The blockchain technology has been getting a lot of attention. As a result, many industries are trying to incorporate the blockchain. But what is a blockchain business?
What is a Blockchain Business?
Blockchain’s core advantages are decentralization, cryptographic security, transparency, and immutability. It allows information to be verified and value to be exchanged without having to rely on a third-party authority. Rather than there being a singular form of blockchain, the technology can be configured in multiple ways to meet the objectives and commercial requirements of a particular use case. Its two fundamental functions—record keeping and transacting.
How Does Blockchain Work?
“Block” is digital piece of information stored in a public database (the “chain”). Blocks store the following information about transactions:
- date, time, and the amount of your purchase;
- who is participating in transactions.
- information that distinguishes them from other blocks. Much like you and I have names to distinguish us from one another, each block stores a unique code called a “hash” that allows us to tell it apart from every other block. Even though the details of your new transaction would look nearly identical to your earlier transaction, we can still tell the blocks apart because of their unique codes.
A single block on the blockchain can actually store up to 1 MB of data. Depending on the size of the transactions, that means a single block can house a few thousand transactions under one roof.
In order for a block to be added to the blockchain, however, four things must happen:
- A transaction must occur.
- That transaction must be verified with other public records of information, like the Securities Exchange Commission, Wikipedia, or your local library, there’s someone in charge of vetting new data entries. With blockchain, however, that job is left up to a network of computers. These networks often consist of thousands (or in the case of Bitcoin, about 5 million) computers spread across the globe. They confirm the details of the purchase, including the transaction’s time, amount, and participants.
- After your transaction has been verified as accurate, it gets the green light and is stored in a block.
- That block must be given a hash. Once hashed, the block can be added to the blockchain.
When that new block is added to the blockchain, it becomes publicly available for anyone to view — even you. If you take a look at Bitcoin’s blockchain, you will see that you have access to transaction data, along with information about when (“Time”), where (“Height”), and by who (“Relayed By”) the block was added to the blockchain.
What does Blockchain Mean for Business?
The use cases can be divided into six categories:
The blockchain uses we will discuss here include the following:
In 2017, a Unity Settlement Coin (USC) consortium of the world’s largest banks joined forces to exploit the benefits of blockchain technology. The USC partners expect to make it faster and safer for central banks to settle transactions.
Wall Street has formed its own consortium as well. WSBA is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to helping participants adopt distributed ledger technology and smart contracts by educating partnering financial firms.
Smart Contracts are mini-programs that automatically execute agreements between various parties when certain conditions are met. It can be all kind of agreements: stock trades, real estate transactions, supply chain management, etc. Since smart contracts execute automatically, there is no middleman to manage the transaction or collect fees. You could think of a smart contract as a peer-to-peer legal agreement.
The automotive industry expects the connected car market to exceed $219 billion by 2025. The new technology will serve the connected car industry in many different ways:
- Automating supply chain management tasks.
- Facilitating the encryption, transport, distribution, and storage of the massive amounts of data connected cars generate every minute.
- Serving cloud-hosting services for OEMs and 3rd-party service providers.
- Tracking vehicle location, operation, and maintenance throughout the vehicle’s lifetime.
From patient admittance to recording surgical results, every patient represents a torrent of data that must be kept accurate, accessible, as secure. Here are a few ways the technology is already being used:
- Storage of patient medical records.
- Tracking data through clinical trials.
- Providing healthcare provider directory management.
- Automating insurance approvals and providing eligibility information.
- Tracking inventory for medical devices, supplies, and equipment.
Internet of Things
The IoT market is slated to top $2.48 trillion in revenue by 2022. Here are a few applications where blockchain is being used to make IoT fast, flexible, and secure:
- Automating community solar energy cooperatives.
- Hosting unit-tracking platforms for law enforcement.
- Hosting and automating smart city Internet of Infrastructure (IoT) processes.
- Offering trust and verification solutions to the IoT industry.
- Executing smart contracts between components of the IoT infrastructure.
The adoption of blockchain for travel passports and visas is inevitable. Here are the advantages of having a digital passport:
- The process of receiving a passport can be reduced significantly.
- The same information is available to all authorized users in real time.
- Changes that suddenly limit or restrict a person’s right to travel become effective immediately.
- Travel providers can automatically check a customer’s travel authorization before selling them a ticket.
- Authorities can quickly track suspected terrorists’ travels in real time.
Washoe County, Nevada (USA) has simplified and modernized the process by putting marriage certificates on the blockchain. The digitized process for obtaining a certified marriage certificate includes:
- Placing an order for your certificate by phone or mail.
- Your certificate is created on the Ethereum blockchain and assigned a cryptographic hash.
- A copy of your certificate is emailed to you as a PDF.
- The PDF can be shared, and verification credentials are included in the file.
Voting with blockchain carries the potential to eliminate election fraud and boost voter turnout, as was tested in the November 2018 midterm elections in West Virginia. Each vote would be stored as a block, making them nearly impossible to tamper with. The protocol would also maintain transparency in the electoral process, reducing the personnel needed to conduct an election and provide officials with instant results.
