Blockchain is an organized sequence (chain) of linked lists (blocks) that can contain various information. It is a universal distributed data network that records all transactions and is of high level of resistance to preserved data change.
Blockchain technology defined cryptocurrencies market performance. But today blockchain is used in everyday life as well. We will tell you about different fields of its application:
Even now, blockchain has kicked start the development of privately owned power industry. Wind engines and solar panels produce power the excess of which is wasted, whereas it can be saved and distributed among other consumers. For example, in Germany private households can provide grid power storage services. It means they will accumulate ‘excess’ electric power which can be sold to other consumers.
For managing such systems, German solar panels producers and European grid operator TonneT are building a protected blockchain system.
The use of blockchain can render the government of the whole countries transparent: from keeping real estate registers to maintaining decision-making systems on different levels of the government. In Russian Rosreestr, the first steps in switching to blockchain system have already been taken. The use of protected technology will ensure secure storage of information on real estate and its owners.
With the help of blockchain, the problem of corruption can be solved: state purchases, tenders and auctions become fair for all its participants. Blockchain can also be employed in holding elections of different levels which will bolster the legitimacy of the process and trust with the voters. Even now, Arseny Sheltsin, director of the Russian Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (RACIB) and Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Electoral Commission say that the next election of the president of the Russian Federation after 2018 will be held with the use of blockchain technology.
This will not only improve the efficiency of vote count at all stages but also cut financial charges. In Arisona, United States, bill on blockchain signatures and smart contracts has already been passed: these are held valid just as the familiar handwritten signature and written agreement.
Introducing blockchain in healthcare system will enhance the quality of service and treatment of patients. Patient visit records, test results, medical images, etc – all of these documents can be stored in a blockchain net.
Incorporating hospitals, outpatient clinics and laboratories in one system will allow collecting full medical history of each patient, and knowing the patient’s full medical history will allow doctors to make accurate diagnosis and assign effective treatment.
Worthy of separate attention is the record of doping tests in sport. Recording these data in blockchain will leave no opportunity for faking sportsmen’ test results. This will reduce the number of doping-related problems dramatically.
Blockchain can also help maintain confidentiality of fitness tracker and smartwatch users. Today the data on pulse rate, physical activity, blood type and diagnoses of every user are stored in the unprotected smartphone systems. Blockchain can help develop fitness tracker service allowing users to store private data on their health maintaining confidentiality at that.
Blockchain can be successfully used for the control of production processes. This will let the factories cut losses at all stages. For example, the system can record every product processing and production stage. This is particularly topical when working with subcontractors whose work is very difficult to control at every stage.
Building a blockchain net allows registering concealed work carried out. In other words, it is easier to control the quality of embedded elements (electrical installation, pipes, etc) with snapshots before concrete covering. Transparency of this process will extend the service life of structure and eliminate possible misapplication.
Due to the commercial development of blockchain, companies can significantly improve their income by means of contracting the counterfeit market for their goods. For example, each item can be assigned its own individual code which will let the customer track it back to the manufacturer’s website confirming its authenticity. This is particularly topical for the often counterfeited luxury goods.
Blockchain gives the users at opposite continents the opportunity to conduct direct secure payments with no agents involved. As we already mentioned, it was exactly due to the cryptocurrency market frenzy that blockchain became widely popular.
Financial field is in particular need of secure transactions and safe storage of the transactions records. Herman Gref makes occasional statements on introducing blockchain in Sberbank. For this purpose, big teams of developers are built. Sberbank has launched a special laboratory for research and development of blockchain. Banking experts told about having launched over 20 pilot projects with the use of blockchain technology. Besides, in December 2017 Sberbank took part in an experiment and made the first money transfer with the use of blockchain.
In January 2018, global money transfer service MoneyGram has announced collaboration with Ripple. MoneyGram transfer service is switching to xRapid system that was developed in Ripple on the base of blockchain. This technology will increase the speed of transactions, make them secure and lower cash transfer fees. Western Union is also reportedly planning collaboration with Ripple.
Implementation of blockchain technology in education will solve the problem of fake diplomas. The data on entering education institutions, studying, midterm and final assessment, term papers and diploma defense can all be registered. After some time, this approach will make it impossible to alter the registered data and issue a fake backdated diploma. When hiring an employee, any employer will be able to confirm the authenticity of a diploma in blockchain network of a Ministry of Education or an education institution. The same goes for receiving any additional education, postgraduate studies, training courses. In any field requiring accurate information on specialists’ education – medicine, law, power industry, etc. – the use of blockchain will help streamlining the process of identification and verification.
Graduates of three Greek universities (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Democritus University of Thrace and Athens University of Economics and Business) will be able to verify their diplomas and degrees received with the help of blockchain very soon now. The national research and education network of Greece (Greek Research and Technology Network, or GRNET) is developing a pilot project in collaboration with IOHK – company working with Cardano, a third generation blockchain system.
Transportation of goods is often connected with hundreds of locations, and it is hard to trace all the transportations in this logistics chain. Blockchain allows enhancing the transparency of logistics while cutting down on staff and the amount of paperwork. Should data on any lot of goods be necessary, blockchain will allow obtaining them within seconds, while intercorporate paperwork takes weeks and months.
Internet of Things
We are surrounded by smart sensors, counters, electric kettles… Some devices share data. Some processes are of critical value and demand increased security of information. An example of this can be remote data acquisition from sensors at industrial and power facilities, power stations, etc. Blockchain can also find application in data acquisition from metering units of housing and public utilities.
Services of booking hotel rooms and apartments become yet more convenient for clients and hotels with the use of blockchain. At the start of 2018, LockChain who has created blockchain-based booking service has announced signing contracts with 100 000 hotels worldwide. LockChain team guarantees fast and safe booking and cutting accommodation rates by 25-30%. For hotels, this is an opportunity to offer their guests lower prices and better conditions as well, because booking with LockChain does not include any commission percentage.
Copyright and Privacy
One of the major problems for media, photographers, writers, musicians and journalists today is copyright infringement. Blockchain will allow registering copyright holder as well as sale or transfer of copyright for text, music or pieces of art. Kodak Company has already developed KODAKOne, a service for photographers with the use of blockchain. Service users will be able to sell their photos safely and register the sale and data of the new owner. Also, Kodak specialists promise that the service will perform constant internet scanning, and in case of detecting a photo theft blockchain will help establish the true owner or author.
For ad makers, NYIAX has developed a blockchain service that will help closing safe transactions and cutting down commercial production costs, because the number of intermediaries decreases significantly with the use of it.
Blockchain will also help internet users. Madhive company has developed a system that offers monetizing advertisements, but observing the users’ confidentiality. This is particularly topical for the countries of the Europian Union where the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) shall enter into force in May 2018.