Blockchain is most simply defined as a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. As a database, blockchain stores information electronically in a digital format and the technology is best known for its crucial role in maintaining and securing cryptocurrency systems. It also guarantees the fidelity and security of a record of data and generates trust without the need for a third party, which significantly streamlines processes with end-to-end visibility and traceability.
Created originally to power digital currencies, the technology’s adoption rate has been rapidly picking up speed with its list of potential use cases growing beyond facilitating the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. There are various technological projects that are based on blockchain, across sectors such as finance, manufacturing and charity. In this article, we will explore a selection of these emerging applications and share how companies have leveraged the technology to increase trust, security, transparency, and the traceability of data shared across a business network.
Transforming the financial services industry
Whilst many traditional banks are taking a “wait and see” approach when it comes to blockchain technology, FinTech companies have been some of the earliest adopters of the technology. This has meant that they have quickly secured important portions of the finance market, leaving other banks by the wayside. As a result, these outdated financial institutions are running the risk of entering the blockchain market too late and falling behind their digitally-savvy counterparts who have already made their mark.
Many businesses believed that blockchain was just a buzzword in the FinTech industry, but they have been proven wrong as the global blockchain market is predicted to be worth a staggering $1,431.54 billion by 2030. Now, the question is whether established banks can jump on the blockchain bandwagon and catch up with FinTech companies that have already adopted and implemented the technology. One way for them to do this is by acting quickly to cooperate with innovative newcomers to set up mutually beneficial platforms.
FinTech companies can help traditional banks to leverage the opportunities derived from blockchain technology, through SaaS solutions that offer customers digital assets in their own marketplace. Partnering with these companies means that banks will receive professional support during their blockchain adoption and can offer a combination of their traditional products and services with highly complementary technology-driven assets.
Furthermore, blockchain corporations are set to enable borderless crypto finance and lead the way in building fully compliant cryptocurrency exchanges and a marketplace for digital assets. When corporations embrace decentralised finance, financial products will become readily available on a public blockchain network, ensuring everyone has access to a financial system. This presents new and exciting opportunities for growth that can enhance existing operations and services within the financial services sector.
Powering manufacturing best practices
Manufacturers are also leveraging blockchain to enhance products throughout their lifecycle, with 24% of industrial manufacturing CEOs currently planning, piloting or implementing the technology. Blockchain has the potential to help manufacturers to streamline operations, gain greater visibility into supply chains and track assets with complete transparency. Not only will this revolutionise how they design and make their products, but it also creates remarkable opportunities for recognising areas for business growth.
In fact, in an international organisation that delivers cabins and steel parts for heavy machinery, recently leveraged blockchain technology to develop a method of determining the resale value of machinery. The ecosystem now provides comprehensive information about the analysed machine, not only by wear or usage but also by monitoring the current technical condition, combustion or workload. It is the perfect tool to support an organisation’s fleet management, as it provides businesses with access to authenticated information about the lifetime of their machinery.
Blockchain for charity fundraising
Furthermore, blockchain technology is set to have a huge impact on the charity sector, helping to manage and distribute funds in a secure and transparent way. Now that digital currencies have been firmly established, charities can begin engaging with a new set of donors internationally, without the restrictions of borders or currency exchange rates. With the ability to track and trace donations with complete transparency, trust is drastically improved with donors as they can see exactly where their donations are being spent.
Polish based IT company, with polish chapter of UNICEF has launched in 2019 its „Inspired Gifts“ project which proposed an alternative way to improve the well-being of children around the world. Based on own blockchain technology by IT company, the charity can determine where funds from UK companies, that were previously spent on buying presents for their business partners, should be best allocated. Donations were divided into two categories: education and medicine. This includes drugs to fight diseases such as polio or tetanus, antimalarial preparations and antibiotics for infants. In addition to medical supplies, donors could also choose educational materials, which allow children to continue their education wherever they are in the world.
Future of blockchain
Ultimately, blockchain technology is more than just hype and has made significant strides in its widespread adoption with no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. It is predicted to influence and reshape many areas of the industrial landscape, and its possibilities are endless across the finance, manufacturing and charity sectors to name a few. In fact, it is expected that corporations will spend $20 billion per year on blockchain technical services by the end of 2024.
This means that now is the time for businesses to build an understanding of how technology will change the way industry operates, processes transactions, manages data and delivers services. The adoption of blockchain, and the technology and products it supports, will continue to create opportunities for businesses. Ensuring that they have the right framework and resources will be vital for long-term success. Whilst there are challenges to overcome, these should not be viewed as obstacles or barriers to adoption, but rather as solutions for technological innovation. The current applications and success stories prove that blockchain adoption will continue to grow and organisations should remain optimistic about the future.