Blockchain technology can be integrated into multiple areas. The primary use of blockchains today is as a distributed ledger for cryptocurrencies, most notably bitcoin. A few operational products are maturing from proof of concept by late 2016. Businesses have been thus far reluctant to place blockchain at the core of the business structure.
1. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to record transactions. For example, the bitcoin network and Ethereum network are both based on blockchain. On 8 May 2018 Facebook confirmed that it would open a new blockchain group which would be headed by David Marcus, who previously was in charge of Messenger. Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency platform, Libra, was formally announced on June 18, 2019
2. Blockchain and Smart contract
Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that can be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction. One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But “no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged.” Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear.
3. Blockchain and Financial services
Major portions of the financial industry are implementing distributed ledgers for use in banking, and according to a September 2016 IBM study, this is occurring faster than expected.
Banks are interested in this technology because it has the potential to speed up back-office settlement systems.
Banks such as UBS are opening new research labs dedicated to blockchain technology to explore how blockchain can be used in financial services to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Berenberg, a German bank, believes that blockchain is an “overhyped technology” that has had a large number of “proofs of concept”, but still has major challenges and very few success stories.
In December 2018, Bitwala launched Europe’s first regulated blockchain banking solution that enables users to manage both their bitcoin and euro deposits in one place with the safety and convenience of a German bank account. The bank account is hosted by the Berlin-based solarisBank.
Mojaloop is designed to deliver financial support to people living in areas underserved by banks. It of use to migrants sending remittances
The blockchain has also given rise to Initial coin offerings (ICOs) as well as a new category of digital asset called Security Token Offerings (STOs), also sometimes referred to as Digital Security Offerings (DSOs). STO/DSOs may be conducted privately or on public, regulated stock exchange, and are used to tokenize traditional assets such as company shares as well as more innovative ones like intellectual property, real estate, art, or individual products. Several companies are active in this space providing services for compliant tokenization, private STOs, and public STOs.
4.Blockchain and Voting System
How blockchain technology can change how we vote
The thought of bitcoin as a way to change the way we vote was considered during the early days of the new technology. In 2012, computer scientists in Canada were looking to exploit the capabilities of Bitcoin as “a form of ‘carbon dating’ for digital information and something that would make electronic voting more secure.”
Blockchain-Related Voting System Startups
Among the startups that followed in an attempt to build upon the blockchain infrastructure to create a secure voting system was a Virginia-based company called FollowMyVote. Adam Ernest, the company’s CEO, stated that “there is a common misconception that voting cannot be done online in a secure way. However, the introduction of blockchain technology is changing the conversation.”
Note: His company creates a voting system that ensures that a vote is recorded one time (through the use of a token) for the specific candidate they want (placed into the candidate’s “wallet”) and permanently recorded on the blockchain.
How blockchain can make electronic voting more secure
While a great deal of our lives have moved online, voting by and large still takes place using paper ballots. Amrita Dhillon, Grammateia Kotsialou, Peter McBurney and Luke Riley write that controversies over the expected surge of mail-in ballots in the US November elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the need to modernise the mechanics of voting. They argue that blockchain technology can enhance efforts to move to electronic voting by offering greater security and transparency, which may increase needed trust in election systems.
As the US presidential election approaches, one of the largest impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been on how people vote. Many voters have become wary of going to polling places for fear that they will be exposed to the virus at election sites filled with other voters. The only other options are online voting, generally conducted by email in a limited number of places, and postal ballots, now a subject of political controversy in the US. In the run-up to the November elections, questions are growing over whether a surge of ballots will overwhelm the postal service, and whether cutbacks to the service and efforts to discredit mail-in voting by President Donald Trump are politically motivated to undermine both election turnout and confidence in the results.
For the first 50 years of US elections, voting took place in public, by voice. Eligible voters went to the local courthouse to vote. Since the move to the anonymous paper ballots of today, voting technology has changed little, making the way that we select our leaders look antiquated compared to the growing use of the Internet and other forms of contemporary digital communication. Yet, where adopted, electronic voting has shown clear benefits. For example, research in Brazil has shown that the adoption of electronic voting reduced residual votes, and led to greater de facto enfranchisement of mainly uneducated voters– leading, as a result, to increased government spending on healthcare services. Recent research in India showed that the use of electronic voting machines has reduced electoral fraud.
