Developed by an anonymous group of coders, Bitcoin became one of the major disruptors in the digital payments space. But before it is finally accepted across the world as a legal mode for payments, its backbone technology, the blockchain, is reaching out to various other spheres.
Blockchain is a technology that stores all the information in a public ledger. A single change in information will change the code or “the hash” of the information, making it highly impossible to let any foul play go unnoticed. This is what makes blockchain special.
Technologists have understood this and are trying to use this technology elsewhere. Here are some of the use cases of blockchain in areas other than digital payments:
- Supply chain: Supply chain management has a lot data collected at various stages—right from the collection of raw products to manufacturing to distribution. A technology like blockchain has the ability to ensure transparency at all levels of the supply chain management. There are several organizations that use blockchain to this effect in supply chain. Provenance uses it to trace the entire journey of the product you buy to ensure transparency, whereas Everledger tracks various stages of diamond production and distribution.
- Public notary: One of the highlights of blockchain technology is that it is highly impossible to change the information entered in the database. With such an advantage, it is easier for governments to register birth and death records without being hampered by unlawful entities. Blockchain-based Governance 2.0 initiative Bitnation has collaborated with the Estonian government to provide e-residency. Such is the reach of this technology that even marriages have been officiated on blockchain!
- Intellectual property: Blockchain technology has also found applications in protecting intellectual property. Ascribe, a German service that allows artists to prove their artwork ownership, uses blockchain. UProov, which serves as a notary for digital content authenticated through timestamps and geolocation verification in real time, offers mobile proof on blockchain for photos, videos and other multimedia elements.
- Automation: The marriage of blockchain to the Internet of Things is what some firms, such as Australian-based Edgelogic, are looking at. For example, a sensor could report to the blockchain when it detects a problem in your house, which will trigger a set of instructions to make payment for repairs even before you figure out something is wrong.
- Medicine: Blockchain has not been explored in depth when it comes to medical use, but Genecoin converts the human DNA into data and then uploads it on the distributed ledger as a permanent cloud backup. This will be useful in case your descendants, who will only be speaking the digital language, want to track you down!