Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you couldn’t help but notice this word “blockchain” all over the fintech ecosystem. Surely this brainchild of cryptocurrency creators is creating quite a buss buzz. But the best thing is that major corporations are listening and taking notes.
Cryptocurrencies may still suffer from all sorts of childhood illnesses, but the rock on which crypto cash is built — the blockchain — is rapidly emerging into new niches to become useful beyond digital currency ecosystem.
In fact, blockchain is evolving from a Bitcoin supporting platform into a revolution-breeding force of its own, as more and more industries realise the competition-rocking potential of this new technology. Every day brings new business cases how blockchain helps to resolve previously unchallenged business issues, whether or not it’s disruption-ready fintech or such orthodox industries as education, legal, or pharmaceuticals.
This innovative technology is quickly proving to be useful in bringing much-needed technological disruption to the enterprise world by enriching the customer experience and building trust that helps to verify all kinds of transactions, with key features include transparency of management of digital assets, security, and decentralisation. Thanks to an open source, blockchain technology can be used to enhance a variety of industries and is currently widely adopted by finance and banking industries, but the distributed ledger system is not limited to these areas only. If you are curious to implement blockchain in your next project, let’s discuss the least obvious (but nonetheless the most powerful) uses where distributed ledger, especially when powered with the smart contract, has made a foray:
Blockchain in Banking and Finance
Many of the largest financial corporations today are competing on their way to use distributed ledger in verifying financial transactions everywhere from payments issuing in, loans, processing mortgages, or to replace tellers with AI-powered bots. The finance and investment banking industries will be always the lookout for a digitized and secured environment so that it can serve as a critical storehouse and transfer hubs of value. Many banks have taken up this new technology including the largest and most powerful banks including UBS, Deutsche Bank and Barclays. In fact, 9 out of 10 finance executives said their bank is currently exploring blockchain’s potential, its consensus mechanism, chain core, and smart contracts.
Another great benefit of distributed ledger is that such platforms with a pluggable consensus model can provide financial services to anyone on the part of the world, including people in developing countries who may not have the access to traditional banking services and cannot afford the rates required to make large transactions. This technology has the potential of making major breakthroughs in nearly all major industries that are usually manipulated by major banks.
Blockchain in Education
Blockchain technology in education can do lots of things, from verifying diplomas and certifications to applying school grades, and even managing scholarships. Blockchain allows the scholarship system to be less detrimental to needy students who end up dropping out or accruing a lot of debt that causes them to work for many years just to pay off student loans. Thanks to distributed ledger technology, education credential is to be handled more efficiently worldwide which will reduce the risk of bogus job applications while speeding up the education process for foreign applicants.
Blockchain in Retail
Blockchain products in traditional retail and e-commerce help to reduce bottlenecks in business and production processes, such as settlement hassles. According to the latest survey, 82% of respondents in the retail industry agreed — the network of distributed ledgers would bring cost savings for their company of more than 2.5% by streamlining operations and automating manual tasks.
Blockchain in Healthcare
Blockchain technology improves security, privacy and application value of sensitive health data by keeping the patient-centered clinical trial ecosystem in place. Distributed ledger provides a new model for health information exchanges (HIE) by making electronic medical records (EMRs) more secure and still ready to use.
Adoption of distributed ledger technology could add trillions in savings to the global economy. In these early days, some platforms resemble replacements for middleman services, while others are truly decentralized. In any case, with greater adoption, distributed ledger will heavily disrupt the way global businesses settle deals each day by giving them a path to remove bloated costs and overheads.
Here are 5 interesting blockchain platforms to keep your eye on in 2018 with useful links to get started:
1. Raiden Network
One of the biggest obstacles when using Ethereum both as a cryptocurrency platform or to develop dApps is its slowness. At the time of writing, Ethereum could process 10 transactions per second while Visa can process more than 2,000. Creators of Raiden networks were the first to remove the bulk of speed-reducing transactions off the ledger so that the blockchain worked more like a connection between this off-ledger transaction. As a result, the processing speed greatly increased which allows the Raiden Network to scale more confidently atop Ethereum. Another benefit of Raiden is that it allows creating peer-to-peer transaction channels which mean that once established and verified in distributed ledger it doesn’t need to be established and verified once again. This could be useful in supply chain management, Big Data management in clinical studies and large scientific projects, and even establishing trusted peer-to-peer channels between suppliers and distributors in the retail chain.
