The blockchain is a collection of technologies, just like bricks used in a construction. You can choose different bricks to place them collectively in various forms to produce your desired construction results. Similar is the case with the blockchain technologies. Like the use cases of bricks are many, the blockchain application use cases are many.
Book-keeping through distributed ledger is an essential function of the blockchain. The major benefits of using blockchain technology lay in its elimination of mediators, easy use, verification of secure transactions, enhanced security, low-cost transparency, and decentralization. And the strongest protection is that the blockchain is immutable to the change of data once it is filed, and cannot be maneuvered.
Blockchain technology though hitherto used in the financial sector, experts believe it carries the power to promote the productivity and security of transactions and record keeping across a range of mainstream processes and organized businesses. However, Moody's Investors Service says experts widely acknowledged that extensive implementation of the technology is still away.
In its 2016 report “Credit Strategy — Blockchain Technology: Robust, Cost-effective Applications Key to Unlocking Blockchain's Potential Credit Benefits,” Moody’s identified about 120 ongoing blockchain use cases that many companies are evaluating ranging from finance to capital markets, healthcare to energy to government taxation, and investments to partnerships, and internal projects to industry collaborations. For example, blockchain can be used in the capital market to remove the necessity of reconciling different ledgers with an integrated blockchain among the members. Out of 120 use cases, Moody’s narrowed down to 25 top use cases.
Some of the blockchain application use cases can found in Cloud storage, smart contracts, social networking, anti-counterfeiting, governance, digital identification, supply chain, art and ownership, prediction markets and Internet of Things. Some of the use cases gaining momentum include digitization of documents and contracts, securely tracking data transfer in the works of Internet of Things, setting up security and trust in custodial and escrow accounts, distributed cloud repository, health care including patient care and documents, voter authentication and electronic polling, student authentication and cloud based training, verification of ownership, counterfeit prevention of digital resources, authenticated digital reputation, and brand evaluations, digital rights governance, promoting exchange and transactions of digital assets. We can know details of some of the use cases below.
The use of Blockchain as a technology application can help disruption of a range of products and services, where privacy, security, the trust of record keeping is the paramount key. The online business reputation of a company is vital to thrive and build trust among its customers. Review Centre, TrustPilot, Glass Door and other such websites have been since long known as significant media for new and existing users and potential workers to pick up feedback and reviews of companies from their consumers. At times, fake online reviews and feedback often become the curse for many companies. Such reviews, both positive and negative, can be self-generated by the companies themselves or by the competitors on a mission to undermine each other's reputation. Blockchain can find answers according to a GrowthPraxis report that discovered that the forged credibility of such reviews could soon become a thing of the past with the use of blockchain applications.
Use Cases Blockchain use cases include digital identities, passports, e-residency, birth certificates, wedding certificates, online account login, and IDs and so on. For example, ShoCard is a digital identity card developed by the blockchain start-up ShoCard, in partnership with a major IT firm that works with the airline industry, to use through a mobile app. ShoCard says it is an identity verification that works the way consumers and businesses need it for security, privacy, and always-on fraud protection, and so secure that a bank can rely on it.
Take your picture, and stamp it with encoded private and public key to make it legitimate and store on the ledger with a Bitcoin address having public IP to confirm by the users on the blockchain. The first digital passport appeared in 2014 on Github.
Birth, Wedding, and Death Certificates
The blockchain record keeping makes your certificates like birth, marriage and death reliable by encrypting them, thus empowering you to enable access your information. Personal Identification Blockchain digital ID replaces a variety of physical identifications such as computer passwords, driving license, social security ID and other identity cards. According to Fintech experts, you will be enabled to use one digital ID to sign with. This transparent record gets covered by an open source blockchain ledger.
Need to find a way to reduce your mortgage rate, and update your will with easy. The smart contracts can help you. These are digitally programmable and legally binding contracts introduced on the blockchain. These enforceable contracts are statements and variables that are capable of releasing funds with operating the Bitcoin structure as a 3rd party executor, instead of entrusting to one single authority. For instance, for exchanging a $100 bill by two individuals at a certain future time, it should meet a defined set of conditions. The smart contract programs such conditions, details of the parties involved and the payout. When the set defined conditions fulfilled, the release of funds takes place to the concerned party according to the terms. This is nothing but giving the control to the computer over the execution of contracts that make an unbiased legal system and productive business. One of the founders of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin said, “Smart contracts solve the problem of intermediary trust between parties to an agreement, whether that is between people transferring assets like gold, or executing decisions between two parties in a betting contract”. Programs like Ethereum are helping get the smart contract closer to existence. As data entered in the Blockchain is not susceptible to tampering, key contracts such as marriages are entered into the code form.
