10 Surprising Ways Companies Are Using Blockchain
Like most people invested in this space, you probably already know a lot about blockchain and its much-touted potential. You know how smart contracts work, what Bitcoin mining is, and how to HODL with the best of them. But, even the savviest among you may not have heard of all the things companies using blockchain are doing. Check out these top 10 surprising ways.
1. Ridding the World of Cancer
Before you roll your eyes, no one is saying that blockchain can cure cancer. But it may one day be able to prevent it from happening in the first place. This is probably the tallest order placed on blockchain’s shoulders so far, but there are already companies using blockchain and working together to harness its incredible power.
How does it work? Blockchain’s ability to house vast amounts of data means that researchers can bring together millions of genomic profiles to create the critical mass they need to detect and prevent the disease.
Blockchain tech coupled with Big Data can analyze, sort, and identify potential risks to provide preventative treatment and highly personalized healthcare. You could simply alter your genomic profile and health habits before you developed the disease.
2. Ensuring Fair Pay for Hollywood Actors
As with many an industry, inequality in Hollywood abounds. Women are paid less than men. The production staff is often paid poorly (or not paid at all) and some fairly shady studio accounting practices mean that contracts are frequently tampered with.
In fact, even box office hits are often swept into the red thanks to lax accounting. Why do so many movies fail to turn a profit? It has something to do with the interminable layers of middlemen taking a cut at every step.
Remember Return of the Jedi? The first one? Like one of the most successful movies ever made? Yeah. Except, Lucas Films says that the movie has never gone into profit (despite racking up half a billion dollars at the box office).
Companies using blockchain can kick corruption to the curb and make sure that everyone upholds their end of the bargain. Smart contracts can enforce agreed-upon terms so that no one backs out or changes the terms at the last moment–with no intervention from intermediaries.
3. Stopping the Illicit Diamond Trade
Don’t you just hate it when your diamond encrusted watch turns out to be a fake? Well, the good news is that fake or subpar quality diamonds are soon to be a thing of the past thanks to blockchain tech. One UK blockchain startup, Everledger, has already built a global digital ledger using the IBM blockchain to track and protect the world’s diamonds.
Thanks to the ledger’s transparency, tampering or unauthorized access are supposedly impossible. So far, over one million diamonds have been digitally encrypted on the blockchain. This provides a vast data pool with which to verify the quality of diamonds, thus preventing the illicit diamond trade.
4. Improving Healthcare for the Elderly
Indeed, you don’t have to be a token holder to take advantage of blockchain technology. There are several companies using blockchain appearing around the world provide better care for the elderly.
Whether it’s a nursing home or in-patient care, blockchain is incentivizing caregivers to provide a better service. Their track record and performance are rewarded points to ensure that elderly people get the best providers possible.
Companies using blockchain tech can also ensure that healthcare workers are properly vetted and that their credentials check out.
5. Tokenizing Tangible Assets
Companies using blockchain technology can tokenize real-world assets. So, real estate, cars, oil, gold… any type of asset can be placed on the blockchain. Not literally of course, but let’s take an example.
Say you purchase 10 tokens of a property. Assuming that there were 100 tokens to begin with, you would then be entitled to 10 percent of any profits from property rentals, all paid out in smart contracts. You’d also get 10 percent of any decision-making regarding the building–and 10 percent of any maintenance bills.
This can democratize access to investment opportunities in a way never previously possible. Instead of having to make regular mortgage payments, for example, a person could invest as much or as little as they wanted, whenever they wanted.
One of the first times we saw the idea of tokenization of assets was when Venezuela announced their plans for the Petro cryptocurrency, backed by tangible assets of over five billion barrels of oil. It may not have worked out so great, but it certainly provided plenty of food for thought.
6. Cleaning Up the Porn Industry
Seedy, dirty, dangerous even. These are most people’s associations with pornography and the adult industry in general. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a plethora of companies using blockchain to bring transparency and discretion to the porn industry, including LOVR Network and Rendevu.
It works like this: All “service providers” are medically vetted so that clients can see they have no contagious diseases or STDs. They are guaranteed to be paid the agreed-upon amount thanks to smart contracts, meaning there are no arguments about payment after the consensual act.
Users can also make payments discreetly and service providers are reassured that they’re not getting into bed with a mass murderer or psychopath since everyone goes through KYC procedures first.
7. Controlling the Skies
Companies using blockchain can fly, too. Well, maybe not fly, but control flying objects through blockchainized airspace. That’s the idea behind one blockchain startup who wants to ensure that, as drones become more popular and prolific, accidents are avoided. If drones can communicate with each other, they can avoid a collision.
Since blockchain allows for infinite data to be synchronized automatically, an air system can be created for smart cities around the world, making everybody safer and businesses more efficient.
8. Revamping the Insurance Industry
We’ve heard of decentralized databases, decentralized exchanges, and decentralized organizations. But now companies using blockchain are working to decentralize the insurance industry too.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of putting in an insurance claim and getting it denied, or receiving a substantially smaller payout than expected, you’re not the only one. Insurance companies around the globe aim to minimize payouts and maximize profits. This makes their interests misaligned with those of their customers.
Companies like Etherisc and Aigang are using blockchain and smart contracts to ensure that claims are automated and visible to anyone. They’re also working to remove intermediaries and ensure larger payouts while recreating trust between customers and insurance agents.
9. Keeping Food And Pharma at the Right Temperature
Blockchain tech has proven itself especially useful in the logistics industry, with companies using blockchain to track items around the globe. Knowing the status of a given container at any moment allows companies to ensure that the contents stay within a certain temperature.
Individuals can order food and medicine and get them delivered directly without having to go through extensive processes first, or carrying heavy medical equipment with them when they travel. Smart containers using blockchain reduce waste and improve the bottom line.
10. Warning Investors
With so much hype surrounding the blockchain and ICO companies in general, unfortunately, there have also been plenty of scams. While the SEC didn’t exactly use the blockchain for this, they did launch a faux blockchain company and publicize a fake ICO called HoweyCoins.
Why? In a bid to educate and warn investors not to fall for opportunities that are simply too good to be true. While companies using blockchain have achieved some incredible goals so far, it still pays to be aware that there are still a lot of unscrupulous people in this largely unregulated industry.
Final Thoughts on Companies Using Blockchain
So, there you have it. A run-down of at least 10 surprising ways companies are using blockchain. But, of course, this technology is still in its infancy, so keep watching this space! Before you know it, blockchain could really get us closer to establishing world peace, ridding the planet of corrupt politicians–and maybe even taking out the trash!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christina is a B2B writer and MBA, specializing in fintech, cybersecurity, blockchain, and other geeky areas. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her surfing, traveling, or relaxing with a glass of wine.