Democratic voting is a crucial and serious event in any country. The most common way in which a country votes is through a paper based system, but is it not time to bring voting into the 21st century of modern technology? Digital voting is the use of electronic devices, such as voting machines or an internet browser, to cast votes. These are sometimes referred to as e-voting when voting using a machine in a polling station, and i-voting when using a web browser. Security of digital voting is always the biggest concern when considering to implement a digital voting system. With such monumental decisions at stake, there can be no doubt about the system’s ability to secure data and defend against potential attacks. One way the security issues can be potentially solved is through the technology of blockchains. Blockchain technology originates from the underlying architectural design of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. It is a form of distributed database where records take the form of transactions, a block is a collection of these transactions. With the use of blockchains a secure and robust system for 4 digital voting can be devised. This report outlines our idea of how blockchain technology could be used to implement a secure digital voting system.
The blockchain containing information of who has registered to vote also allows our service to ensure each voter in unique and as described in section 5.1. Once registered you are then allocated a vote after verification of your details has been completed. To ensure these registered voters are who they say they are when voting begins there is a 3 factor authentication method as described in section 5.3. Further to this we also need to ensure they are not forced to vote in a particular way so we have incorporated a double-check service where by users shall be prompted a second time to confirm their submission before the vote is sent; this also then allows us to almost eradicate accidental votes. 14 Also, due to the encryption mechanism we are using (as described in section 5.3) it would be close to impossible for any person(s) to gain access to all the votes without first taking control of the entire service network. Moving on from this the publication method of the private keys allows anyone to read the blockchain of votes and decrypt them with the newly available constituency private keys to verify the result of the election.
5. Blockchain and Healthcare Industry
Impact of blockchain on the healthcare industry
The blockchain is an ever-growing listicle structure of block records linked via cryptography. A blockchain is a distributed, decentralized digital ledger used extensively for recording transactions in many computers. The goal of doing this is to prevent alteration and manipulation in the subsequent blocks. With blockchain, you can write entries in the record of information, and plenty of users can control how the information record is changed or amended.
Basically, blockchains are made up of 3 underlying technologies: Private Key Cryptography, P2P Network, and Program also known as the blockchain protocol. Blockchain technology is acknowledged for having a considerable impact on several industries and sectors. Today we are living in a time where there is a significant advancement in technology, and we are seeking solutions and services that make lives better and more comfortable. This is where the blockchain comes into the picture. It has been present for several years now, and millions of people and corporates are making use of this system in plenty of ways.
The health care sector had an investment of around $.177 million in the year 2018, and the amount may go up to $.5.6 million by the year 2025. With the help of blockchains, old systems are getting evolved. This has indeed resulted in an increase in efficiency and simultaneously has cut down the extra costs and expenses incurred in the health sector and industry, respectively.
It is clear that blockchain technology has much significance and importance in the transformation of the entire healthcare system to a greater extent. It helps the healthcare industry in a number of ways such as increased privacy, security, increased efficiency, developing integration, and lots more. Moreover, the blockchains systems do not have any central authority, and the transactions are stored and distributed across all the networks, respectively. Now, we will look upon how exactly the blockchains are beneficial for the health care system and industry. The blockchain is a revolutionary discovery and technology as it helps a company to solve many challenges like:
- Transparency: With the increasing demand in technology, blockchain offers the right amount of transparency to the corporates and other companies. Hence, every transaction is recorded and verified publicly.
- Immutability: This is one of the biggest advantages of the blockchain. All the data and transactions recorded cannot be altered by anybody. This includes the system admin as well as third parties too.
- Security: In the blockchain technology, crucial data and transaction are used extensively across all the systems, and it does not include a centralized database. This helps a company to enhance its security and make it safe.
- Reduced Transaction Expenses: Blockchain eliminates the interference of third parties. Banks are also not allowed to operate the same, and thus, they have peer to peer transactions. This helps in the reduction of costs to a greater extent.
- Innovation: There is a great room for innovation and creativity with blockchains. With this technology, businesses can grow models and compete easily with other businesses.
Let us explore the benefits of the same in detail.
1. Decentralized system
Blockchain has a decentralized system that is hack-proof. This prevents a single copy from getting compromised.
2. Single data source
The blockchain technology is used extensively to store and add all the crucial data transaction in the chain after the confirmation by all the participants.
3. 24/7 monitoring and data access
Blockchain for the healthcare and industry can be extensively used for the storage and updating of patient info like blood pressure, sugar level, diabetes, and lots more.
4. Budget friendly
Blockchain technology is one of the most cost-effective solutions. This removes all the hurdles of extra mediators and third parties.
5. Consistent rules via smart contract
A smart contract is a virtual protocol that verifies and facilitates the negotiation. It also helps to develop a rule-based process related to the patients.
6. Integrity of medical records
Blockchain can be used to make sure that the integrity of every medical record is done properly. The medical record can be stored in the blockchain that cannot be changed.
