Introduced in 2008 as the technology enabler for Bitcoin, blockchain can now address many challenges across a wide range of industries. Its architecture and built-in trust mechanisms make blockchain implementation a perfect way to collect, store and share data. Blockchain, as most other innovative emerging technologies, has long had a status of a misunderstood and overhyped phenomenon, the potential of which was yet to be unlocked.
However, the sharpest minds together with industry visionaries, Itransition included, kept exploring blockchain’s immense potential. After hundreds of failed PoCs and pilot projects, blockchain is finally entering the phase of global recognition. Gartner’s 2019 Hype Cycle for Blockchain Business report states that 60% of CIOs expect to adopt blockchain in the next three years. In fact, a successful blockchain project can be found in almost any major industry. Let’s look at six real-life examples of blockchain implementation.
US Air Force and Others Use Blockchain to Ensure Data Security
Brand: Xage Security
Blockchain implementation area: IoT and security
Xage Security, a California-based cybersecurity firm, leverages blockchain to protect industrial IoT networks. Xage has already served more than 1,000 companies worldwide, ensuring secure data exchange between IoT devices in industrial ecosystems.
Xage’s expertise in blockchain-powered cybersecurity has recently sparked the interest of the US Air Force. Most military networks are centralized systems with thousands of connected devices, which makes them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Xage solves the challenge using its blockchain-based Security Fabric to store policies stipulating the terms of nodes joining the system and tracking their activity. The company was contracted by the USAF to enable a previously unattained level of data security.
Nonprofits Use Blockchain to Increase Transparency
Blockchain implementation area: Nonprofits and transparency
The level of trust and transparency attributed to charitable organizations directly correlates with donors’ willingness to contribute to the cause. It comes as no surprise, as corruption takes various forms in this industry: bribes, ill-spent funds, and favors for aid are common fraudulent acts.
The blockchain-powered charity platform GiveTrack reestablishes trust in nonprofits by enabling donors to track donations and see how exactly their funds make an impact. It is much easier to trace digital currencies than fiat ones. Moreover, blockchain integration provides the opportunity to transfer funds across borders much faster, which is essential for nonprofits.
Visa Uses Blockchain to Launch a B2B Payment Service
Blockchain implementation area: Payments
The inefficiency and frictions of cross-border payment processing have always been major concerns, especially among large corporations. Last year, Visa has finally found the answer to the problem with the launch of the blockchain-powered Visa B2B Connect, an end-to-end global payments network.
The network stands out with one critical feature — it can process payments without an intermediary. This enables organizations to settle funds on the same day or the day after the transfer while enhancing transparency and keeping data secure. The network uses blockchain’s cryptographically secured record-keeping ability to make transactions traceable and transparent. B2B Connect is now live in more than 60 markets around the world, with a goal to expand to 100 countries in 2020.
Spotify Uses Blockchain to Pay Royalties to Musicians
Brand: Spotify and Mediachain
Blockchain implementation area: Copyright management
Music has successfully shifted from physical sales to streaming and digital media downloading. While the benefits of such transformation are evident, it has become terribly complicated to pay royalties to the right people in the industry. Mediachain utilizes smart contracts to improve media attribution through an end-to-end protocol for registering, identifying and tracking creative works across the internet.
Mediachain started as an open media library, which allowed artists to virtually sign and timestamp their creative content on the blockchain network. With frequent licensing and copyright infringement disputes in the music industry, the Brooklyn-based startup has been eventually acquired by the world’s most popular streaming music service, Spotify.
MetLife Uses Blockchain to Transform Medical Insurance
Brand: MetLife, LumenLab
Blockchain implementation area: Insurance
Singapore-based MetLife’s incubator LumenLab developed a mobile app, Vitana, to help women with gestational diabetes get financial cover. 20% of women in Singapore develop this disease during pregnancy, and Vitana allows patients to get payouts without filing claims and doing paperwork. The practitioner enters positive test results into the patient’s medical data and the app automatically triggers a smart contract that deposits a payment into the patient’s bank account.
After the success of this 9-month pilot project, MetLife is now planning to take over a much broader niche. In June 2019, the company announced its plans to launch Lifechain, a blockchain-powered solution to enable automatic life insurance payouts to relatives.
Hospitals Use Blockchain to Streamline Data Aggregation
Blockchain implementation area: Healthcare
Healthcare has always been known as a data-intensive industry, which often leads to significant challenges concerning data collection and security, transparency, etc. Longenesis, a blockchain health data company, has recently closed a deal with one of the leading hospitals in Hong Kong.
Longenesis’ blockchain-powered solution enables efficient data collection and allows patients to have full control over their information. Every practitioner’s appointment or drug prescription is permanently recorded to the ledger. Besides the overall enhancement of hospital experience, the company also plans to sell patients’ data in transparent and secure ways.
Blockchain is still on its thorny path to maturity. Reduced energy and computing power consumption might be the deal breaker for widescale adoption. The more companies are going to implement the technology, the more significant the energy problem will become.
However, the most problematic issue with blockchain lies in its lack of interoperability. As you can see from the examples mentioned above, blockchain has only found its use where no integration with other systems is required. Almost every successful blockchain-powered solution was built from the ground up.
Business leaders are looking for ways to leverage blockchain advantages through integration rather than substitution. If blockchain’s level of recording, auditing and sharing information were attainable without replacing existing systems, blockchain adoption would become a no-brainer for many companies. Fortunately, experts predict a positive shift in this direction in the following year.
Blockchain creates new markets and financial instruments, but also enhances the ones we have adopted a long time ago, bringing them into the twenty-first century. The way blockchain can be applied to business processes shows us that the blockchain-driven digital transformation opens new horizons for companies of all sizes. The startups, solutions, and pilot projects mentioned above will inspire more tech leaders to look into blockchain.