Number 1 and 4 are mind-blowing best blockchain technology. You can also listen to the Podcast here:
Best Blockchain technology is the buzzword in the FinTech space. Companies like IBM are really putting themselves behind this emerging technology. In fact, 82% of Fortune 100 companies have explored the topic of Blockchain in one shape or form.
While many individuals watching this space from outside are left wondering – is Blockchain really that big of a deal, companies are busy exploring ways to implement this technology in their business.
In this article, we will explore 10 broad use cases of Blockchain technology. Within each of these use case – there are sub-use-cases that could disrupt a whole industry in that space. If we were to cover all the potential use cases of Blockchain – it will take a book. We are not aiming for that in this article. Here we will limit ourselves to the top 10.
Top 10 Best Blockchain Technology Use Cases
1. Capital Markets, Security Token Offerings (STOs)
Imagine waking up to a life where you can pitch your idea to a bunch of strangers around the globe and if your idea is good enough – securing capital through an app that meets all the security regulations. In fact, WeOwn already has built a platform that does this.
While you can raise money today via crowdfunding – it really doesn’t give any real value to the investor, especially the micro-investors. However, raising funds via STO gives every single investor the opportunity to own stock, even if it is fractional.
This is a massive shift in how the current capital market works to what it could be. A democratizing capital market is no small feat.
Recently, Overstock took the Security Token Offering (STO) space by storm when it announced that it will sell its retail business in 2019 to go all iintoCrypto STO space. In fact, GSR capital has put tZero’s valuation at 1.5 Billion.
We believe there will be more players in the space in 2019 and forward. STOs are one of the absolutely amazing use-cases of Blockchain with a potential to disrupt the multi-trillion dollar industry that is stuck in a century-old way of doing things.
Impact: Providing access to capital for everyone will be a major shift in how the business world operates today. Reducing costs of raising capital from Millions of dollars to thousands of dollars is a game changer. Micro ownership, simplified ownership log maintenance, easier distribution of dividends, investor communication through apps – the whole capital markets industry could be transformed with this technology.
2. Money Transfer & Global Settlements
Even in 2018, my Bank takes 3 business days to transfer money from my own US bank account to another US bank account and it costs me $3.
When you talk about transferring money from one country to another, it will take far more in commissions. If you were thinking to deal with someone outside the country borders that don’t use your currency – then international clearance can take an unbelievable amount of time and cost.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies can change all of that.
You can have individuals send/receive money (or cryptocurrency) in seconds instead of days or weeks at the fraction of the cost.
IBM recently announced World Wire to help clear cross-border settlements using Stellar protocol. Ripple has been working with major global banks to create a clearance system that transfers values across the globe in seconds at micro fraction cost as well.
We expect this trend to continue over the next few years and in a decade – we will all forget as to how painful was it to transfer money, whether it is within the country or globally. This will be made possible because of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies.
Impact: Making cross-border settlements simple and inexpensive with no red tape will open up the global markets to everyone with something to sell. Expanding beyond borders will no longer be a privilege.
3. Supply Chain / Farm to Table/ IoTs
How do you know that the Rolex you just paid 1000s of dollars for is real? How do you know that what you are feeding your family thinking its organic and safe, is indeed organic and safe? Could we have avoided Chinese Milk Scandal? Or how can we ensure that counterfeit is forever abolished?
Blockchain technology could be the simplest yet most effective solution to date to deal with the counterfeit. Not just counterfeit, in fact, Blockchain can enable tracking, recording, retrieving of whole supply chain events in a jiffy.
Walmart is working with IBMs Food Trust to bring its food supply onto blockchain to ensure that every product on the shelf can be traced to its origin. Not just where it came from but how it was produced, what kind of chemicals were used and whether there has be
en any tampering on the way.
Projects like VeChain are providing logistics solutions enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) devices to make the whole supply chain, no matter what industry, “transparent-regulated-secure and reliable.”
Walmart has mandated its vendors to comply with its blockchain initiative. Soon, more and more companies will join the movement – just like how we all got accustomed to using credit cards.
Impact: Building trust in products, eradicating counterfeit and bringing transparency to the journey of things we consume will help in consumer protection and safety while reducing costs to companies.
4. Government services (Patents, Voting, Government spending, compliance, tax remittance, Money supply etc.)
The biggest use case of Blockchain is the one that will be the slowest to come to fruition. Of course, we are talking about bringing Government onto the blockchain.
