When we talk about the blockchain, we inevitably return to the next question “But what’s the point?” Indeed, the blockchain is not intended to be exposed as such to the end user unlike web or mobile applications. However, it is legitimate to ask what is possible with the blockchain from a business point of view, and the good news is that today there is a multitude of use cases depending sectors of activity.Blockchain is the most innovative and disruptive technology that is ruling the planet today Click To Tweet
Banking and Insurance
The first industry to be interested in the blockchain are bankers and insurers. Indeed, they clearly understood that the blockchain could make them disappear as intermediaries in their markets and that it was, therefore, necessary to quickly worry about appropriating it to determine the level of threat that it represents. Thus in the bank, several initiatives are in progress. One example is R3 CEV, a New York start-up that started working on blockchain with the initial ambition of providing an alternative to the Swift network, the global interbank system owned by banks. R3 brings together more than 70 of the bank’s partners on its project and is currently developing the Corda solution, a private blockchain or DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) that will allow terminating Swift.
We should also note in Europe, the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations initiative which created the LaBChain consortium. The goal is to build a niche group in which bankers, insurers and manufacturers use the blockchain ecosystem in their sectors, and launch experiments or new services based on the blockchain. The first case of use prototyped by the consortium is the process of KYC (Know Your Customer) which is necessary for the bank as in the insurance and which is imposed by the regulator. KYC involves knowing as precisely as possible who are the customers who subscribe to products and services.
In the world of insurance, we can mention Axa with its fizzy service that helps ensure against a flight delay. The idea is that simply and quickly you are automatically compensated in the event of delay of your aircraft on takeoff or landing without having anything to declare. All this being managed through a smart contract on Ethereum. Others had already launched this type of initiatives such as InsurEth startups or Flight Delays.
In the energy sector, the Brooklyn Microgrid project aims to enable a group of people producing solar energy to manage the flow of electricity generated on a community scale in a way through smart contract based on Ethereum. This use case demonstrates very merely how a community of users can decide to do without intermediaries, the famous trusted third parties, by using the blockchain: automate tasks, bring trust between individuals and make everything transparent and immutable.
In another register, we may also note that there are many other opportunities in energy. For example, the PwC firm conducted a study in which automated billing systems, automatic billing and accounting, and state-of-the-art photovoltaic systems or smart metering systems are everyday use cases. That could revolutionise the sector. Even if today technical and operational constraints are still obstacles to the adoption of the industry, blockchain also has the power to disrupt an entire industry through decentralisation.
The supply chain is not left out!
Everledger startup, whose role is to certify a diamond and guarantee its origin, ownership and history throughout the diamond’s life. For that Everledger issues a card of an identity of the diamond (comprising dimensions, form, purity, micro identifier engraved on the diamond, along with owner info) and saves it within a transaction on the blockchain, which makes the information indelible and traceable. Thus, in case of theft, it will be possible to find easily and quickly the owner of the diamond, but it also avoids any risk of forgery on the purchase of a stone.
We can, therefore, imagine from here other cases of use for tracking, different types of goods such as containers on boats, drugs, raw materials in the food sector, the works of art. The blockchain brings a level of traceability of property from end to end and at a lower cost. Indeed, it is enough for a simple identifier and a set of descriptive metadata of the goods, then to register them in a blockchain transaction. Currently, many companies, blockverify to name a few, are positioning themselves in this sector and developing solutions to reduce the risk of counterfeiting and theft through this new form of traceability.