7. Single patient identification
In the healthcare industry, the duplication and mismatch of the patient’s records can be done frequently. Hence to avoid that on a greater extent, single patient identification is possible.
8. Business Model changes
Blockchain is one of the best technologies with the immense potentiality to change the entire business model and give a new edge to the business.
9. Storage capacity
If you make the use of blockchain in the healthcare industry, then this will consist of all the patient records, data, medical records, documents, lab reports, X-rays, images, and lots more. Each member has its own copy, and that is another benefit.
Blockchains are used in almost every industry and business sector. Whether you take Information Technology, Education, Healthcare, Retail, Digital marketing, and lots more make use of the blockchain to a greater extent. Investment in the black chain has been very profitable.
6. Blockchain and Energy industry
How blockchain effected energy industry
Blockchain technology offers cost-saving and process efficiencies for the energy sector that are too compelling to ignore, write Luis Colasante and Taniga Krish for Oilprice.com. But it does require a clear framework where all participants agree on the standards and rules.
Blockchain technology will be the accelerator of the world energy transition, helping to have a decarbonized and decentralized energy system that will be more resilient and cost-effective.
4 ways blockchain will disrupt the energy sector
Blockchain technology can help developing countries in the Asia-Pacific to leapfrog in the development of their energy sectors. There are four areas where development institutions can help them do this.
1. Capacity building and institutional strengthening. Support can be given to help energy regulators and power utilities use blockchain to improve their financial management. The technology can then help the companies register and record the ownership and current state of assets, digitize contracts, and verify and execute metering and billing transactions.
2. Modernizing grids. While blockchain may seem at first too disruptive for power utilities, it can actually help them keep up with rising power demand in smaller, lower-value blocks.
Blockchain can also make existing energy industry processes more efficient by serving as the backbone for the smart grid systems that automatically diagnose and respond to network emergencies and problems.
This way, for instance, if a natural disaster destroys transmission towers or transformer substations, the grid can quickly and automatically reroute power to prevent a massive blackout.
3. Renewable energy mini and microgrids. Blockchain empowers individual consumers and producers. When each household that can generate and store electricity can enter into automated, peer-to-peer transactions with other households or sell power back into the grid at the market price, the households (consumers) become “prosumers”.
The technology can help organize, coordinate and secure resilient peer-to-peer power systems.
4. Green finance and carbon trading systems. Blockchain can be deployed to both schemes, which are crucial to support the implementation of developing member countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions under the 2015 Paris Agreement against climate change.
The technology can help provide guarantees of origin, emission allowances, and renewable energy certificates.
ADB’s annual lending in the energy sector is around $5 billion per year, half of which goes to clean energy (renewable energy and energy efficiency). The other half goes to transmission and distribution systems. By including blockchain and other advanced technologies, ADB’s energy sector operations can have even greater development impacts.
It can also push developing countries in Asia and the Pacific toward the all-important 6th De-carbonization of the economy.
7. Blockchain and Supply Chain
What are the Benefits of Blockchain in Supply Chain Management?
Blockchain technology coupled with the ability to program business logic with the use of smart contracts enables the following:
- Transparency into the provenance of consumer goods— from the source point to end consumption
- Accurate asset tracking
- Enhanced licensing of services, products, and software
Even in today’s technologically advanced world, supply chains could dramatically improve efficiency, audible tracking, and limit exploitative behaviors. In the container industry, paperwork can account for half the cost of transport. A nationwide study conducted in the U.S. from 2010 to 2012 by the international ocean advocacy organization Oceana revealed that seafood is mislabeled up to 87% of the time. Mica, which is present in makeup, electronics, and automobile paint is often sourced from illegal mines by child laborers.
Furthermore, consumer goods, especially electronics, pharmaceuticals, and luxury brands, are susceptible to counterfeiting and fraud. In fact, a report from PwC claims that more than 2% of global economic output results from counterfeiting revenues.
The implementation of public, private, and hybrid blockchains will bring traceability, transparency, and accountability to the movement of goods and commodities. The technology can be applied to logistics to make business processes more efficient and to cut costs from supply chain infrastructure.
How does blockchain make supply chain management more efficient?
Supply chains contain complex networks of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, auditors, and consumers. A blockchain’s shared IT infrastructure would streamline workflows for all parties, no matter the size of the business network. Additionally, a shared infrastructure would provide auditors with greater visibility into participants’ activities along the value chain.
What are the Blockchain Use Cases in Supply Chain Management?
Enterprise blockchain technology can transform the supply chain with these three use cases:
Traceability improves operational efficiency by mapping and visualizing enterprise supply chains. A growing number of consumers demand sourcing information about the products they buy. Blockchain helps organizations understand their supply chain and engage consumers with real, verifiable, and immutable data.
