Everyone has heard about the phenomenon that bitcoin and blockchain are, especially blockchain, which has a cryptographic and hash links as a foundation, keeping unalterable, permanent, and safety data.
I'm not here to speak about what blockchain is or how it works, let alone cryptocurrencies or the potential consequences with Facebook's cryptocurrency launch. I want to speak about some good applications of blockchain in the market, seeking to show how precious this technology is to us and potentially to small and mid-size companies.
Financial Services and Fintechs
Financial system solutions need to work with real money, and this can be challenger, mainly when we think about security. Blockchain offers a fast, safe, and permanent environment and sounds perfect for many financial organizations.
Itaú, Santander, America Express and even though TransferGo, are using RippleNet, the Ripple's blockchain, to make global payments. Through this method, RaiseBank exchanged 1,000 Canadian dollars into euros in Germany only in 8 seconds. So much faster than the 2-6 business days it would typically take.
Seeing so many big players using blockchain promotes more confidence to other companies, for example, I've worked at the creation of a private and custom blockchain for a small company. They use this blockchain as a microservice to store, validate, and justify the whole balances as a way of avoiding frauds and hackers.
Blockchain is unalterable and permanent and thinking about it some startups saw good opportunities as OriginalMy. Their idea was to unify identities around the world on blockchain.
Forget about national IDs, passports and other documents or bureaucracies. In their app, you can register and pass through the “Know Your Customer" (KYC) compliance process. After their validation, they can prove that you are you in the blockchain.
Let's imagine that you don't need to register anymore on every website. To log-in you just need to use your OriginalMy credentials (and if you want to apply this kind of login into your business, it's already possible with their API). Do you need to sign a document? Don't worry, just use your OriginalMy credentials to sign any document. Are you at the airport and forgot your passport? It's not a problem, maybe shortly, you will just show your OriginalMy credentials to board a flight.
This new technology is changing every area in our lives and education is not an exception. Malta has announced that educational certificates will be stored on the blockchain. Sony with Fujitsu has revealed they will store course data, grades, students results and certifications on the blockchain. In 2017, Massachusetts Institute of Technology has done the same, issuing blockchain-based digital certificates to over 100 graduates as part of a pilot program in fall 2017.
CVS Health Corp’s, Aetna, and a host of other health insurers as Anthem Inc, Health Care Service Corp said in January that they have partnered with IBM Corp to create a blockchain network aimed at cutting costs in the healthcare industry. The reason to use blockchain is sharing of databases across a network of computers, for processing claims and payments and to maintain directories with low costs and effectively.
Smart Contracts and Decentralization
In Ethereum blockchain there is a mechanism called smart contract which allows setting up a custom digital contract on the blockchain. You can create a custom smart contract coding with some languages and upload it to the blockchain network. Those contracts need to have terms and conditions that will execute when triggered.
For example, let's imagine that, unfortunately, your father died and you can have your inheritance in money. Who is responsible to make this transfer? Who can guarantee that transfer will happen?
With a smart contract, we can decentralize the responsibility to the blockchain network, where a term is triggered and it will execute and make payment. We could be sure that the payment would be made while the internet exists. There is no company or person behind to ensure the inheritance, it is ensured by the blockchain
Sometimes we don't see the limits of technology, mainly when it's a new one. CryptoKitties can show us how imagination can bring good services. Looking to the permanent and public aspect of blockchain they created virtual kitties. It's great to think of the idea that your pet will never die and those pets do it.
In CryptoKitties you can collect and breed digital unique cats. Sounds kind of like joke, I know, but trust me, they can be worth a lot of money too. CryptoKitties launched November 28, 2017, and within its first week, collectors spent over 2 million dollars on the digital cats, with the highest price paid for a single kitten at $117,712. It sounds like a joke, but it's a serious and lucrative business.
Is blockchain for you?
I hope these examples explained that blockchain isn't a distant technology designated only to big companies or financial proposes. For being something new, we can see how some misunderstand can difficult the identification of if your company really needs a blockchain application. To see if you need this kind of technology, ask yourself these questions below:
1- Does my service need to send global payments very fast with low costs?
2- Does my service need to make a public report as evidence?
3- Does my service need to execute a process with confidence?
4- Does my service need to protect extremely sensitive data from hackers or frauds?
5- Does my service need to process a lot of transactions and data very fast?
6- Does my service need to provide data even if my company doesn’t exist anymore?
Blockchain provides safety through permanent, unalterable public or private data with low costs and great performance. If your business needs to guarantee these key points, maybe you need a blockchain solution.