Nowadays, we so often associate the term “blockchain” with cryptocurrencies. But, in reality, blockchain application serves many more purposes than the numerous coins and tokens available for trading on crypto markets. Blockchain use cases stretch far beyond the financial sector, with various projects and technologies being developed across myriad industries.
Blockchain offers a decentralised peer-to-peer database, which archives encrypted information through complex protocols and allows those that use the technology to verify specific data with unrivalled levels of security quickly. As such, any industry that requires a database can make great use of this innovative technology.
The architecture of blockchains means they are well-suited to applications that can use blockchain’s smart contract technology. Smart contracts can manipulate blockchain data, using executable code to instruct the blockchain to carry out certain functions, creating a highly diverse and flexible database.
We’ve recently seen a growing number of exciting new projects, making blockchain one of the most popular investment opportunities today. Below we explore some of the most promising real-world use cases.
Energy and Sustainability with Consensys
Blockchain technology is seen to have the potential to transform the energy sector. Consensys provides blockchain technology solutions on the Ethereum (ETH) network, which offers smart contracts operating in various industries. Energy and sustainability are some of the most interesting, as they address an issue threatening livelihood and economies globally.
Speaking broadly, blockchain can assist in reducing energy costs, support environmental sustainability, and increase transparency for shareholders in the space without compromising privacy. More specifically, the use cases will extend to real-time data management, creating more efficient business models for energy markets, improving efficiencies for utility providers, and recording carbon credits and renewable energy certificates onto the blockchain.
An example of this would be tracking the movement of petroleum, the most traded commodity today, on the blockchain. A great deal of time, money and energy is lost tracking the complex movement of petroleum, which could be recorded in one place and streamlining the process.
Grid+ is a blockchain company which focuses on wholesale energy distribution. The company will simplify the process of billing and metering usage—which has the potential to reduce consumer bills by around 40%—by connecting consumers through the Ethereum network, they will be able to buy energy from the grid and create a more stable energy market.
BMW and Blockchain
BMW’s own Dr Andre Luckow, head of distributed ledger and emerging technologies, said, "What it does is give us the technical foundation we need to create helpful and effective solutions.” As cars become evermore digital, with the advent of driving automation and electric cars, there is a growing demand for solutions to cater to emerging technologies and new ideas.
One such idea is a digital vehicle passport registered on the blockchain. The passport would come in the form of an app and allow second-hand buyers to quickly access information about the car's history, such as; what is the car's mileage? Has it been in an accident? How many times has the car been registered for vehicle safety checks? Taking the word of the seller can be unreliable. BMW is piloting an app solution called VerifyCar, allowing buyers to scan the car’s QR Code, which would show whether the information is correct on the app.
Another option is supply chain verification, which would function as a service to the BMW Group regarding car production. Necessary materials like cobalt and wolframite come from developing countries. Ensuring the supply chains are legitimate and the raw materials haven’t been interfered with is a significant task for car manufacturers. Each supply chain step can be registered on the blockchain with chemical tracers, making the process forgery-proof.
BMW are also interested in blockchain to charge e-cars more easily. The current problem is that certain charging stations don’t allow e-car owners to use the station because they are not signed up with that particular provider. A “Charge Chain” is created using smart contracts, which have attached all customers’ data and preferences. So no matter the station type, the energy company can immediately access the financial transaction and customer details. And this is just the start; Luckow states that “At this point, we can’t even foresee what possibilities blockchain will bring in the future. That makes it all the more important for us to play an active role in developing this potential."
VET’s Innovative Supply Chain Solutions
VeChain (VET) is a very exciting blockchain network with a growing list of technological developments. The company has numerous business partnerships, reshaping supply chain companies worldwide. VeChain offers improved supply chain efficiency, transparency, and traceability, though blockchain’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) allows consumers to confirm product quality and validity before purchasing. The token works on a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism alongside VET’s unique Proof-of-Authority feature.
VeChain allows suppliers and consumers to record every data point along the supply chain using smart contracts, allowing them to live track product movements. This is beneficial in various ways, notably for consumers, as they can ensure the authenticity of products, such as designer brands, where the counterfeit market has caused huge issues for brands and consumers. In terms of suppliers, it will revolutionise the supply chain process, ensuring each step of the product’s journey is genuine.
In terms of real-world use cases, Walmart China is one of the biggest companies employing VET’s blockchain technology. Walmart China uses blockchain to ensure food safety through a traceability platform and has been operating since 2019. All food products are registered on the blockchain, meaning their sell-by-date is recorded, and their journey is tracked along the supply chain. Customers can quickly access information regarding the product, offering a more transparent customer experience.
VeChain has also inked partnerships with ASI Group and DNV, creating FoodGates, the world’s first intercontinental food solution built on the blockchain. FoodGates offers certified information regarding the entire lifecycle of products. VeChain also has another partnership with an Australian premium beef producer Latitude 28, which, similarly to FoodGates, provides a traceability solution for meat to ensure distributors receive the quality L28 product.
DeFi Banking with Celo Blockchain
Celo (CELO) is a blockchain banking service which aims to help the unbanked world receive financial services through mobile banking solutions. With just a third of the world using bank services, Celo hopes to bring prosperity and financial stability to every person across the globe. All that is required is users have a basic smartphone. Celo is a decentralised app (dApp) which operates on smart contracts and provides the Celo Wallet to facilitate social payments.
Celo already has a variety of significant real-world use cases and is one of the fastest-growing blockchain banking projects today. An example is Ceres, a cash-in cash-out app in Brazil, allowing users to convert crypto into fiat instantly. With a sharp focus on UX and usability, it opens the door for crypto newcomers and offers a wealth of information on how to get involved in the DeFi space.
Another exciting Celo project is Go-Africa, which focuses on promoting agricultural productivity and providing a source of livelihood to more than half a billion people residing on the continent. Go-Africa is a crowdfunding project that raises funds for small agro-pastoral projects that Celo’s team is involved with in Africa. Through crypto payment solutions, farmers and those involved in agricultural production can access funds directly.
Celo has a variety of other active projects, including Yanda and Revo, but another we want to highlight is Talent Protocol, which allows recruiters and employers to find the right talent for their business quickly. The Protocol allows users to support undiscovered talent and earn rewards as the talent grows. The talent has their own token for their career, which users will then buy and have “shares” in someone else’s career. It may seem odd, but it helps both the individual and the employer.