Transparency builds trust by capturing key data points, such as certifications and claims, and then provides open access to this data publicly. Once registered on the Ethereum blockchain, it’s authenticity can be verified by third-party attestors. The information can be updated and validated in real-time.
Tradeability is a unique blockchain offering that redefines the conventional marketplace concept. Using blockchain, one may “tokenize” an asset by splitting an object into shares that digitally represent ownership. Similar to how a stock exchange allows trading of a company’s shares, this fractional ownership allows tokens to represent the value of a shareholder’s stake of a given object. These tokens are tradeable, and users can transfer ownership without the physical asset changing hands.
8.Blockchain and Video games
How can blockchain affect the videogame industry ?
It’s no surprise that the video gaming industry has become an extremely hot topic on Wall Street and with retail traders. The recent virus-induced turn of events has in many ways pushed gaming stocks to new highs. Discussions have bloomed around a paradigm shift in the gaming sector and what could be a “new normal”.
Young gamers spend an average of 3 hours 25 minutes every week watching other people play video games on platforms like Twitch, YouTube and now even Facebook. When compared with the 2 hours and 30 minutes watching sports, one can spot a trend here. The burgeoning video game industry has not only grown a major audience but has also become much more new-player friendly, with popular games like Fortnite, League of Legends and Minecraft propelling new waves of gamers and interested onlookers from across the globe.
Cryptocurrency entering the gaming industry
Yet, as it happens, there is also a case to be made for cryptocurrencies to enter this digital native haven with a bang. Talk of possibilities for blockchain technology and artificial intelligence beaming their way into space are in the process of translating into reality,the prospect of having in-game items forever recorded on the blockchain being a great value proposition. This would consequently revamp in-game marketplaces forever in the process.
Inherently, the distributed ledger technology (DLT), until now largely forgotten, is set to revamp third party and dodgy market-places with zero-trust smart contracts, guaranteed record storage and democratization of both in-game items and currencies.
Of course, there is no doubt that this will change things fundamentally, but will most likely only be seen on a superficial level by the end-user, who will be given the ability to immutable store an in-game character (for example) on the Ethereum blockchain. This decentralised marketplace would increase the overall quality for design and implementation of technical innovations, particularly due to the new-found ability to easily swap in-game items with currency through the Ethereum network.
Enjin Coin (ENJ) tokenising the in-game experience
While these are b2c opportunities, there also exist a plethora of b2b possibilities for entrepreneurs and small businesses. All too often, SMEs are fixated on the business-to-consumer connection and lose sight of the possibilities that may lie in catering to their business peers. Using blockchain, developers are now more able to help those businesses behind the games, which will have the ancillary effect of benefiting the consumer and growing the industry as a whole.
To this end, Enjin Coin (ENJ) is bringing these possibilities to the fore by specifically catering to the video gaming community, and putting an end to these long-standing issues. To their credit, Enjin’s manifesto declares that it wants to make gaming a safer and fairer place. It also aims to bring purpose to the industry, enrich game developers and allow players to truly own their in-game items and characters.
On May 28th, Enjin launched EnjinCraft, an open-source blockchain plugin that allows players to spawn assets in the Minecraft Java Edition without the need to write any code. To the uninitiated, Minecraft is one of the world’s most popular video games.
Being able to piggy-back on Minecraft’s user base is a great way for Enjin to grow its network globally. In fact, when aggregating all platforms, Minecraft has reached nearly half a billion gamers and currently hosts 126 million players every month. The company was acquired by Microsoft for $2.5 billion in 2014, and just last month, it reached the 200 million milestone of copies sold.
Notably, Enjin’s growth also coincides with its newfound certification in China in April of 2020, which comes as no surprise given its promising use case which stands to benefit both gamers and developers.
A new dawn for blockchain gaming
Traditionally, items in games are owned by the company that created them. But with tokenized in-game assets, these items will be licensed to the player directly, creating a legitimate in-game marketplace in the process, with the prospect of inter-game trading being the next step. If that’s not a fundamental game-changer.
9. Domain Names
Blockchain domain names are another use of blockchain on the rise. Unlike regular domain names, blockchain domain names are entirely an asset of the domain owner and can only be controlled by the owner through a private key. Blockchain domains pave the way to having sites that are more resistant to censorship and thus enable freedom of speech as there are no authorities or individuals that can intervene in controlling a domain except the private key holder. Again, they are a better option to replace the traditional cryptocurrency wallet addresses as one can easily memorize the domain and use it for receiving payments.
Organizations providing blockchain domain name services include Unstoppable Domains, Namecoin, and Ethereum Name Services.