Originally published on Bountie.io/blog
Blockchain will change the world as we know it, and no industry can escape unscathed. There’s so much opportunity that is yet to be discovered. Here are 5 applications of blockchain you’d probably never thought of.
(For the uninitiated – Deloitte: “Blockchain is a protocol for exchanging value over the internet without an intermediary.”)
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The most obvious application is none other than cryptocurrency – Bitcoin, Ethereum, NEO, and so forth. There are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies out there, with a total market capitalization of just under $369 billion.
Cryptocurrencies might one day complement or even replace fiat money. They are secure, decentralised, and not dependent on a centralised entity like a bank, which may collapse.
Beyond cryptocurrency, blockchain applications for finance are still vast and largely unexploited. Blockchain technology can help banks and financial institutions simplify their systems and processes, in areas such as money transfers, card transactions and remittances.
This constitutes a fundamental reworking of the global financial systems’ efficiency and security.
2. Contract Law
A lot of legal work revolves around writing and enforcing contracts. Contracts, in their present form, are physical. They are sent to and fro between parties to be signed. The most updated terms of a contract are easily misplaced, and the contracts are even lost altogether (an estimated 12-15% according to Aberdeen Group).
This is where smart contracts have a huge impact.
A smart contract is “a computer protocol—an algorithm—that can self-execute, self-enforce, self-verify and self-constraint the performance of ‘its instructions’ ”- Tim Swanson.
In the legal context, write your contract, translate it into a code, and then you have a non-falsifiable contract that will execute itself when the terms of the smart contract are fulfilled. Some states in the US are currently codifying the use of smart contracts in the law. While there are some kinks to be ironed out, it is only a matter of time smart contracts become more prevalent and accepted.
3. Land Registry
Many countries are actively looking into blockchain to solve land registry. A seemingly simple task of knowing who owns what land is, in reality, a messy one, because documents and envelopes being easily misplaced. It is estimated by the World Bank that 70% of the world’s population lacks access to land titling.
With blockchain, we have a solution that cannot be meddled with. Everyone will have a record of all the land titles, which cannot be changed to suit their agendas, and will reduce a lot of inconvenience and fraud. This is already being implemented from countries like Sweden to India.
4. Health Care
In the health care industry, patients may visit different doctors in different places under different names for different ailments. Keeping track of a patient’s medical history becomes difficult. Blockchain is a possible way of reliably recording all these changes, and could save national healthcare systems lots of money.
It is also way more convenient for processing insurance claims. Blockchain would reduce fraud and errors in healthcare records, and might just save lives in the process.
5. Personal Identity
An estimated 1.5 billion people in the world do not have proper identification, rendering them invisible to the world and vulnerable to exploitation. Technology firms are currently exploring the use of blockchain to record personal identities. Microsoft “imagine[s] a world where an individual can register their identity in a cross blockchain fashion, providing a single namespace for lookup regardless of blockchain of choice”.
This blockchain-based system is designed to be self-sovereign: individuals will still own the “asset” of their identity and may choose to share their attributes with people who need to know.