherisc is an insurance platform that focuses on decentralized applications. She already has several working dumps, including crop insurance, social security, and flight delay insurance. Crop insurance protects the insured party from the effects of drought or floods, social insurance is similar to life insurance, and travel delay insurance compensates for the costs that travelers often incur. These products will develop a market for insurance risks and services.
For this purpose, machine learning can be integrated with smart contracts, as SafeShare did. This project has partnered with the Vrumi platform to protect homeowners from damage caused by tenants. SafeShare uses MetroGnoma, an open source temporary storage service, to verify claims in real time.
Charitable organizations promise to spend the donations they receive to support their wards and implement certain projects. However, it often happens that the funds are used inefficiently or even stolen.
The ability of the blockchain to transparently demonstrate transactions makes it ideal for use in charity. The public, donating their hard-earned money, can see how these donations are spent.
There are several blockchain initiatives in this niche. Alice is a project that aims to help social organizations associated with cash using its blockchain platform. Giveth is an ethereum-based open source platform that is similar to Alice but also has a LiquidPledging mechanism. In this case, donations through delegation are supported. AidCoin is another platform that aims to make charitable donations more transparent and effective.
12. Blockchain as a service
Software is the basis of any computing device, from a smartphone to a personal computer. Modular systems help developers create more and more software for different needs.
Stratis offers complete solutions for software development, simplifying its testing and deployment on the blockchain. The project has its own academy where you can learn how to work with blockchain. In essence, this is the Software-as-a-Service platform (software as a service), which provides blockchain utilities to its users.
Applications used on Stratis platforms are written in C #. The team chose this language because it is popular in business applications and is easy to maintain. The idea behind Stratis is to provide organizations with a quick and reliable way to create a blockchain. Developing your own blockchain from scratch would be much more expensive.
Ardor is another major player in this space. It uses NXT platform technology to create child chains. The architecture of the parent and daughter chains of the project allows enterprises to create products on blockchains with settings for the needs of the project that are safe and easy to use.
Affiliate chains can use either their own Ardor tokens, or others at the discretion of the owner of the chain. A child chain supports many functions and is a simple and affordable alternative to creating your own blockchain from scratch.
Encrypted communication channels are gaining popularity, which brings good money to those who are able to provide them. Take a look at Telegram. More and more messaging systems such as Slack, Kik and Telegram are conducting ICOs to create their own blockchains. Given the size of the user base, they can count on attracting huge funds.
In this space, there are several new participants who do not have a user base outside the cryptocurrency system community. Crypviser is one of them. Built on the Ethereum blockchain and integrated into the communications platform, the Mercury Protocol provides security in communication.
14. Digital identity management
Digital media has become the main way to store data. They are more convenient and have less impact on the environment. Alas, they are not safe. In recent years, there have been many cyber attacks that have compromised the personal data of millions of people.
Blockchain is the perfect solution to this problem. SelfKey, an identification network based on this technology, allows users – both individuals and companies – to control and manage their identity. The platform will connect users with utilities and other organizations requesting personal information, such as bank accounts, place of residence and citizenship. The provision of these services and data verification will be supported using the KEY token.
This project has several competitors, including Civic and TheKey.
Civic provides multi-factor authentication through its platform and the use of biometric data. The identification data stored on your phone can be used to securely access various services. Civic partners include Jaxx, Lykke, WikiHow, BitGo, TokenMarket, etc.
TheKey functions in a similar way; He has a multi-stage authentication tool that securely stores personal data on the blockchain so that you can subsequently use them to access various services.
15. Digital advertising
Digital advertising is a powerful revenue-generating market and will continue to grow in the coming years. This is the main form of advertising in an era when people spend more time on their phones and laptops than in front of a TV or reading a newspaper.
As has always been the case with advertising, it is primarily those who have the most money who can attract and influence the audience. Now this leads to a situation where users are bombarded with repeated inappropriate ads on each site. Their data is collected and used for further “bombing”. And the creators of the content on whose pages the ads are spinning receive a meager pay.
The BAT token aims to make the system fairer for content creators. It will allow users to finance their favorite authors by subscribing to them, and as a result, they will get wider access to advertisers.
We heard a lot about blockchain as a destroyer of financial systems. This also applies to lending.
