Since the emergence of bitcoin, the blockchain technology has witnessed a meteoric rise in its popularity, not only due to its high levels of security, but also for the relative low costs of its setup. Throughout this article, we will look at blockchain use cases, apart from its use in cryptocurrencies, while stressing on the merits of this innovation.
Notaries, Escrow and Proof of Existence (PoE) Applications:
Today, there are a number of startups that utilized the blockchain technology to build systems that could omit the need for notaries. Notaries are usually inefficient and expensive to create and even though they are built for purposes other than validating documents, this purpose represents the major application of notaries. Blockchains have the features that enable them to validate the existence, integrity and ownership of any form of data, using an approach that is accurate, decentralized, inexpensive, reliable and counterfeit-proof. Utilization of the blockchain technology in such application doesn’t require actual storage of the document on the blockchain, only the cryptographic digest has to be stored. Blocksign is an example of blockchain notaries.
Some have also proposed the use of the blockchain technology in the implementation of Escrow services. Escrow services are necessary in the real estate business as sellers and buyers usually need verification from 3rd parties, which would be omitted via using bitcoin’s blockchain which can permit automatic execution of contracts once a purchase or a selling order has been verified.
Newspaper Subscriptions and Music Sharing Applications:
Blockchains can benefit any business model that relies on a public database and also any industry that requires low transaction fees microtransactions. Newspaper subscriptions and music sharing represent two examples that can fit under these criteria. The blockchain could offer daily newspaper subscriptions or a “pay-per-view” payment option instead of the monthly subscription models offered by most news services.
Music sharing is already an industry that is utilizing the blockchain technology and Mycelia represents a product that offers such service. Although Mycelia is still in the beginning phase, it is considered one of the blockchain applications that have gone a long way to becoming a viable application in the music industry. Mycelia gives the artist a more powerful control over his/her produced music and can promote microtransactions occurring directly between consumers and artists.
Electronic voting has been hurdled from being applied to the election system in the US by a number of issues including databases’ security, possible counterfeiting of the votes that have been cast and voters’ fraud. All these issues can be solved, in a way or another, via the blockchain technology. For instance, when it comes to voters’ fraud, there are currently 12 companies using the blockchain technology for purposes of identification and authentication.
ShoCard is one of those companies whose security is sound enough to the limit that banks can rely on its services. ShoCard are already utilizing their technology in securing bank loans and helping airline companies verify the identity of their passengers via facial recognition and other forms of data that are stored on blockchains. This same technology could be adapted to be utilized for registration of voters. Moreover, the innate characteristics of the blockchain technology render it ideal for prevention of influencing the voting procedure by any group of people who might have control over the databases.
Follow My Vote is a service that has achieved significant progress in building a voting platform that permits great convenience along the voting process, while also promoting absolute transparency throughout the whole process. When a block is created to store votes’ tallies, modifying users’ votes is almost impossible, especially when implementing means for verification of voters to the blockchain protocol. Deployment of a voting system using the blockchain technology would markedly decrease the cost of elections, according to Follow My Vote.
A number of startups have gained much popularity via utilization of the blockchain technology and many unexplored possibilities are yet to be experimented. Some technologies seem currently noncompliant with the blockchain technology, yet the blockchain itself is relatively brand new to the world, so even though some ideas might seem not to able to mold properly with the blockchain technology, future technologies are more likely to offer ideal options.