Here are just a few advantages the companies will get from using blockchain for insurance:
- Processes are simplified.
- Turnaround times are reduced.
- Improved efficiency and risk management mean reduced premiums.
- Fraud detection and prevention is greatly improved.
- Policy information and owner health/driving history is available to authorized parties.
While a conventional paper will is better than nothing, digital technology offers something better:
- Secure storage of information regarding bank accounts.
- Information regarding grave location and pre-planning can be stored in a centralized location.
- Storage of information regarding how the owner wishes the property to be distributed.
- Direct storage of digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and stocks.
- Smart contracts minimize the need for attorneys.
Using smart contracts and IoT technology, blockchain can keep an eye on your berries from the tree to the table. If any safety step gets missed along the way, smart contracts will not let the berries go any further:
- Detecting that a grower failed to perform soil testing.
- Detecting that the air conditioning failed on a tractor-trailer delivering food to market.
- Identifying delays in shipment that could reduce food’s shelf life.
- Detecting failed quality checks during food processing.
- Reporting a failed sanitation inspection at the restaurant.
What are the Blockchain companies?
Thousands of innovative blockchain technology companies around the world are trying to solve market inefficiencies by leveraging the benefits that digital technology provides. These companies can be found in every industry, from content creation and transportation to financial services.
The digital ecosystem flourishes due to tokenized economies, developers, service providers and entrepreneurs who are breaking the mold.
The World’s Largest Blockchain Companies
PATRON is one of Japan’s leading blockchain companies. They are currently building a decentralized influencer-marketing platform to eliminate inefficiencies in branded content and social media.
Celsius is a borrowing and lending platform will allow users to earn up to 5% interest on their crypto while taking loans at 9% interest, using their crypto as collateral. Celsius Network’s goal is to bring the next 100 million people into crypto, ultimately becoming the first killer app in the space.
Menlo One is a framework for building decentralized applications with the speed of a traditional web app. Their proof-of-reputation algorithm is an innovation for DApps, as is the speedy, decentralized database and cross-chain nodes at the center of its tech.
DACC is the world’s first content-based blockchain that features identity and access management (IAM) at the infrastructure level. This will revolutionize the digital content and media industries, as it offers users full control over content creation, access, and storage.
OmiseGo is an Ethereum-based financial network for payment services, merchants, and financial institutions. Their public OMG network and decentralized exchange enable transparent, peer-to-peer transactions of any asset in real-time.
Blockchangers consult their clients based on the assumption that governments will regulate cryptocurrency one day, which the creators of blockchain aimed to fight against. This is the most realistic way to consult clients who want to use crypto and blockchain — the only way governments can fight cryptocurrency fraud is by regulating it.
Its innovations allow for individuals and institutions to secure digital assets in storage that are physically disconnected from the internet until the moment users want to connect it for its intended purpose. The backbone of the Goldilock Security Suite is a patent-pending, remotely activated airgap security solution that is toggled by a non-IP command. This will enable a robust cryptocurrency key custody and storage of sensitive digital assets.
Gameflip allows gamers to transact any type of digital goods, and currently has 3 million members. After successfully hitting its token-sale hard cap, the FLP utility token can now be used to transact digital goods within the Gameflip marketplace. In the coming months, pilot program partners and publishers will begin integrating the Gameflip SDK, which will enable the transactions of approved in-game goods via the Blockchain.
Steem is like YouTube on blockchain, but instead of paying content creators in fiat currency, publishers use Steem to pay content creators in STEEM, the platform’s cryptocurrency, which is easily convertible to Bitcoin and Ether. Similar to how YouTube pays top content producers to create the platform’s best videos, publishers who use Steem can reward their top content creators and curators for publishing popular content.
Other Uses for Blockchain
There are multiple startup businesses that are utilizing blockchain technology to build their revolutionized software:
- Renewable Energy Exchange
The project runs on a platform called ENERGY, where members of the community can exchange power with each other, contributing to a more sustainable, connected future that’s better for us all.
- Foreign Aid Delivery
Blockchain has the power to revolutionize aid delivery in the developing world by making it possible to easily track the flow of funds, enabling anyone to confirm when aid has actually reached its intended recipients, without having been stolen or misappropriated.
- Real Estate Ownership and Mortgages
Moving real estate titles to a blockchain would reduce the possibility for fraud, theft or error.
- Cannabis Companies
The cannabis industry, like many others, is recently seeing an explosion of companies claiming to be implementing blockchain in one way or another.
Many cannabis businesses operating in legal states can only accept cash because of the banking challenges, which puts company revenue at the risk of been stolen or seized. PotCoin provides a decentralized banking infrastructure to the underserved legal marijuana market. By accepting PotCoin as payment, companies can easily transfer funds from customer’s digital wallets into the company’s wallet, keeping both the customer and the company safe. Other advantages include low fees and avoiding exchange rates.
- Diamond Industry
An immutable ledger would allow access to the full account of a particular diamond’s history and eliminate the possibility of forging documents, as every milestone of the gem’s destination would be recorded on the network.
With many practical applications for the technology already being implemented and explored, blockchain is finally making a name for itself