Blockchain Applications: How industries can benefit
Blockchain technology is here to stay and will influence many aspects of everyday life. Here are just a few examples where it will change our lives forever.
The decentralized blockchain system is going to change your life, from the way you transact business or manage assets, to the way you use your devices, vote, rent a car and even prove who you are. Along the way, it will transform banks, financial institutions, hospitals, companies and governments, and many other aspects of everyday life.
Blockchain in Healthcare
Patients interact with a growing number of healthcare providers through the course of their lives. From pediatrics to geriatrics every institution has a slightly different set of information.
There are only a few countries with a mechanism in place that ensures medical data is collected and summarized in a central place. There are even countries in which the owner of such collected data is the provider of the collection service and not the patient. For most other countries the lack of such a collection point results in a fragmented data trail that is hardly useable by doctors or hospitals
Collecting these pieces of medical data is the goal of MedRec. It is an open source prototype which uses blockchain smart contracts. Through these contracts, they create a decentralized content management system for healthcare data. This means that MedRec does not need to store the records, they rather encode metadata that allows secured access by patients.
These blockchain stored records can be used to provide complete healthcare records of individuals.
It would also give all patients more control over their data through verifiable consent. Using a blockchain, every patient record reflects secure medical facts. If needed, these medical professionals can exchange these reliably. In addition, such blockchain-backed records can contain more information than just text-based documents. A blockchain can also encrypt diagnostic medical imaging. As a result, healthcare systems would not need a central gatekeeper anymore.
Blockchain in Charity
The majority of charity organizations act honestly, but some were found guilty of embezzlement of given funds. Even if their work is legal it is often not clear to the public how they have used the donations.
Another problem of fiat-based charity is the transaction itself. Charity organizations depend on banks to receive and store donations, but in failing states or autocratic regimes, banks are often subject to political interference. It is quite easy to stop a transaction and hinder charities in their work.
Furthermore, the speed of transactions is a limiting factor for traditional non-profit systems. It can take up to several days until funds reach their destination. Especially after natural disasters when every minute is valuable to save human lives, this is way too long.
With their project GiveTrack, the BitGive foundation tries to get rid of these restrictions. Up to now, people can place donations in 23 traditional currencies, 12 digital assets and 4 commodities. The founder and executive director Connie Gallippi describes their product in the following:
“This technology provides the opportunity to not only fundraise globally without borders, but it also offers the ability to move funds across the world much faster and cheaper than traditional methods, all while providing a public transparent path of the funds, thereby increasing accountability.”
One of the first supported organization was Code to Inspire. It is the first coding academy for girls in Herat, Afghanistan. With the raised funds they provide updated computers, faster and more modern equipment to their students. To boost the learning process they even plan to upgrade the internet connection.
Blockchain in Tourism
Approximately tourists amend 1 in every 3 hotel bookings in some way after the reservation was first made. In another 10% of the bookings some kind of manual intervention is necessary. Typically mistakes occur in price, duration, booking status, currency, board basis or room type. How is this possible? In most cases, all relevant parties record any amendments on the booking systems of all the relevant parties, be it the hotel, the travel agent, the tour operator or another online intermediary.
These discrepancies often go unnoticed until the traveler realizes the mistake. Annoying and time-consuming for travelers and embarrassing for hotels and travel agencies. The digital travel business Webjet tries to solve that problem with their new invention Rezchain.
Rezchain describes itself as the first blockchain application to verify hotel reservations. It acts like a combined virtual handshake and early warning system. It enables any two parties to verify that their hotel reservation data matches across both booking systems.
Blockchain in Government and Voting
Since the beginning of democratic elections, they get plagued with accusations of illegitimacy. In past times it was quite easy to manipulate the votes using ballot boxes by those in power without anyone noticing. In today’s elections observers are mostly the one who make fraud public. Consequently, manipulated elections became more evident to the public.
To encounter possible threats, democratic societies try to improve the election process technically. They had to realize that certain types of technology are extremely vulnerable. Although some parts of voting became safer, new possibilities to influence the outcome opened up.
The crowdfunded software from Follow my Vote is dedicated to make voting finally secure. Their goal is to increase the transparency of elections, without compromising the voter’s privacy. Furthermore, they wanted to develop a way to mathematically prove that the result of an election is accurate.
Upon account creation, each voter is issued a public key that is associated with their account. Voters identify other voters in the system only as their public key. They can cast their vote without having to reveal their identity to anyone else. Thus the government can assure voters that the state will protect their identities and that their votes will remain anonymous.
There would even be a way to allow a voter to cast their ballot online in an election. They can then follow their vote into the ballot box to ensure that the government stores their vote securely and does not change or alter it in any way.
Voting online would work similarly to how one would vote by mail in an election. Once cast, voters can access their ballots and update them at any time on or before election day. This rule will ensure that a voter can change their vote before the public announcement of the results if they happen to change their mind about a particular candidate. Additionally, it ensures that the election results are much more likely to reflect an up to date snapshot of who the voters wanted to win in the election.