9 Real-World Blockchain Technology Applications & Examples

Blockchain technology is an emerging technology that makes it possible to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin. While digital currency might be the best-known use of blockchain technology, it is not the only one. In fact, there are limitless applications of blockchain technology that might be used, including some that have the potential to transform our lives.

Our Addition Financial members have been talking about blockchain from a variety of perspectives, including how the technology can be used and how (or if) they should invest in it. With that in mind, here are nine real-world blockchain technology applications and examples to help you understand the possibilities. 

#1: Securing the Internet of Things (IoT)

People are increasingly reliant on smart technology, using everything from digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri to smart thermostats and smart refrigerators. Each of these objects works by connecting wirelessly, creating an Internet of Things. Their use, while certainly convenient, also presents a security challenge.

Blockchain tech can be used to protect individuals and organizations from a data breach and their smart devices being hacked. Adding devices to a blockchain would allow users to decentralize security measures to keep their devices – and the information stored on them – safe.

A New York-based company called HYPR has developed a decentralized credential solution that is designed to thwart hackers. Their solution allows users to adopt biometric and password-free solutions that make it easy for approved users to access devices and virtually impossible for hackers to compromise them.

#2: Protecting Digital Voting

The issue of how to allow for secure digital voting is one that has loomed large in elections in the United States and around the world. The potential of one candidate – or an outside entity – hacking an election and changing the results is unsettling at best.

It’s for that reason that companies around the world have been investigating how to use a blockchain solution to ensure the security and transparency of elections. Blockchain technology allows for the issuance of tokens to ensure that each voter votes only once and that their vote may not be changed once it has been cast.

FollowMyVote is a company that has developed technology that would allow for password-free identity verification while storing each individual’s vote on a blockchain. The decentralization of the process would make it virtually impossible to hack. In 2019, Sierra Leone became the first country to use a blockchain technology application for an election and others are sure to follow suit. The Australian government has already announced plans to develop a blockchain-powered voting system.

#3: Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft is a persistent problem that affected 47% of US residents in 2020 and cost a whopping $712.4 billion that year. It’s clear that something needs to be done since existing security measures are not sufficient to protect people’s personal information.

One of the blockchain uses that is most appealing to financial institutions and government agencies is the idea of decentralizing cloud storage of sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates and other data. It has the potential to greatly reduce the frequency of identity theft and minimize the amount of money people lose to it every year.

Ligero is a Rochester, NY-based company that has used blockchain technology to develop a method that allows individuals and organizations to verify information with zero-knowledge proof. That means that someone could verify your identity without getting access to your personal information, which would in turn reduce the risk of digital identity theft and provide peace of mind about storing data online.

#4: Completing Real Estate Transactions

Real estate transactions are complex because they require a combination of public filings, such as deed registrations, and private financial exchanges. The security issues are substantial and there are also issues related to contractual obligations that can slow transactions and lead to frustration.

Blockchain technology allows for the creation of smart contracts, which can be used to trigger payments and other activities once an agreed-upon action has taken place. In real estate, smart contracts could be used in a variety of ways that would help to eliminate disputes and streamline the process.

Ubitquity is a company that has developed a system that allows property owners to record property information securely to establish a verified string of ownership. We anticipate that real estate will be a hot market for blockchain technology solutions going forward.

#5: Verifying Insurance Coverage

None of us ever wants to be in a position where we have to file an insurance claim because doing so can be frustrating and time-consuming. Customer service may not be available around the clock and it can be difficult to get the help you need.

Insurance companies are exploring ways to use blockchain technology and one possibility is to use a blockchain platform to store insurance information that could be easily and quickly verified when anybody files a claim. The process could save time and streamline the claims-paying process.

RiskBlock is a solution that has already been implemented by some insurance companies, most notably Nationwide, which was the first company to test it. It allows for speedy insurance verification and paperless claim filing. It’s probable that the use of blockchain technology in insurance and risk management will continue to grow as companies and consumers see the benefits.

#6: Ensuring Fair Treatment of Musicians

Record companies and streaming services have a long history of treating musicians unfairly. Many artists have filed grievances that streaming companies have not paid them to put their music online and the situation has created an environment of mistrust.

Blockchain technology can be used to connect musicians with their work, allowing for complete transparency in streaming and sales of music. Instead of wondering whether they’re being treated fairly, a blockchain with smart contracts can be used to ensure that companies and streaming services meet their obligations.

The most high-profile example of this use of blockchain technology comes from streaming service Spotify, which acquired a company called Mediachain in April of 2017. The technology allows for the creation of decentralized and transparent smart contracts that allow artists to stay informed about how and when their music is being played and give them the opportunity to earn higher royalties than was previously possible.

#7: Establishing Provenance for Creative Work

Music royalties aren’t the only way that blockchain technology can be used in the arts. Another issue that has loomed large for artists is the unlicensed use of their work or even the creation of duplicates that allow others to benefit from work they did not do.

You may have heard about NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. As we mentioned earlier, tokens can be issued within a blockchain to secure voting and track insurance. They can also be used to establish the provenance of any piece of creative work, including artwork and music. The term non-fungible refers to anything that is unique and can’t be replaced with anything else. So, cash is fungible because any $20 bill can be exchanged for another. Artwork is not because it is unique.

Any artist can mint an NFT to establish the creation of a piece of artwork or music and start a timeline of ownership or use. NFTs can also be used to translate any physical asset into a digital one. The process may be used to allow anybody to invest in an NFT as well as tracking the sales of digital assets.

#8: Maintaining and Sharing Medical Records

In the United States, HIPAA regulations exist to keep protected health information private and preserve patient confidentiality. Any healthcare provider or organization that violates HIPAA and puts health information at risk will receive a hefty fine while also losing the trust of their patients and clients.

We’ve already mentioned that blockchain technology can be used to allow for zero-knowledge proof, but another use is to store medical information and allow it to be accessed only by authorized people via a smart contract.

Patientory describes itself as an all-in-one medical inventory system. It allows both patients and doctors to access detailed medical records. The two key benefits are that patients can be sure that their records are securely stored in a blockchain and healthcare providers have access to detailed medical records to allow for better patient care and more accurate diagnosis of conditions.

#9: Managing a Supply Chain and Logistics

We’ve all become aware of just how difficult it is to manage the supply chain thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. With shortages of everything from toilet paper to clothing, there’s no question that the world’s supply chains need to be protected.

A blockchain system can be implemented by shipping and logistics companies to ensure the data integrity of transactions, track shipments, and resolve disputes. Smart contracts can be used to initiate payments and shipments, saving the industry billions of dollars.

Shipping company DHL is already using distributed ledger technology to maintain a record of shipments and verify transactions. With more than 500,000 shipping companies just in the United States, it’s probable that blockchain technology will be at the forefront of advances in the shipping industry.

There’s no question that blockchain application development has the potential to transform the world we live in, streamlining processes and altering the security landscape forever. The nine real-world applications we’ve listed here are only the tip of the iceberg and can serve as a good jumping-off point for anybody who wants to learn about or invest in a blockchain application.

Do you need assistance choosing blockchain investments? Addition Financial can help! Click here to learn about our MEMBERS Financial Services program and book an appointment with one of our financial professionals today.

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