Blockchain has revolutionized financial dealings and transactions in our world. Indeed, William Mougayar, author of The Business Blockchain, described blockchain as the “tsunami-like phenomenon, slowly advancing and gradually enveloping everything along its way by the force of its progression.”
So what’s the principle behind this revolutionary technology? To put it simply, through blockchain applications, your database can exist on different computers at the same time. As a new block is added to it, a timestamp links it to the previous block, forming a chain of all your records.
This article lists ten such blockchain applications that are metamorphosing some of the world’s major industries.
1. Smart Contracts
With the appearance of the Ethereum Project in 2013, smart contracts were introduced as a Blockchain application. These mini-programs provide a decentralized platform to carry out agreements between different parties, after specific conditions are met. The best part is that they execute these agreements without any third party interference and are considered completely fraud-free.
As it appears in the American Banker, these “self-automated computer program can carry out the terms of any contract.” From stock trades to supply chain management to real estate transactions, smart contracts can prove to be helpful to a variety of businesses.
Through smart contracts, healthcare industries can even secure medical records so that only certain people can access them, and that too only under predefined conditions. Companies like Synaps are utilizing these contracts to make the syndicated loan market more safe and efficient. American Banker goes as far as to call smart contracts the future of Blockchain.
2. Cloud storage
This type of blockchain application stores your data in logical pools. Since data is stored on remote servers and can only be accessed from the internet, or cloud, you can rest assured that your data remains secure and is not deleted. Plus, applications utilizing cloud storage guarantee that all the users’ data is stored in one place, thereby increasing ease of accessibility. Along with storage availability, data protection is also ensured so that users don’t have to utilize other technological applications for added protection.
Cloud storages are also energy efficient. According to a study published in ScienceDirect, businesses utilizing cloud storage can cut their energy consumption by up to 70%, and this will make them a more green business. Applications like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive are examples of this type of Blockchain application which allow their users to store and secure their data in one place.
When it comes to banking, Blockchain applications like Ripple and Bitcoin are not only reducing costs of transaction, but they are also ensuring security and transparency of the entire network.
However, while Bitcoin is a public system, Ripple is operated by a private company. While this makes Ripple more expensive, users belonging to one of the banks that are part of the Ripplenet are guaranteed cheaper, safer, and faster transactions internationally.
Plus, Ripple is also energy efficient; running a server on Ripple only consumes as much energy as is used by running an email server! Because of its fast and incredibly efficient payment/exchange network, Ripple was named as one of the Smartest Companies of 2014 by MIT Technology Review.
This is one of those areas where Bitcoin comes in handy. Since Blockchain is rooted in cryptocurrency, it is only logical that the system is used to atone employees. Bitwage is one such Bitcoin-based payroll services that aims to reduce costs when transferring money internationally.
Those dealing with freelancers based in other countries find this application especially useful as apart from saving costs, it makes the fund transfer easier and faster, ensuring that employees are paid on time and in their national currency.
Plus, Bitwage’s founder Jonathan Chester guarantees that the entire transaction process is completely transparent, so that “you can actually see exactly where the money is throughout the process.” These advantages of using this type of Blockchain application is why Bitwage won the French Tech Ticket in 2017.
5. Gyft Block
Retailers all over the world are now starting to take advantage of Blockchain applications that offer loyalty programs and gift cards to make the process more secure and economical. One such application is Gyft Block, which issues a digital gift card that can be traded on the Blockchain’s public ledger.
Those who don’t have the time to buy and deliver gifts to their loved ones on their special occasions find this application extremely useful. This is because Gyft manages gift cards on almost all of the world’s greatest shopping platforms like Amazon, Starbucks, iTunes, and Target. Not only does Gyft allow users to buy, send, and manage gifts from these top retailers, it also awards loyalty points and other rewards to small businesses planning to invest in it.
While there are plenty of Blockchain applications like Brikbit, Safechain, and Ubitquity that are transforming the real estate industry by helping to keep track of and transfer land titles and property deeds, one deserves an honorary mention. This is Propy, which allows traditional transactions to take place in a more efficient and risk-free manner.
It ensures that all documents are signed online and secured on the internet to avoid any chances of fraud. Plus, deeds and other such contracts are not only recorded on the smart contract platform, but they are also documented on paper which is handed to both concerned parties. With over 9000 registered properties, Propy is quickly becoming one of the leading names in real estate marketing.
7. Learning Machine
When it comes to academia, Blockchain has already proved its significance by helping to reduce fraudulent claims of unearned educational credits. Learning Machine is one such startup that is utilizing Blockchain to improve the educational industry.
By collaborating with MIT Media Lab, it has launched Blockcerts toolset which verifies Blockchain-based certificates. Plus, the platform also creates and issues credentials to only those who deserve it after verifying all of their academic and personal information. Learning Machine works with educational institutes, companies and government to provide official records that are guaranteed to be legitimate and can be shared with anyone across the globe.
With the world moving towards what can be classified as the machine age, it becomes essential to be able to predict everything that can happen in the world, from stocks and sports results to even elections and natural disasters. Augur is one such application that is relatively new amongst other such apps which allows users to forecast future events.
Launched in July 2018, this decentralized platform allows users to create their own prediction market, instead of betting on questions generated and chosen by other such platforms. By providing targeted insights and predictions, using machine learning algorithms to its users and awarding them with gifts for guessing correctly, Augur has proved to be an invaluable addition to the forecasting industry.
Talent theft is a pretty common phenomenon in the music industry. Young artists previously had no proper method to ensure that their creative content wouldn’t get stolen. However, Blockchain applications today have guaranteed fairer content sharing for creators through smart contracts.
One such application is JAAK which connects creators and entertainment entrepreneurs, allowing them to convert their repository of rights, media, and metadata into smart content. Licensed contracts are formed and executed based on the smart content on the Ethereum Blockchain. By pre-determining licensed agreements, JAAK works with music rights holders and other stakeholders in the entertainment industry to ensure that artists can share their work without the fear of it getting stolen.
Patients sometimes feel that the security of their personal data is compromised by different health care organizations. This is because hospitals and other healthcare related organizations have to share access across other networks, which can sometimes be a threat to data security.
Blockchain applications like Hu-manity have successfully resolved this issue by allowing members of any healthcare network to share data without marring data integrity. By allowing users to make key decisions in how they want their data to be shared, Hu-manity ensures that ethical boundaries are maintained. Not only does the app give patients more control over their data, but it also allows them to profit once they have consented to share their data!
Blockchain applications are providing numerous advantages to all kinds of industries across the globe, be it education, healthcare, or even entertainment. As the CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty puts it, “anything that can be conceived of as a supply chain, blockchain can vastly improve its efficiency- it doesn’t matter if its people, numbers, data, money.”
By ensuring that transactions conducted in every part of the business world remain fraud-free and safe, blockchain applications are slowly paving the way for a more secure future where people can feel protected when investing their time and money.
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