According to the critics, security is found out to be the biggest drawback for organizing online electoral polling. Using blockchain, a voter can ably verify if the vote was successfully transferred while still remaining anonymous to others. Liberal Alliance, a political party of Denmark, turned out to be the first party to use blockchain to vote in 2014. According to estoniaevoting.org, Estonia and Norway ran trials of e-voting systems in local and nationwide elections without much success, because of adopting less transparent procedures. Nevertheless, future is going to evolve blockchain technologies into the highest standard of transparency, when our governments and systems turn into more transparent.
Proof of Existence - Decentralized Notary
Argentina-based developer, Manuel Aráoz created Proof of Existence as a distributed system of verification that is a type of cryptographic notary services. He explained, “As the blockchain is a public database, it is a distributed sort of consensus; your document becomes certified in a distributed sort of way.” It establishes the existence of something at a certain time provable in a court. Proof of Existence enables a user to transfer data to a server with a transaction fee to get a cryptographic proof of the data entered on the Bitcoin blockchain. As the actual data is not stored online, there is no possibility of undesirable disclosure of the information of the user. Once the uploading of the document is completed with the transaction fee, a digital file or a hash of the document is developed as a proof of the action. This digital file or hash on the blockchain is displayed on the Proof of Existence website. This uses a similar structure like blockchain ledger to keep your file's proof that can be checked when an issue of authorship comes up. Manuel Aráoz further said, “Basically, by inserting the cryptographic hash of the document in a transaction, when that transaction is mined into a block, the block timestamp becomes the record’s timestamp." With this kind of proof of existence, you need not use a physical notarization.
Proof-of-origin in Supply Chain Link
Many items we buy are made with many components supplied by many vendors, like say TV which consists of a conglomerate of many components. The manufacturer compiles and retails the end product that is TV. If any component fails, the brand slips in the market, making many vendors in the supply chain responsible. But, blockchain is capable of providing digital and auditable records that can stay permanent, and reveal stakeholders the status of their components in the chain of each value-added step. SkuChain and Provenance Org show how to aim this.
Transparency in Music Royalties
The use of blockchain can help change musicians license and get paid their songs. The royalty system needs to work logically allowing the musicians to freely concentrate on their tunes and get paid if someone uses their tunes.
Asset management is one such field where the blockchain can leverage eliminating the custodian, broker or a settlement manager who is prone to inefficiency and errors in recording. The process of the blockchain ledger encrypting the records enables a reduction of the errors while simplifying the process.
Processing of Insurance Claims
Another field is Insurance Claims processing that is confronting unpleasant procedure. Most of the time the claim processors have to go through the fragmented records of data, or abandoned policies to name a few. A possibility of error is enormous. The blockchain enables a foolproof process for error-free administration and transparency. The encryption properties of the blockchain make insurance companies capture details of the asset ownership to insure.
Payments in the Cross-Border Trading
The field of cross-border payments is susceptible to errors and money laundering. The blockchain is already providing solutions to the remittance companies such as Bitspark, Align Commerce, and Abra offering blockchain driven remittance services. The banker, Santander turned as the first bank in 2004 to merge blockchain to a payment application permitting clients to do cross-border payment round-the- clock.
Money Lending for your Smart Property
The blockchain is capable to lessen bankruptcy chances and lose homes placed as a collateral in a loan. The blockchain enables a stranger to loan money to you against your smart property offered as a collateral encoded on the blockchain that is visible to anyone. This eliminates the need to show your work or credit history and the need for manually processing many documents.
Your car key and smartphone can function on cryptography to secure your ownership with the right protocol or a PIN code. The blockchain ledger can easily replace and reproduce a lost protocol transferring or copying the physically held SIM card or car key.
A Word in Conclusion
Moody’s opines that he track record of implementing blockchain on a grand scale in a controlled ecosystem is still insufficient and many barriers lay ahead before we witness the extensive use of the blockchain applications. However, the blockchain applications face challenges that include compatibility with the prevailing practices, improvement of codes and challenges with the regulatory approach. Moody's view is that the blockchain’s ability to be auditable along with its features such as security, cost, speed, and reliability can encourage investment and leverage the uses of the blockchain applications.