You may have heard a lot about Blockchain technology, especially in relation to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But, what other uses is there for the decentralized, ‘distributed ledger’ system?
It turns out quite a lot, and many of the world’s biggest companies are leading the way.
Let’s take a closer look at 6 examples of enterprises utilizing Blockchain …
1) J.P. Morgan and Quorum
The multinational investment bank J.P. Morgan is one of several financial giants signed up to the Hyperledger consortium—a group of companies researching and developing Blockchain solutions under a single banner.
They developed the Quorum infrastructure, which is based on the Ethereum smart contract platform, to aid financial services transactions. They describe it as an “enterprise-focused version of Ethereum.”
The aim is to move beyond the banking system’s current web of slow interconnected databases, that rely on third parties to one shared, immutable record of transactions via the Blockchain.
Long story short, it could make financial transactions faster, more efficient, secure, and transparent.
2) Volkswagen and Car Passports
Although the banking, online lending and finance sectors have led the charge with Blockchain, the technology is being applied in all sorts of industries.
In 2017 Volkswagen developed a proof of concept for a ledger system that tracks a vehicle’s history (mileage, repairs, owners, insurance claims etc) so that anyone from a new owner to an insurance company can verify or obtain accurate information. This is known as a car passport.
This would streamline all sorts of areas related to car ownership and ensure nobody along the chain is being misled. Everyone has access to the Blockchain, but nobody can control it for their own benefit—e.g. a seller would not be able to claim lower mileage.
3) Maersk and Shipment Tracking
Blockchain has also been applied to shipping, with Danish giant Maersk teaming with IBM to trial a system for tracking and verifying freight and cargo last year.
Now known as TradeLens, with over 92 organizations on board, the system establishes a single decentralized database tracking every step of a shipment, without compromising the privacy of the parties involved.
Whether you’re the shipper, freight forwarder, port operator, customs authority—everyone is one the same page and can access and verify the information in real time.
4) Walmart and Supply Chain Management
Retail giant Walmart also sees value in the Blockchain for overseeing their supply chain. One issue faced by large retailers is getting accurate and verifiable information about the true origins of products. They recently trialled a system to track pork coming from Chinese farmers, to ensure safety, reassure the public, and make things easier for regulators.
Such systems are being widely researched with an aim to provide consumers complete histories of the products they buy.
5) ICBC Bank and Stock Certificates
Although the Chinese state has generally been sceptical of Blockchain (even outlawing cryptocurrencies), the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has been testing the technology to store stock certificates digitally, instead of having physical certificates in the safes of Central Securities Depositories. This would mean there would be no need for all the extra middle-men involved in the process.
Much of this has been gleaned from a patent the bank filed—they themselves are keeping quiet about how exactly the system works. All we really know is that they can verify digital certificates using a blockchain.
6) Apple and Timestamp Verification
Even Apple has dipped their toe into the world of Blockchain, which isn’t surprising if they want to stay at the forefront of technology.
In late 2017 they filed a patent for a timestamp verification system that would allegedly use the blockchain.
GPS and network servers that use the Network Time Protocol (NTP) are sometimes the target of hackers who try to disrupt a timestamp before it reaches the secure element.
In short, they are looking for a better security solution. Should data change between two timestamps without being verified by the Blockchain, they’ll know something malicious has happened—or, of course, stopping this from happening in the first place.
These are just some of the ways Blockchain is being used across industries. Do you think the technology will take off or perhaps your enterprise is already involved? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!