While Government duties involve many things, there are few aspects of Government that could benefit tremendously from Blockchain technology, including:
It takes about 32 months for Government to issue a patent. This is at the time where most Apps fall out of fashion in 6 months. It takes a tremendous amount of cost in attorney fees, paperwork and influence to get a patent. Many times, companies with deeper pockets tend to throw the real inventors out of the water because of this legal burden. Blockchain can transform the Patenting from being costly-burdensome-ineffective-regionalized-manipulated to an inexpensive-simple-efficient-global-transparent system. Projects like Loci are already working on this solution.
President Trump claimed that “millions and millions” fraudulent votes were cast for Hillary while in reality there were no more than 10 voter impersonations in 12 years.
While Trump’s claims are debunked in the US, outside of US, the issue of Voter rigging is still a big issue. For instance, the ruling party, BJP, has been accused of rigging votes in India. Blockchain technology can bring transparency to the whole voting system. Projects like Clear Poll are working on this solution.
Perhaps, one of the biggest duties of a Government is to be able to ‘identify’ its own citizens. However, we know all too well that the Government is just not equipped with the resources or ability to manage identity. In fact, identity thieves have used social security numbers of deceased individuals. Blockchain can help managing identity management that cannot be tampered with.
Most Governments around the globe have been subjected to many scandals. Some involving billions of dollars. Government officials were able to pull off such scandals because of lack of transparency over the incomings and outgoings of Government revenue. Blockchain can solve this issue in a blink by bringing transparency and access to Government spending in front of its citizens.
Compliance status, tax remittance
IRS takes an average of 60 days to confirm a settlement. Sometimes this could drag on for years. There are many different forms of taxes that involve extensive paperwork and cumbersome filings. If commerce is facilitated on blockchain – tax compliance could be automated to the ‘origin of transaction’ which will reduce the administrative burden and cost.
Everyone knows that due to the fractional reserve system – Governments can print as much money as they want. There is no real accountability or tracking. The 21 Trillion adjustment in Government spending is an example of the madness that is fractional reserve system. If Government’s transactions went on Blockchain – the ability to manipulate money supply can be curbed.
Recording of ownership and transfer of ownership is another Blockchain use case in the Government space. These ownership records cannot be tampered with and are easily accessible for anyone to verify. Propy already scored a historic property deal using cryptocurrency in California.
Governance on blockchain (a private blockchain is better for some aspects of this) could be one of the most fascinating use-cases of the blockchain, one that gets us excited.
Impact: Governmental use case is by far the most far-reaching of all. Being able to use Government services, bringing representatives to be accountable, keeping tabs on Government spending will truly bring life to the meaning of democracy.
5. Tokenization of assets and fractional ownership
Companies sit on millions (in some cases billions) of dollars worth of assets but when it runs into liquidity issues – it has to make rounds for it.
Let’s say – you have 10 machines, each worth a million dollars. Each machine yields $50,000 in profits each year. When you have serious liquidity issues – you could convert the value of one of these machineries into tokens. So, you can issue 1 million tokens (each worth $1) available for the public to buy. Those who buy a piece of this asset will be rewarded with the revenue that the machine produces that year. For investors, this is a 5% yield while their investment is backed by a million dollar asset and for businesses – it is a almost zero cost solution to their liquidity problems. This concept could be applied to real estate, machinery, intellectual property, etc.
PrefLogic is a project that is aiming to facilitate tokenizing ‘anything of value’ on their platform.
Impact: Investors enjoy the safety of their funds since their investment is backed by an asset while companies can avoid raising capital at a higher rate of interest.
6. Real Estate: Shared ownership and revenue sharing
Think of mutual fund model of investing where 1000s of micro-investors come together to create a large enough pool that could invest in something meaningful – but do this with Real Estate?
In addition to facilitating ownership transfer (like we saw with Propy above) – Blockchain can also facilitate fractional ownership and fractional revenue sharing which makes it an amazing avenue for micro-investors to own a small piece of a profitable project which was by definition reserved to the elite, until now.
Know your customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) is managed better on Blockchain than in the current cash system.
Impact: Investing will be for all instead of for the few. Even a person that makes $10 a day should be able to invest if he/she chooses to. However, in the current system – only accredited investors and venture capitalists are allowed to own anything meaningful because they control large capital. Blockchain can help turn micro investors into a pool much bigger than accredited investors and venture capitalists. Since the amounts are so small – risk and reward is divided.
