Over the years, Bitcoin has undergone a rock-star like persona; the poster child of the digital currency revolution. Cryptocurrencies have been raucous, due to the massive 4,500% surge in market capitalization between early 2017 and January 2018. This additionally catapulted the crypto sphere into a $138.6 billion market.
The industry’s big brothers have been quite vocal in showcasing their skepticism towards cryptocurrencies. Although there has even been an open show of contempt towards crypto with some terming it as worse than tulip bulbs” and a bubble, the skeptics, business leaders and technologists have not failed to notice the potential of crypto’s backbone, the blockchain.
This open and shared database can be used in industries ranging from health, financial, shipping, mines, logistics and engineering among others. As the crypto sphere endures its bearish run, things have heated up in the blockchain world.
According to Lori Beer, the Global Chief Information Officer (GIO) at J.P Morgan, blockchain is going to replace existing technology in a few years. She noted that blockchain today only coexists with the current technology but it will replace it in a few years.
J.P Morgan has now built a blockchain based payment platform and has signed up over 75 financial institutions to test it and make it market ready. Blockchain`s potential for a cross-industry broad ecosystem application has propelled it in the innovation foreground.
Usefulness of blockchain integration
A smart contract has a predefined order of steps that have to be met for validation of transactions. Once these steps are achieved, the next door of action will open automatically. In the insurance industry, for example, this would assist in the growth of peer to peer validations.
Building of static registries
Blockchain records can be stored for reference, eliminating, for example, ambiguity in title ownership. Documents stored via blockchain are immutable without the uncertainty witnessed with standard land title storage systems. All records in the blockchain network are time stamped and there is a transparent and traceable path of origin. This system is of supreme value to the storage of patents, original ledgers, research records or food safety records.
Creating functional payment and dynamic registries
This feature works very well for drug supply chains and cryptocurrency payment networks. It helps in mapping all stops and movements of assets on a digital platform. Furthermore, it helps to stop counterfeits.
Blockchain has sparked a lot of Research and Development, and innovation across most Fortune 500 companies ranging from finance to the retail sector. The financial sector was the first to adopt to blockchain technology and with good cause.
Blockchain technology sounded the death knell for most financial services businesses because it eliminates third-party players. Shipping, automobile, aviation, and telecom companies have quickly caught up commensurably. Today, most multinationals are investing and filing patents for blockchain based innovation, and some are at the implementation stage.
The adoption and integration of blockchain innovation by industry
MasterCard, Goldman Sachs, Visa, American Express, Citibank and J.P Morgan are to name but just a few, financial institutions that are carrying out pilots and tests on blockchain based innovations. American Express has filed for a patent for a unique rewards program that utilizes record keeping.
It will compensate its new customers with cryptocurrency for reward points. This reifies the power of the blockchain. Visa, on the other hand, is running a pilot called “B2B Connect“, a blockchain based business payments service. MasterCard’s patented innovation will enhance payment processing speeds.
Volkswagen and Renault are equally innovating in the field of vehicle telematics tracking. This system captures a vehicle’s data on mileage, maintenance and repair; and the engine usage history via the blockchain. Manufacturers, buyers, insurance companies, and dealers can then access information pertaining to the vehicle with accuracy. Toyota, on the other hand, is building a decentralized exchange for purchasing and selling independent data on vehicle driving.
Shipping and aviation
Maersk is innovating on ways of tracking cargo and freight movement. Airbus is also innovating on jet plane tracking while Lufthansa has a user blockchain based app. Airfrance is working on a distributed database for its supply chain, one that tracks aircraft maintenance workflow systems as well.
Blockchain enhances transparency and security in shipping perishables in the industry. It enables companies to keep records of shipments right from the entry data points, size, weight up to the shipment location. Each shipment can be tracked at every level. Data is decentralized and information stored across diverse locations thus making it impossible for individuals to tamper with the records.
Walmart has its sights set on tracking the movement of supplies from China. Alibaba, on the other hand, is developing a blockchain network to monitor the authenticity of products on its supply chain to eliminate counterfeits.
Blockchain bridges the gap on trust for consumers. It offers consumer- based possibilities that enhance the shopping experience. Under retail, it has several use cases in the areas of management of loyalty points, fraud prevention and product provenance.
Online Data Ownership
Social media platforms have recently gone through cases of data breach. Major giant platforms in the industry such as Google, Facebook and other tech platforms have to contend with data privacy and responsibility of data protection.
Blockchain thus comes in handy in tackling the issue of data protection. Blockchain allows the option of locking self-governed digital identity with a private key. Vetri, a blockchain data marketplace, allows marketers and other consumers to buy anonymized data from users who sell it willingly. Once the sellers release the data from their digital identity wallets, they receive their payments via cryptocurrencies.
Conclusively, Blockchain technology is still on its early stages of evolution. The giant steps taken so far towards a decentralized future full of trust and security is exciting and worth all the investments placed on it.
Featured image via BigStock.