Blockchain use cases: How the technology is being applied across industries

By Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay

A recent report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled “Global Report on Blockchain and its Implications on Trade Facilitation Performance” highlights how blockchain technology has become ubiquitous outside the cryptocurrency domain. Distributed ledger technology, especially blockchain, has now become a transformative force with the potential to impact various industry sectors positively. This is far removed from the origins of blockchain as the underlying technology infrastructure for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Today, some of the capabilities which enable blockchain to power cryptocurrency-based transactions are also equally critical to the generation, transformation, exchange and verification of data streams produced by global businesses.

Blockchain technology is going through an adoption curve similar to cybersecurity best practices and encryption technology, making it integral to the modern economy. Some successful deployments at scale provide the catalyst and confidence to the business leaders still deciding on their IT strategies and how to include blockchain. A quick overview of how blockchain is part of the business across various industries would provide insights into how a decentralized, distributed, transparent and immutable data platform can be a game changer.

1. Finance and Banking 

Blockchain’s impact on the finance and banking sector has been profound. It enables secure and transparent peer-to-peer transactions without intermediaries. Distributed ledgers ensure data integrity and eliminate the need for reconciliation. Blockchain-based platforms facilitate cross-border payments, reducing costs and transaction times significantly. Moreover, smart contract-like systems automate contractual agreements, streamlining processes like settlements, asset management, and trade finance.

2. Supply Chain Management

Blockchain technology improves supply chain transparency, traceability, and efficiency. It creates an immutable and auditable ledger of transactions, allowing stakeholders to track the movement of goods from origin to destination. This transparency helps combat counterfeiting, enhance product authenticity, and ensure regulation compliance. Smart contract-like systems enable automated payments, inventory management, and quality control, reducing administrative burden and optimizing supply chain operations.

3. Healthcare 

Blockchain transforms healthcare by enabling secure and interoperable data exchange among different entities. Patient medical records can be securely stored and accessed, preventing data breaches and promoting patient privacy. Blockchain also facilitates clinical trials, allowing secure data sharing while preserving patient anonymity. Additionally, the technology enables efficient tracking and verification of pharmaceutical supply chains, reducing the risk of counterfeit drugs.

4. Real Estate 

Blockchain streamlines real estate transactions by reducing the need for intermediaries and improving transparency. Smart contract-like systems automate property transfers, ensuring conditions are met before transactions are finalized. Blockchain enables fractional ownership, making real estate investment accessible to a broader audience. Furthermore, the technology can be used for property title management, preventing fraud and disputes.

5. Energy and Utilities 

The energy sector benefits from blockchain’s potential by enabling decentralized energy trading and optimizing grid management. Peer-to-peer energy trading platforms allow consumers to buy and sell energy directly, reducing costs and promoting renewable energy adoption. Blockchain facilitates efficient tracking and verification of energy sources, ensuring the authenticity of green energy claims. Moreover, it streamlines billing and settlement processes among energy stakeholders.

6. Intellectual Property

Blockchain provides a decentralized and tamper-proof platform for managing intellectual property (IP) rights. Creators can register their work on the blockchain, establishing proof of ownership and timestamping. This technology allows for secure and transparent digital content licensing, distribution, and monetization. Smart contract-like systems can automatically enforce IP rights and royalty payments, reducing disputes and improving efficiency.

7. Transportation and Logistics

Blockchain optimizes logistics operations by improving transparency, traceability, and efficiency in transportation. Stakeholders can track the movement of goods, reducing delays and enabling more accurate delivery estimations. Blockchain-based platforms streamline freight documentation, reducing paperwork and improving customs clearance, automating payment settlements, and improving cash flow management for logistics providers.

8. Insurance 

Blockchain is used in the insurance industry to provide a transparent and secure platform for policy management, claims processing, and fraud detection. Distributed ledgers enable efficient verification of policyholder information and reduce the risk of duplicate or fraudulent claims. Claims settlements can be automated to ensure faster and more accurate payouts. Blockchain also facilitates the creation of parametric insurance products, which trigger automatic payouts based on predefined events or conditions.

Today, tokenless blockchains provide businesses with a way to mitigate exposure to speculative risks while providing compliance with established data regulations. As blockchain technology continues to be adopted, it is critical to have a policy environment that supports this digital transformation which brings about verifiable certification, digitally verifiable credentials and distributed data management. Inevitably, blockchain technology will also be part of AI, IoT and edge computing technology stacks.  

The author is VP Customer Experience, Dhiway

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