Blockmason – a project creating a credit platform – seeks to pass through the blockchain credit flow, estimated globally at $ 5 trillion. He plans to use the Ethereum blockchain to manage loans using smart contracts.
WeTrust is a platform that allows friends and families to pool their money in a process traditionally called ROSCA. This process allows people to stay with more funds after the end of the credit period than they had before, but banks also retain a significant share of interest income. WeTrust excludes any third party, so the winnings of the participants are even greater. WeTrust provides a reputation system to ensure that no one will give up their obligations.
The PayPie project offers risk assessment algorithms based on an enterprise accounting system. Small businesses are constantly undergoing such checks, and PayPie seeks to occupy this attractive niche.
17. Forecasting / trading
Trading in the stock market is a delicate matter. Dealing with the purchase and sale of shares is more difficult than we would like. Blockchain is able to facilitate this process and make it less costly. The tZERO project is trying to engage it in online stock trading. This will reduce transaction processing time and costs and make the process more transparent.
Augur is a forecast market that is capable of more than just forecasting in the stock market. Users can ask questions about the outcome of a future event, as well as buy and sell shares based on indicators of the markets where they want to participate.
Stox is an ethereum-based open source forecast market where ‘users can make their own forecasts to generate their own share of the profits from a particular event.’ This project is actively promoting its marketplace, although in general it differs little from Augur.
Gnosis functions similarly to the aforementioned platforms, and users receive Olympia tokens after successful predictions.
The energy industry also suffers from intermediaries. Blockchain technology can change this, allowing individuals to buy and sell energy through smart contracts. The energy used by individuals in households can form microgrids, making communities more resilient to power outages and lowering environmental costs.
That’s what LO3 Energy, developing Microgrid Brooklyn, does. Company representatives say they want to rethink how energy can be generated, stored, traded and shared.
Power Ledger calls itself the world’s first commercial blockchain platform for trading electricity. Users can trade electricity directly with each other and receive payments in real time. Interestingly, users can sell the energy they create with their solar panels. Any excess capacity that may seem inconsequential can be sold for money.
Grid + works with artificial intelligence to explore your energy consumption and purchase patterns. This platform includes a hardware unit. An intelligent energy agent based on artificial intelligence has access to many energy markets and also receives information about additional energy from solar panels.
19. The labor market
Some time ago, employment systems have changed. Studies have shown that employees now focus not only on salaries: they want a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home. Employers began to notice that the mentality of employees has changed and very different things do them happy, while researchers noted that the best employees are happy employees.
There are more and more freelancers around us. Although professionalism has grown on both sides, trust remains a challenge because it is currently difficult to verify the quality of remote work. Blocklancer wants to change that. This is essentially an independent portal where clients and freelancers can interact. Thanks to the power of smart contracts, both parties are confident that the cooperation will be mutually beneficial. This is just another portal for freelancers, but with a guarantee of payment and work.
The fishing industry is the main source of livelihood in developing countries, and more than 500 million people are involved. It remains a vital part of the economy, but faces growing challenges from pressure from environmentalists and regulators. In such a situation, when both sides have convincing arguments in support of their innocence, the blockchain can help to reach a compromise.
Overfishing poses a serious threat to the environment, and more than 30% of global fishing companies have already exceeded safe catch levels, resulting in permanent damage to ecosystems. Species such as Atlantic bluefin tuna disappear. It also affects communities whose incomes depend on the fish population.
In international waters, there are many rules governing fisheries. Many violate these rules, causing hardly both ecology and economy. Illegal fishing costs tens of millions of dollars. Even worse: the illegal fishing industry supports slave labor.
The use of blockchain in this industry can solve two types of problems: those faced by people who earn their living by fishing, and those who are protected by environmentalists.
WWF is partnering with ConsenSys and SeaQuest Fiji to implement a blockchain system with which consumers can verify that the fish they buy is legally caught.
Provenance UK has also used smart fish tags to test social standards. She even conducted a six-month pilot program to measure the effectiveness of the blockchain for this purpose. Extensive research has shown that this technology will be very relevant in Indonesia, which accounts for 30% of the world’s illegal fishing. The company’s approach is to stimulate fishermen through a system that will allow them to legally engage in their activities.
