There is no denying that blockchain is here to stay. While most people associate blockchain with cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, its reach stretches far beyond. Blockchain already has fundamentally disrupted numerous industries and this will only accelerate as time goes on. While the prices of the cryptocurrency market plummeted in 2018, many companies were hard at work trying to build the future. Their undying dedication to the ethos of a decentralized world has given birth to a myriad of solutions and different use cases. Below is a list of the top 12 use cases we are likely to see come to fruition by 2030.
As many countries like Bulgaria, Turkey, and China are beginning to hoard Bitcoin, it seems to be on its way to becoming “digital gold.” Unlike physical gold, Bitcoin does not have the same storage costs and transactional obstacles. Therefore, it is much easier for a country to transfer $1 billion in Bitcoin versus gold. While people in Venezuela and other unbanked countries have flocked to Bitcoin, for reasons other than trading or investing, the price is currently too volatile for it to be truly considered a store of value. Nevertheless, many predict that Bitcoin’s price will stabilize as the asset matures over time.
Companies like Ripple and Jibrel are revolutionizing many archaic aspects of Finance. What took days or weeks for departments with thousands of people can now take seconds without much human intervention whatsoever. More and more processes within middle / back office, compliance, and legal departments are becoming increasingly automated as financial products move on-chain. All this is creating a far more efficient system that is less vulnerable to fraud, more inclusive, and much more friendly towards the end consumer.
Voting is a process central to the function of many governments. However, it is highly prone to manipulation. The immutability of blockchain could eliminate problems such as ballot stuffing, double counting, and other types of voter fraud. Blockchain would also enable more people to vote by simplifying the process and perhaps even allowing people to vote from the comfort of their homes.
Ever tried to buy something and notice that there was a “credit card minimum?” This is because any retailer that accepts credit cards is paying fees to a credit card processor — the company that owns the machine into which you insert your card. These fees can often be quite high when they add up and utilizing cryptocurrency for such transactions would greatly reduce these costs. Since retailers may not want to accept payments in a currency that may be worth X% less an hour later, solutions have been developed that instantly convert a cryptocurrency payment to cash at the time a transaction is made. Thus, it is no surprise that retailers like WholeFoods and Nordstrom announced that they would be accepting cryptocurrency.
The taxation process involves the collection of funds from the public and distribution of those funds among various government programs. Blockchain-enabled regulation would automatically collect and distribute such payments. Furthermore, it would empower citizens by allowing them to see exactly how their government is appropriating their hard-earned money. This would eliminate a lot of corruption and under the table shenanigans that are currently only brought to light by whistleblowers.
Blockchain will enable medical records to be stored on-chain. While this may not seem too revolutionary, this would allow information to be easily shared with insurance companies, other doctors, and hospitals. Synchronizing a fragmented system in such a way could lead to a much higher level of care and a reduction in medical errors. Your entire patient history would be in one place, and any doctor you visit would have access instantly. Doctors would no longer have to go through the cumbersome effort piecing it all together from different sources.
From opening a new bank account to getting into a bar, proof-of-identity is a central part of everyday life. However, identity is often compromised or stolen with central data storages acting as farms ripe for harvest to the right hackers. In fact, many big corporate hacks have resulted in stolen user data. The decentralized nature of blockchain can help prevent such malicious attacks from occurring. From opening a new bank account to getting into a bar, proof of identity is a central part of everyday life.
A 10 trillion dollar security token market is unfolding, combining the power of blockchain technology with standardized securities. Unlike utility tokens, security tokens are fully compliant representations of ownership in traditional asset classes such as real estate, equities, and art. With these coins set to take the stage in 2019, industries that deal with physical and non-divisible assets will, for the first time, be open to a much broader market. This includes real estate, art, fundraising, intangibles (copyrights, etc.), as well as almost anything else of value we can think of.
Blockchain can help cut out middlemen that are synonymous with the snail like nature that defines bureaucracies. From buying property to selling a car, blockchain would make records readily available for relevant parties, executing title transfers automatically, and cutting out superfluous intermediaries from the process.
With the edtech market expected to reach over $90 billion by 2020, blockchain is positioned to capture a good chunk of that. Blockchain can be utilized for storing college degrees and certificates, creating more efficient school libraries, and much more. For example, the University of Bahrain (UoB) recently announced that it would be issuing digital diplomas via the blockchain. This initiative makes UoB one of the first universities globally to issue digital diplomas and is supported by the Information and eGovernment Authority in Bahrain. UoB students will now have greater control over their records, significantly reducing the time needed for credential verification by employers. Furthermore, the issuance system to be used will also enable governments and corporations in the region to issue immutable certificates at scale.
Many different parties handle the products that end up in our hands. These include manufacturers, suppliers, delivery services, and drivers. With so many different parties handling a product, bad actors have ample opportunity for mischief. While counterfeit clothes and luxury goods may not seem catastrophic, counterfeit drugs are. The World Health Organization reported that fake drugs are a $75 billion industry, claiming the lives of over a hundred thousand victims a year. By reducing the number of parties, standardizing communication, and unifying a very fragmented system, supply chains around the world will be more efficient and far cheaper to operate.
Despite good intentions, charities struggle to gain the public’s trust to allocate their capital. Today, even some of the most reputable charities may allocate as little as 30% of donations to the causes those funds are intended to benefit. Blockchain’s transparency and ability to accurately track funds will allow charities to operate more openly. Charities that offer security tokens could guarantee honest distribution of their member’s donations. Token holders would also gain access to real-time updates on how their funds are used at the project level.
Ultimately, the creation of smart contract technology has allowed the expansion of blockchain into many different industries. Any industry that seeks greater transparency and security with less intermediary layers stands to benefit. As some of the biggest companies work diligently to implement blockchain solutions into their businesses, it is only a matter of time until these solutions come to fruition.