2. GRAFT Universal Payment System
With the aim of bringing cryptocurrencies to all coffee shops around the world, GRAFT payment network eliminates most of the obstacles for the average retailer to accept cryptocurrencies. Built atop of Ethereum and running on a blockchain of GPU-powered “supernodes”, GRAFT removes the main issues that prevent cryptocurrencies from going to the masses. First of all, the instant settlement is made possible thanks to pre-settled number of nodes that process transactions which shorten the time of verifying a Bitcoin (or any altcoin) transaction from minutes or hours to mere seconds. The second benefit is the compatibility of GRAFT with most point of sale terminals which is certainly a boost for the average pharmacist who doesn’t want to hire his own IT guy. The fee structure is also more attractive to existing solutions where both the seller and the buyer have to pay fees, and with this new blockchain only the seller (or the retailer) pay a small fee. The variety of transactions — even refunds are possible — in addition to decentralised nature, the anonymity and the massive amount of space to scale makes GRAFT the blockchain to watch in 2018 and beyond.
Freight management is a notoriously change-resistant industry due to the immense number of points where the change would have to be implemented worldwide to make even a small progress a success. With hundreds of thousands of independent operators, this results in millions of miscommunications that could be avoided, high fees that could be lower, and endless mistakes that either remain invisible to parties or cost very high. ShipChain hopes to bring order to freight and logistics as it aims to empower everyone involved with full transparency from point A to point B.
For the average eCommerce entrepreneur marketing is something left to agencies or that freelance student, and AI is something left to Facebook and Google. Triggmine, an intelligent AI-powered blockchain marketing solution, opens an affordable way for SMEs to manage their marketing campaigns with the help of AI. From offering the most open-worthy email subject to tailoring the message precisely to the finest segment of the audience, Triggmine replaces if not the full-scale marketing agency for the small business, then definitely its email manager. AI analyses the data from millions of data points suggest the most profitable offer, and with the help of smart contract ensures that the SME gets the results they paid for — or they don’t pay at all, while AI learns and makes the next campaign a true success.
This entertainment news generating distributed ledger platform replaces a PR manager for a celebrity as it ensures that the story gets published by thousands of news sources. What’s unsure about this platform is its stance towards fake news which unfortunately is a reality in today’s media climate. Thanks to AI element to it, RedPen is well-poised to avoid steering towards fake news stories but again the technological element can be easily manipulated for popular articles in celebrity niche.
Just ask Siri and Alexa how easy it could be to let AI solve your small problems, from closing the garage door to shopping for the best gifts for your relatives, best friends, and loved ones.
Token uses the power of AI to source thousands of brands to find the most appropriate gift for any occasion, and it promises to do it cheaper, quicker and more reliably. The blockchain platform helps precisely match the options to the initial criteria and offer matches as it continues to learn over time. It’s the excellent example how such a profoundly disruptive mechanism as blockchain can be leveraged to solve life’s simple dilemmas easily and without a huge investment on developer’s end.
And here are the industry-universal solutions that will surely find applications in many projects:
Domus Tower Blockchain: it was initially created for heavily regulated industries such as banking. Currently, this blockchain can process over a million of transactions every second.
HydraChain is built on top of Ethereum which can be used for further building blockchains for private and consortium chain, or corporate uses.
Hyperledger Fabric enables functioning of several networks each managing different categories of transactions and switching them between modules.
Hyperledger Sawtooth Lake is a modular distributed ledger suite where business logic transaction is separated from the consensus layer.
Multichain is a finance-oriented open-source blockchain platform running on Bitcoin blockchain which makes it especially suitable for processing asset trading. It operates similarly to OpenChain, another finance-focused blockchain for managing digital assets.
The impact of the blockchain concept is clear. Using blockchain technology, businesses could save trillions and deliver services faster. Specifically, they could:
- Eliminate the costs of proving transactions are legitimate from 3rd party services, saving trillions per year.
- Enable faster service by instantly verifying the terms of transactions, removing middlemen services like banks, governments and marketplaces. Deliver more securely, using the security built into the blockchain without further investment.
Some entrepreneurs do not even quite understand why to use blockchain and simply chase the trend. What is more, blockchain is not a guarantee of success. It is not a prerequisite for the ICO to use blockchain instead of a traditional database; it is just one of the possible approaches for your digital solution.
Do you also believe that decentralized ledger technology helps solve some of the world’s most complex problems? We have years of amazing change ahead of us before this market finally settles on a standard. Maybe it’s just a matter of months when many industries will become open to blockchain technology and start applying its power to predict future progress.