The Stratis project we mentioned earlier teamed up with Earth Twine to bring blockchain into the seafood industry. Earth Twine, like Provenance, is fighting illegal fishing, but with particular attention to adhering to the standards of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The role of Stratis is to integrate blockchain, applications and tokens with Earth Twine’s seafood tracking system.
21. Hedge funds
Today, hedge fund assets are about $ 3 trillion. These organizations operate in a wide variety of markets and provide large rewards at high risk levels. In the current hedge fund system, a limited number of investors pool their funds. High commissions, disagreements in the group, far from perfect transparency and low liquidity are the main problems that investors face when interacting with hedge funds.
Blockchain can solve all these problems (by the way, hedge funds are flourishing in the volatile cryptocurrency market). The decentralized nature of the technology allows many investors to agree through a voting system, placing their investments and coordinating their interests. Analysts can provide their analysis, tools and strategies for the market, which will then be used to make a profit. Projects such as the Alpha Protocol are doing this.
Numerai also uses decentralization to stimulate hedge funds using Numeraire’s own tokens. An outstanding aspect of the project is its emphasis on machine learning and data analysis (his team even runs weekly research tournaments). Data from stock markets is available on the platform, and specialists can use it to create high-yield strategies.
Like the two projects mentioned above, Quantopian also encourages users to write investment algorithms that can subsequently be used under license. Authors will receive payment depending on the effectiveness of these algorithms.
22. Taxi / car sharing
Recently, much has been said about Uber’s monopoly. Most likely, you came across a Uber driver who is clearly processing to ensure a decent income. Earnings are disproportionately distributed in favor of the company, and drivers have to make too many trips to have a decent salary. A decentralized system can change that.
Imagine a system in which each driver can set his own tariff, offer additional services like delivery and receive payments in various ways. This is what Arcade City is trying to do with its platform. Unlike Uber, here the driver takes the entire amount received from the client, since there is no intermediary.
Drivers can also join unions and work on a larger scale, which will allow them to better reach their hometown and build confidence in the platform. They can also create a list of regular customers that they can count on for regular income. And customers will have a driver whom they can trust. The entire platform is built around a community idea.
California startup Chasyr is trying to do the same. However, Arcade City seems to have the advantage of a more serious platform and a distinct roadmap.
23. Cryptocurrency exchanges
Paradox: An industry promoting the idea of decentralization makes the most of its profits from trading on central exchanges. Hackers managed to steal huge amounts from centralized trading platforms, and to prevent this from happening, a safe solution is required. Nowadays, decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges (DEX) from such well-known brands as ICON, Stellar and Waves are starting to appear.
In the case of DEX, there is no third party, and the coins are always under the control of the owner. These sites suffer from the same shortcomings as blockchains, but we know that over time, technologies cope with their problems.
Enigma, a project supported by MIT alumni and researchers, offers an off-chain solution to scalability and privacy. Catalyst Decentralized Exchange is an investment platform for cryptocurrency funds. Other prominent decentralized exchanges are NEX and OmiseGO.
24. Human resources / staff recruitment
Unauthorized access repositories that securely store personal data while making it easy to provide access to it make the blockchain ideal for use in areas such as HR, where verifying employee data usually takes a lot of time and resources. This will make HR work more efficient and optimize processes related to personnel.
ChronoBank connects blockchain to recruitment. Recruiters can simply list their requirements, and anyone who is willing to provide the appropriate skills or services can apply for a job and get paid in tokens. Payment will depend on how much time an employee spends.
Although this may seem similar to the projects that we mentioned in the “Labor Market” section, ChronoBank is more oriented towards the recruiting industry as such, helping HR specialists to hire employees.
Blockchain technologies are in the early stages of development, and industry insiders are still pondering how to use them most effectively. The prospects for the blockchain, perhaps, are similar to how the fate of applications for smartphones evolved.
Initially, such applications were not popular, but the developers realized that they would be able to satisfy a wide variety of needs – the only question is proper programming. And so it happened: now everyone uses them, and individual developers were able to achieve what is usually available only to larger groups of programmers with serious resources.
The innovations brought by the blockchain will make the world more democratic. The blockchain can create a new space where individuals and small enterprises will be able to compete with the corporate giants, which so far dominate due to their financial capabilities. And this applies to all the sectors we have examined and to some of those that remain behind the scenes.