Blockchain technology is starting to gain traction in the mainstream. Its efficiency, transparency and versatility appeal to consumers and businesses alike, making wide-scale adoption likely in the coming decades. Recognising blockchain’s potential to disrupt traditional infrastructure, many industries have started integrating the technology into their business processes.
Financial services companies are amongst the early adopters of blockchain technology. The FIS Readiness Index, which scores businesses on digital innovation, revealed that the most technologically-advanced companies out-performed their competitors in terms of both growth and revenue.
Pavel Matveev, co-founder of Wirex says, “this makes sense – running a business on blockchain is efficient and cost-effective. It requires fewer resources and systemic business risk is reduced. While blockchain is more prevalent in the financial services space, there is no doubt that it will be more widely adopted as protocols, networks and apps improve.”
Gemma Doswell, staff writer at Wirex, takes a look at nine examples of how blockchain is transforming the way industries and businesses operate:
The agricultural industry relies on numerous external factors (e.g. the weather, the quality of harvest) and complex supply chains that could be made more transparent by implementing blockchain technology. Blockchain means that the long journey of crops/livestock from farm to table could be tracked and available to all who needed to see it – giving consumers valuable peace of mind. It could also allow smaller producers with fewer resources access to the same information as larger, more affluent farms – making the market a fairer space.
Uber dominates the taxi industry with its innovative app and technology. Now, start-up Arcade City are using blockchain to do the same. They offer a similar app and service to Uber, but with more autonomy for the drivers. Using blockchain, drivers operate from a decentralised system that gives them more control over their operations, as well as the freedom to perform additional services like roadside assistance and deliveries etc.
3. Music content rights
Music content platforms like Mycelia, Ascribe and Jaak employ blockchain technology to help protect artists’ rights. Rivalling more mainstream platforms like Vimeo and Spotify, the use of blockchain allows artists to distribute access to their music without the need for predetermined licensing agreements.
Gaming is a lucrative market. Dominated by free-to-play and token-based games, gaming accounts tend to be funded in fiat (usually dollars) because tokens are worth so little. Even free-to-play games make the gaming industry huge profits (in software assets and additional in-game expenses). With so much money at stake, it’s no surprise that developers are turning to blockchain to improve payment efficiency and transparency. Fantasy football platform My DFS uses the Ethereum blockchain, allowing players to benefit from swifter, middleman-free pay outs.
5. Education and Academia
Software start-up Learning Machine has collaborated with the MIT Media Lab to launch Blockcerts, a system that allows users to create, issue, view and verify certificates and digital documents. Blockchain technology encrypts the information and enables users to hold and share their own infallible academic records.
Oil and gas providers like BP and Shell (among others) have experimented with blockchain. Both companies are part of a consortium of energy providers that are developing a blockchain-based platform to make the energy trade more efficient. They plan to use blockchain to record data in real time – this means that transactions can be processed quickly with computer algorithms, without the need for third-party verification. This would help to clarify ownership of cargo, reduce trading costs and make the whole industry more transparent.
Anyone who owns property will be familiar with the endless bureaucracy and swathes of paperwork involved in the purchase. Blockchain could make the process less painful by offering a single database for all the necessary documents. Land titles, property deeds, loan documents etc. could all be stored and drawn up to instantly verify transactions – cutting down the involvement of third parties, and, ultimately, costs. American law firm Hogan Lovells have already started using Ethereum smart-contracts to replace traditional legal contracts. A smart contract is a blockchain-based technology that requires specific contract terms to be met before further instructions can be activated.
8. Pocket Money
Platforms like Pigzbe demonstrate the sprawling nature of blockchain adoption. Their Piggy-Wallet™ is a blockchain piggy bank with its own token, Wollo (WLO). It allows parents to give children pocket money to spend (in-app on Pigzbe games) or store in their own Piggy-Wallet™. The Pigzbe system also includes hand-held devices: Pigzbe Pink is a game controller and notifier for kids, Pigzbe Black is a cold storage wallet for parents and adults.
9. Personal Finance
Companies like Barclays, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan currently use blockchain to improve and secure their online systems, with more financial institutions likely to follow suit. Considering how blockchain was initially set up to be used as an immutable public ledger, it’s easy to see how the technology could be incorporated into traditional banking systems. Wirex is a good example of this, helping to overcome the bureaucratic and geographical restrictions of conventional banking with a unique, blockchain-based personal finance solution. Wirex offers currency accounts, secure cryptocurrency wallets, Visa-secure payment cards with Cryptoback™ rewards (users earn 0.5% in BTC on in-store purchases) and more, all from a single, open platform.