5 surprising real-life uses for Blockchain
background

5 surprising real-life uses for Blockchain

As we’re currently involved in three Blockchain projects at RomSoft, I cannot help but notice that the majority of people still associate Blockchain technologies mostly with crypto currencies and finance. But the fact is, since the birth of Bitcoin in 2009, experts have started to see the potential of Blockchain technologies applied in many other industries. Here are my 5 surprise picks:

  1. Data privacy
  2. Digital voting
  3. Drug safety
  4. Publishing books
  5. Standardized documentation

Let’s shed some light and explore each of them in a bit more detail to find out how Blockchain was used to accelerate innovation.

Data privacy

blockchain privacy

In Blockchain, the security of data is achieved by making records transparent and immutable. But transparency and distributed data through every node of a large network doesn’t get along with data privacy. Or does it?

PrivateSky is a PaaS (privacy as a service) initiative that was created by university researchers and industry experts from 9 SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) that is intended to answer this exact question.

If you’re a back-end developer looking to develop a Blockchain based app, you’d surely be interested to know that PrivateSky uses a handful of innovation opportunities that can help improve privacy and confidentiality in both public and private Blockchains. Among the most popular ones are: Swarm Communication (an improvement over Object Oriented Programming), Hierarchical Blockchains and Self Sovereign Applications (SSApps). You can learn more about these concepts on the PrivateSky homepage.

Digital voting

With Blockchain technologies it seems the stars are finally lining up to bring the voting system into the 21st century. The Blockchain system infrastructure – distributed, encrypted, immutable and transparent – is extremely useful to a democratic elections system, because any vote is a small piece of high-value data.

Modern voting systems are largely stuck in the last century, and people who want to vote must leave their homes and submit paper ballots to a local authority. The effort is big and time consuming, the costs are very high.

Why not bring this process in the Blockchain? Believe it or not, several attempts have been made.

Voatz, an independent Blockchain based voting platform was tested in various private election processes but also in the 2018 Federal Elections in the State of West Virginia, USA. The Voatz application relies on Blockchain to create an immutable record of the votes cast, cyber security software to detect malware on smartphones, and biometrics for identification and authentication. As for the users, they only need to follow these four steps:

  1. Register to the application
  2. Upload an ID image
  3. The app instructs you to submit a short video of your own face. If the facial recognition process is successful, you can get to the final step
  4. Vote

Would that be more complicated than classic voting? No. Would people be willing to make the transition from the traditional voting process to the digital one, in a Blockchain system? It remains to be seen. The problem for Blockchain based voting is not only the user-friendliness of the platform, but it needs to address many other aspects as well: privacy of the voters and the ability to check their votes, voting under duress, preventing leaks of interim results, undecided voters, and measures to satisfy inquiries about the voting after the election is over.

Drug safety

vaccine side effects meme

A major beneficiary of the supply chain use case could be the pharma industry, where the possibility to track the provenience of pharmaceutics and distinguish among genuine and counterfeit products with accuracy would literally mean saving lives by the millions, especially in developing countries.

But a yet more interesting use case is to use a distributed ledger to account for clinical trials data. The promise is to eliminate opportunities for misconduct, prevent corruption of data in clinical research and speed up the process.

Today we have the opportunity to experience firsthand what it would mean, to be able to bring to market a new drug or vaccine in shorter time, without losses in effectiveness or safety.

At RomSoft, we’re already working on such a project. Sponsored by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) under the Horizon 2020 programme, PharmaLedger is a 3-year project that brings together 12 global pharmaceutical companies and 17 public and private entities, including technical, legal, regulatory, academia, research organizations and patient representative organizations.

The goal of the project is to provide a widely trusted platform that supports the design and adoption of Blockchain-enabled healthcare solutions for the development of the following domain reference applications of the pharmaceutical industry: supply chain, clinical studies and health data.

Publishing books

If you want to experiment with smart contracts, ICOs and crypto currencies but need a safe place to start, here’s an idea: start on www.Publica.com, whether you are a writer or just enjoy reading books.

The idea is simple. If you’re an aspiring author, Publica will guide you through the process of your own book’s ICO (which stands for Initial Coin Offering but basically means funding your book project by pre-selling copies as readable tokens, in a Blockchain system). And what better way to experience with crypto currencies than issuing your own crypto – that is your book. While you begin selling your book, you’ll find you also have some tokens in your wallet that you can now exchange for any other crypto currency, like Bitcoin for example.

As a reader, Publica requires no subscription, no password, and no personal data, but you do have to create a crypto wallet if you don’t already have one. Publica is guiding your every step to do that, and also on how to buy PBL (the Publica crypto-coin) or Ether.

The fun thing is that by going through these easy steps, you’ve made your leap into the crypto world with basically no risk, doing something you love (aka reading) and no effect on your life savings account. Blockchain and crypto are now part of your life, and not just some nonsense tech babbling.

Standardized documentation

the office documentation meme

I love talking about the WeldGalaxy project that our team has been working now for two years, alongside our other consortium partners. It is yet another example that any industry can benefit from the advantages of Blockchain technology – transparency, trust and community. In this case, it’s the worldwide welding industry. Who would have thought?

So, in WeldGalaxy, our team is currently working to implement this nice to have use case. It’s a Blockchain based ISO documentation versioning feature that is meant to help white-collar workers safely create, maintain and distribute their standardized documentation.

How is Blockchain involved? Actually, you do not need to know much about the technology, in order to use it. The Weld-Galaxy Blockchain side of the platform will just store the anchors to your documents, but not the actual data, which is better from a security point of view. Any new version requires Blockchain anchoring and therefore the anchored ledger has the integrity, lineage and verifiability properties of a Blockchain.

Epilogue

These are only five Blockchain use-cases of many many others, but a good enough reminder that Blockchain is not just about crypto, and has so many other potential benefits. If only we could take advantage of them to help the world become a better place.

If you know about more interesting Blockchain uses or have better ideas for this article’s memes, drop us a line.

Iulia Weingold
Written by
Iulia Weingold
Join the discussion