Blockchain technology is closely related to cryptocurrency, but crypto is far from the only application for this tech. If you look around the world, you will notice numerous use cases for blockchain tech. Many companies and innovators worldwide already use blockchain to enhance previous technologies or systems. There are even more use cases currently being developed, many of which have the potential to change the world. The following are just 10 of these world-changing use cases, not counting cryptocurrency.
No discussion of blockchain applications would be complete without discussing smart contracts. These are an improvement upon traditional contracts as they allow for secure digital transactions that can be executed automatically. As smart contracts grow in popularity, they will likely become accessible. This can reduce the need for intermediaries, which improves the security of the contract while also reducing costs and time spent.
Being able to prove your identity is already necessary for a range of daily interactions from banking to traveling. The blockchain can provide a digital identity that is immutable and resistant to hackers. With the proper use of blockchain-based digital identities, people would no longer need to submit heaps of paperwork to verify their identity since everything would already be in the blockchain. The digital identity would also never be at risk from disasters, meaning you will not lose valuable identifying documents in a fire. The use of digital identities is particularly helpful for refugees who have lost crucial IDs as they flee from danger.
It is no secret that there is not a consensus on a secure method of voting that does not pose a fraud risk, especially if this is done electronically. Blockchain can revolutionize this due to its immutable nature. Thanks to that immutability, it would be impossible to delete or alter votes. It would also be impossible to vote for someone else or double vote. The use of blockchain could also speed up the process of counting votes since it would do so automatically.
In addition to storing digital identity information, the blockchain can be used to securely store healthcare-related information. This resolves the current issue of patient data being stored in various institutions that do not interact with each other or share data. As a result, patients have to spend a great deal of time filling out records when they switch doctors, potentially missing key information. The blockchain can store everything in a secure manner that protects it from hackers via encryption, and also eliminate inefficiencies related to storing and sharing that information among doctors.
One area where there is a great deal of enthusiasm about blockchain’s potential is supply chain management. Supply chain management traditionally lacks transparency, but blockchain can resolve this by giving multiple parties access to an immutable database. All transactions in the database are immutable and have time stamps for an audit trail. Blockchain can do more than just improve transparency in supply chains; it can also reduce theft and counterfeits as well as reducing paperwork, lowering costs, and improving regulatory compliance. This can also help reduce the risk of fine art forgery and improve food safety.
In addition to cryptocurrency, blockchain tech can also be used to tokenize other types of assets, including traditional ones that are known for being illiquid. Examples include art, residential or commercial real estate, small businesses, and more. The tokenization of this type of asset may not seem like a big deal at first, but it has far-reaching implications. With the tokenization, it will become possible for those with less capital, such as retail investors, to begin investing in those assets. It also allows for increased diversification of assets and improved liquidity.
Blockchain technology can also be incredibly useful when it comes to the energy market, decentralizing this market. Traditionally, a handful of companies control the energy market, but this is no longer necessary with blockchain. The tech can meter electricity produced via solar panels owned by individuals. It can then let people trade and settle these transactions. By making it possible to trade electricity like other amenities via the blockchain, the prices could respond to market demands, reducing costs while also improving efficiency.
The use cases of blockchain also extend to the gaming industry. There is a rise of microtransactions and in-game purchases, which means more people have multiple digital items, from games to skins to expansion packs. But they can lose access if a hacker steals items or something happens to the game’s servers. Incorporating the blockchain can give gamers true control over their items, letting them own in-game purchases outright and transfer them without the risk of theft or replications.
Fundraising Transparency and Simplicity
Those who need to fundraise, such as charities and non-profits or even for-profit companies, could find many benefits in doing so via the blockchain. The blockchain already allows for initial coin offerings, which make it possible for the average person to invest in cryptocurrency instead of limiting it to high-net-worth individuals. This could extend to other organizations, such as charities, who want to be able to offer a transparent trail of donations and transactions that is auditable to reduce fraud.
Yet another useful application of blockchain technology is the ability to utilize distributed cloud storage. In the last few years, there has been a rapid growth in the use of cloud storage, but this comes with its own complications. What happens if the company you use to store your files closes? Or their servers go offline? You would lose access to your files. Or a hacker could gain access. The blockchain could eliminate these issues with distributed cloud storage since it is stored in multiple servers. This way, if one server has a temporary or permanent issue, the data is not lost. Distributed storage is also harder for hackers to get into.
The applications of blockchain technology will only continue to grow as more people come up with innovative projects. In addition to all of the above use cases, there are blockchain projects working to protect endangered species, help refugees, collect taxes, boost computer security, track automotive history, and more. The use cases are limitless, so there is no telling what the future will hold.