Blockchain is so-called because it allows transactions to be shared among business partners. It is an open ledger technology which means everyone can see the transactions on a network and nobody can change them once entered. That makes them tamper proof.
Here are five areas where Blockchain is being put to use:
Government: The National Research Council of Canada is exploring blockchains for the transparent administration of government grants. In the UK, HM Land Registry is looking at how blockchain can make the registration of property sales faster, simpler and more transparent. In Switzerland, the city of Zug used a blockchain-based app to allowed residents to vote in a municipal election with their smartphones.
Aviation: Airlines are finding multiple uses for blockchain including flight safety, tracking cargo and spare parts. Singapore Airlines is using it to streamline the redemption of frequent flyer points. Air France- KLM has been testing it for transparent aircraft maintenance records. Air Canada is involved in a blockchain-based travel distribution platform.
Finance: Streamlining business and consumer banking is another area of development. IBM has taken the lead with cross-border payments. Mastercard has been awarded a patent for a way to partition a blockchain, making it capable of storing multiple transaction types and formats. The Bank of Canada is testing Blockchain to clear and settle stock transcations.
Insurance: Blockchain has proven to have a highly disruptive potential in the insurance space. Specific areas include: fraud detection and risk prevention; claims prevention and management; Internet of Things and reinsurance. Maersk, the Danish shipping company, worked with Microsoft to develop a system that tracks ships and their cargoes down to the second.
Transport & Logistics: Another application is faster and leaner logistics in global trade. This involves improving transparency in the movement of goods, traceability in supply chains and automating commercial processes with Smart Contracts.
While a year ago, the financial news was dominated by the hype and elusive promise of Bitcoin and other artificial currencies, now the focus has shifted to areas like this where Blockchain is energizing business processes.
By improving productivity, the companies are improving profitability. Many of the companies taking the lead are those we know and whose products we use – Walmart, Microsoft, IBM, Visa, and PayPal.
Banking, insurance, financial services, healthcare, and food safety, are just a few of the sectors where Blockchain holds promise.
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