While it might be best-known for making Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible, blockchain technology is now being applied to many other industries.
Whether developing great online games, playable by thousands of players around the world, or redefining the agriculture sector, blockchain is impacting our lives more and more. In this guide, we’re going to show you 15 examples of how blockchain technology can and will be used in different industries.
Banking is where it all began for blockchain, but the technology isn’t just limited to cryptocurrency. One area of banking where the technology is particularly useful is in international money transfers.
Not only does blockchain make sending money internationally extremely secure, but it also vastly increases the speed at which money can be transferred across borders. It’s also expected that the banking sector will use blockchain to assist with fraud prevention, and know your customer verification processes in the near future.
Crowdfunding and blockchain go hand-in-hand, both are partially designed to decentralize transactions between buyers and sellers. Not all crowdfunding platforms are using the technology yet, but you can expect to see more of this in the future.
You might be familiar with Kickstarter, but a newer arrival, PledgeCamp, is based entirely on blockchain technology. This means you can see where the money you donate is being spent, thereby increasing trust.
Blockchain is being used by the insurance industry to speed up claims processing as well as cutting down costs. The reason being that it can be used to check and verify data between different groups, resulting in a seamless, speedy process. The added security is also a benefit when working with sensitive personal data.
There are a myriad of possible uses of blockchain by the government. It could, for example, be used for record-keeping, reconciling funds within the government budget, as well as making processes run more efficiently, cutting costs, and saving time.
With so many sub-divisions of this sector, it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of possible future uses of blockchain technology in healthcare. An example is that it could be used to make drug production safer, which means recalls shouldn’t be needed, as mistakes can be traced back to the source much faster.
Blockchain could also be used to make sharing data between platforms more secure, which in turn could help treatments become more effective and cost-efficient, thanks to more accurate initial diagnoses.
6. Public transport
ALT: Passengers view of people on a bus with sunlight streaming in through the windows. Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/CrwmXVbxxZs
While blockchain can’t be used to drive a bus or a train, it can be used to help public transport systems run more effectively. Databases can be created which show how often buses or trains arrive on time, and how many people are using them at a particular time.
This can be used to create a more efficient operating schedule with the best routes across the city.
7. Energy supply
Decentralizing the energy supply might seem unlikely, but blockchain technology makes this a strong possibility. The technology can connect people who need energy and those who can produce a surplus, allowing them to buy and sell from one another.
8. Medical research
Sharing data is crucial in medical trials, and blockchain is the ideal way to ensure highly sensitive data is kept confidential while being shared with the relevant parties.
ALT: A hand putting a voting ballot in a secured glass box. Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/IBWJsMObnnU
Another example of how blockchain technology is making its way into our everyday life, is voting. While it hasn’t yet been used in national elections, it has been used on a smaller scale, so you can expect to see it at a national level in the not-too-distant future.
In terms of voting, blockchain could be used to make the system much more secure by preventing anyone from voting twice and minimizing the risk of tampering. It’s also possible that the technology could be used to help increase voter turnout.
10. Law enforcement
There are two main ways in which blockchain could be used by law enforcement. The first is monitoring transactions, with potentially suspicious or fraudulent activity that could be flagged up sooner.
The second is when it comes to handling evidence as technology being developed to allow NFC to read the contents of tamper-proof evidence boxes. The contents are indexed using blockchain, so evidence can be managed and shared with relevant parties.
11. Waste management
Technology which allows plastics to be tracked across their lifecycle is currently in development to encourage the public to recycle more, rewarding those who do. There are also programs paying those who sort out their recycling correctly.
Many shoppers rely on websites they trust, such as Amazon, when it comes to shopping online. Blockchain could be used to decentralize the online shopping process, instead connecting buyers and sellers over a peer-to-peer system. And, cryptocurrencies are used to buy and sell on marketplaces such as these.
That’s right; blockchain can even be used in the agricultural sector, including fishing. It could help make the fishing industry more environmentally friendly, as well as more sustainable.
However, perhaps the biggest benefit is reducing the amount of fish caught illegally. Blockchain could be used to register boats and their nets, and even to track the fish caught. It is thought that consumers will eventually be able to trace the fish they eat from the ocean to their plates.
14. Messaging Apps
ALT: A person holding a mobile phone in the dark. Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/GWkioAj5aB4
Many messaging apps are already using blockchain encryption to make their services more private and secure for users. Consumers can benefit from this system, as it means there is no surveillance in private conversations. Ever had an ad pop up just after you’ve been messaging someone about that exact thing? With blockchain technology, this will no longer be an issue.
15. Video streaming
The final area in which blockchain is already proving useful, is online video streaming. This could spell trouble for video giants such as YouTube and Netflix. Based on a peer-to-peer network, videos can be stored, shared, and encoded without using the middleman. There is even a platform, Livepeer, where users can share videos with their friends live, as it happens.