Blockchain 2.0 - the use cases
After exploring in my first article the basic principles and benefits of the blockchain technology, I would like to bring to you some business examples. These are companies taking advantage of this new technology, and exploring how we can rethink and better our traditional processes. These examples are out of the cryptocurrency field (no Bitcoin in here!) to demonstrate the huge diversity in this technology. Let's see innovations in sustainability, retail and healthcare!
1. Use sustainable energy from your neighbour
The Brooklyn Microgrid project establishes a communal energy network, where members can buy and sell excess solar energy. In this model the utility provider still maintains the network, but part of the energy is provided and traded by the community.
Prosumers, people who produce their own energy can sell to other consumers on the microgrid, their own small network. The DSO, distributed system operator, takes care of load balancing and demand on negotiated rates. When a charging station, solar panel or electric panel has excess energy, it is made available for purchase on the local network. Consumers use a mobile app to set up budgets and be notified about available energy.
What does this mean? That people creating their own renewable energy, can sell via an app to people looking to buy more sustainable energy in their neighborhood. The microgrid helps create a small, more effective, sustainable and resilient community.
The Brooklyn Microgrid is made possible by LO3 Energy, providing innovative blockchain solutions for energy management.
2. Reduce plastic waste with blockchain
Plastic Bank is helping regions living in poverty to incentivise collecting plastic waste,
by enabling the exchange of plastic for money, items or tokens via blockchain technology. They provide above market rates, help to set up shops with local entrepreneurs where plastic is the new currency. From the collected plastic new items are produced and sold under the trademark Social Plastic. Companies, such as Henkel, Shell, Norton Point, Eat Natural has teamed up with Plastic Bank to recycle old plastic into new products, helping communities in poverty, and serving the environment. So why is blockchain crucial in this process? As trading on the blockchain makes business transparent, and enables consumers to exchange plastic not just for money, but for products and services they need. People are able to charge their phones, pay tuition fees, buy cooking oil, while trading on the blockchain. Transactions are transparent, and make available services without subscription or a bank account.
3. Know what you buy
The Almond blockchain platform enablers consumers to trace back where did their product come from to the origin of the ingredients. This gives more information to the consumers, and builds transparency and trust with companies. The system works with having small QR code hidden on the product, which consumers are able to scan to display all information. Consumers also earn tokens by scanning the products, serving as a reward for loyalty. Each ingredient is signed off by their external provider, then sent to the manufacturer, who proves that all ingredients have been received and produced accordingly. All this data is recorded on the blockchain, and is visible on the application proving authenticity. This level of radical transparency helps building deeper, more meaningful relationships with a high level of trust. It will also hopefully encourage other brands to employ such openness and transparency in their business.
4. Track your valuables
Everledger is a company which help track and protect valuable throughout their lifetime journey and preventing fraud. The asset and its characteristics are recorded on the blockchain, and tracked throughout its journey, giving proof of authenticity. Meaning, you can trace back to the exact location where a diamond was mined, see all the manufacturers who worked on it, or people who owned it. On Everledger, developed with IBM, you ensure you buy an original, trustworthy and sustainable product.
But a video is better than a thousand words, watch it here!
5. Take charge of your health and data
Let's think about our medical data: some of our records are with our doctor, dentist, insurance company, emergency services, specialists and so on. Our medical data is spread on many individual networks, and it is hard to keep track where all of our information is, and mostly it is not with us. Medrec, developed in MIT, wants to innovate how we store, use, and direct our medical data. By using blockchain technology, we can safely store all of our medical data in one place, and decide as owners of the data with whom we wish to share which part of the data real time. Medical researchers provide the energy necessary for maintaining and extending the platform in return for privacy maintaining meta-data (they would know how many people in the network have diabetes, but not who they are).
Why is this great? Because this makes our medical data available when we need it, and we can decide who can see what of this data. Our specialist, doctor, dentist, emergency services could get real time necessary data, making sure we have better care.
Healthcare is also one of the top areas for cyber attacks with the plenty individual, small, unsafe systems. Blockchain structure and encryption protocols make a much safer way to store highly sensitive data.
There is plenty of usability and advantages to this technology, for more please read the article here.
These are just a few small examples from the Blockchain business field, there is plenty more to come. Check out for example Flashboys or Stratumn developing blockchain based projects for plenty of industries and companies.
I hope this gave you a small picture of the thousands of possibilities lying in this technology, and its potential to change how we do business. We can make our world more sustainable, efficient and safe by establishing trust and transparency, real time distribution of information and services.
So what do you think? Which service would you use the most? What other business ideas could we establish on blockchain technology? What are your cons?
Share your opinion, questions or comments here or in private!
Resources: http://brooklynmicrogrid.com/ https://lo3energy.com/ http://www.businessinsider.com/sc/this-is-how-blockchain-could-clean-up-the-worlds-oceans-2018-6 https://www.plasticbank.org/ https://www.everledger.io/ https://viral.media.mit.edu/pub/medrec https://medrec.media.mit.edu/ https://rubygarage.org/blog/implementing-blockchain-in-business https://www.forbes.com/sites/yoavvilner/2018/06/27/5-blockchain-product-use-cases-to-follow-this-year/#dd0e6fd1b60b http://www.almond.io/#story https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/technology-enabling-age-radical-transparency-within-business https://socialspacemag.org/easy-does-it-blockchain/ https://www.altoros.com/blog/a-close-look-at-everledger-how-blockchain-secures-luxury-goods/