June 26, 2024

The term ‘blockchain’ is thrown around a lot these days. However, most people only relate blockchains with cryptocurrencies. And while crypto is a major use case for blockchain networks, it is not the only application.

There is a myriad of blockchain implementation opportunities that go well beyond the boundaries of even the financial industry. This is because the principle of distributed ledgers in blockchains lends itself well to any industry with a database that requires a trustless and immutable storage system. The distributed nature of the database makes it extremely secure and transparent, as multiple users (nodes) in a blockchain network have a copy of the database. Every node works with several other nodes to verify changes made to the database, creating a system of transparency while providing impeccable security.

This feature has become too good to pass up, and many companies and industries have started using blockchain technology for different purposes. Here is a list of five real-world blockchain applications that are gaining popularity.

Supply chain management

These days, companies have to move fast and efficiently. Goods have to be transported from one corner of the world to another as fast as possible due to the rapid growth of manufacturing and increased demand for goods worldwide.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed very well what could happen when there is a break in the supply chain. In some cases, it led to a shortage of products that persists till today. Supply management needs to be as fast and as efficient as possible, and one way to achieve this is through blockchain technology.

Using blockchain, anyone can trace the trajectory of a product, from the starting point in its journey to the customer’s doorstep. All the parties collaborating in the supply chain journey can use the blockchain platform to reduce time delays, added costs, and human error. Further, without any central intermediatory in the process, it also reduces the risks of fraud significantly.

To build a full-proof voting system

They say a country is as strong as the efficacy of its voting system. And while electronic voting has been the go-to option for some time now, it can be vulnerable to attacks and breakdowns.

A reliable voting infrastructure needs to be secure from any attacks and transparent so that everyone can verify the legitimacy of the voting process. And this is what blockchain can bring to the table.

With blockchain technology, the voting database will exist on the “chain” that millions of nodes will support simultaneously. And due to the robust encryption and decentralization of a blockchain, the voting database will be incorruptible, and each voting record will be easily verifiable. Moreover, the network can’t be taken down by any third parties or intermediaries.

Overhauling the retail experience with loyalty rewards

Customer loyalty has become an important facet of retaining customers. People expect some reward for being loyal to a brand or product. The loyalty program industry is relatively new but has become vital in its short tenure. Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can make the loyalty reward structure more accessible and easier to use.

Cryptocurrency can be a valuable reward. It leverages the power of blockchain technology to give higher transaction speeds through easy-to-use digital wallets. These wallets can be used to store a customer’s rewards in a safe and immutable environment. Cryptocurrency transactions are not bogged down by centralized authorities that need to approve all rewards. Therefore, handing out rewards can also be instantaneous.

Copyright and ownership protection

The ownership of data, especially works of art such as videos, music and paintings, has become necessary in the internet age. Artists need to be protected from entities that may misuse or claim ownership of content that is not theirs. While third parties like Google and Meta have their own verification systems, they are not completely full-proof. This is where blockchain technology could come in.

Digital copyright data can be stored in blocks of the blockchain, which is transparent and secure. No third party would be able to claim ownership without showing the proof of the same on this transparent blockchain. In addition, adjacent technologies such as non-fungible tokens use digital certificates to provide immutable ownership and allow artists to get profits from their content even after they change hands multiple times.

Personal loans and other forms of finance

Banks and financial firms provide loans to individuals and businesses in times of need — it is an essential facet of the financial industry. But there are inefficiencies in the structure like biases of the lender while giving out the loan, exhausting KYC processes and long waiting periods. Blockchain technology could remove these inefficiencies.

In the normal lending process, a middleman is necessary to facilitate the loan, its approval, and disbursal. But using blockchain smart contract technology, the process can be made seamless. A smart contract is a piece of code that executes itself after certain conditions within the contract are met.

The lender and seeker can agree to fair and feasible terms like proof-of-funds and payment planning using smart contracts. These contracts will then validate and record transactions without any bank or middleman, leading to a faster verification of the loan seeker and more immediate loan disbursement.

These are just a few examples of what blockchain can do. In reality, blockchains can overhaul any system where there are inefficiencies and human errors. If any company deems that its system can benefit from the distributed model of blockchain technology, then it probably can.