7. Healthcare and Insurance
How do you ensure that the Government healthcare policies and plans are reaching the rightful beneficiaries without spending a fortune in managing the program?
How do you settle a health insurance claim instantly instead of weeks or months?
Blockchain can make it possible to verify the identity of the individual, confirm the authenticity of the claim, settle the payments with the hospitals directly and transfer funds to the beneficiary in seconds. In fact, a model of this is already being tested in South Korea on ICON platform.
In fact, healthcare and insurance could run on auto-pilot if identification protocol, hospital networks, Government databases, insurance companies, and insurance data – all come onto blockchain. These seemingly different players do NOT have to use the same blockchain technology or necessarily be public. They all can operate their own Blockchain protocol facilitating data sharing without compromising whatever is important for them.
We expect that Blockchain will be an integral part of the insurance industry in next decade.
Impact: Receiving your claims when you need them the most without having to make rounds for it will greatly enhance user experience. People will be able to focus on health and loved ones while the blockchain facilitates the settlements. Companies will save a great deal of money since physical verification which costs insurance companies dearly will be minimized.
8. Gaming and Gambling
There are over 400 million online players who trade in digital items with over 2.5 Billion gamers around the world spread across PC, console, mobile, online gaming platforms.
Gambling, including sports betting, is a massive business across the globe. Just the US lottery sales cross over 70 Billion dollars.
Gaming merchandise and Gambling industries are ripe for a global platform that anyone from anywhere can participate in and get paid out instantly, all the while ensuring compliance with KYC and AML laws. Blockchain can bring that trust to the platform which doesn’t have to rely on any agencies that take out the big cut.
Impact: Blockchain can create a space for artists and creators to sell their merchandise from anywhere in the world and receive instant payments. Gambling enthusiasts who currently do not have secure-trustworthy access to gambling can be provided a space where they can gamble without worrying about the funds or fraud.
9. Democratizing Banking
- Banks charge us for keeping our money with them.
- Banks charge us for transferring our money.
- Banks use our money to lend money to others and pay us zero in return.
- Banks use our money as collateral to use fractional reserve system to print and lend more money.
- Banks keep their dealing hush hush so that common man never gets to see what’s going on inside.
- Banks can dictate who can do business with who.
- Banks are the biggest hurdle, rather than facilitators, in cross-border settlements.
We can go on.
Banks as middlemen have been milking the customers for centuries now. It is about time for us to democratize banking industry and Blockchain with its cryptocurrency offerings can do just that.
Blockchain can help us bring microlenders and micro-borrowers onto a single platform, with virtually zero cost fee structure.
Impact: Unbanked can access banks on their phones. People can get access to easy capital. Cross-border payments can be expedited. Global commerce can be facilitated.
Obviously an outlier use-case. How can you be sure that your charity donations are actually being used for the right causes and not diverted for conspicuous endeavors?
United Way came under fire when its former Chief was indic
ted in fund misuse. There were other allegations against many charitable organizations about embezzlement, funds misuse, misappropriation etc.
How then can the good-hearted Samaritans be sure that their donations are impacting lives in needs and not some dark agenda.
Blockchain can bring transparency to every dollar received and every dollar spent. We will be able to see the trail of money from its origin to its use without having to rely on third parties or trying to file an RTI (Right to Information).
Impact: More good for dollars donated, what else can be a better use case for money donated for good causes.
World Economic Forum in its report stated that there are over 65 use cases of Blockchain. To quote the report “Solutions identified as being particularly relevant across environmental applications tend to cluster around the following cross-cutting themes:
- Enabling decentralized systems
- Peer-to-peer trading of natural resources or permits
- Supply-chain monitoring and origin tracking
- New financing models, including democratizing investment
- Realization of non-financial value, including natural capital”
We only touched upon the broader use cases of blockchain in this article. These broad use cases have the potential to change every facet of our lives from the way we live to how we conduct businesses, for the better.
We are witnessing history in the making and future possibilities seem exhilarating.
Thank you for reading this article.
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Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.
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About the author
RK Reddy holds two Masters degrees, one in Accounting and another in Business Administration with over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry.
RK Reddy is an ardent fan of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. You can see the excitement about this new technology in every article on Cryptotapas.com. Sometimes this excitement leads to an overly optimistic view. Guilty as charged. RK Reddy says “what may seem like an ‘overly optimistic expectation’ today may become an everyday norm in 5-10 years; look at the history of cars or airplanes, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies belong to a similar frame of reference.” Of course, that is just his opinion.