Cryptocurrencies have radically changed our understanding of the structure of the economy. However, we owe even greater progress to the blockchain technology that made the emergence of bitcoin and other decentralized currenciespossible.
The immutability of distributed registries, cryptographic data protection and other blockchain properties allow us to find effective solutions to problems that exist in a wide variety of industries.
1. Financial transactions
Due to the fact that cryptocurrencies are created by the forces of small development teams, the need for banks goes away. Since transactions are stored in a distributed, open and verified registry, the usual risks of making payments disappear, and money transfer organizations become, by and large, unnecessary.
Another important innovation that has come into the world of financial services along with cryptocurrencies is the initial coin offerings (ICOs). This is an open sale of unique cryptographic tokens, with which blockchain startups raise funds for further development.
Today, the total amount of funds raised through the ICO is estimated at billions of dollars. Some of these projects raise millions of dollars in minutes. For example, the Aragon blockchainproject, working on an organization management tool, raised $ 25 million in 15 minutes.
Characteristically, a significant proportion of these contributions comes from enthusiasts counting on the success of a new technology project. This change in the model of attracting investments will significantly affect the future of the entire economy.
2. Currency exchange
A significant proportion of the annual income of many states falls on funds earned by immigrants from countries abroad and sent to relatives home. For example, starting in 2014, such transfers began to bring more money to the budget of Mexico than oil: for the entire 2015, the amount of funds sent to the homeland by Mexicans working in the United States amounted to $ 24.8 billion, and income from the sale of oil - only $ 18, 4 billion dollars.
According to experts, the annual amount of funds transferred worldwide is up to $ 0.5 trillion. The agencies that organize these operations earn billions of dollars in fees: Western Union processed 268 million transactions in 2016, earning $ 80 billion.
Other international transactions, such as purchases in foreign online stores, are also subject to high conversion fees. Unfavorable exchange rates are familiar to everyone who has ever traveled abroad.
3. Supply Chain Management
The British blockchain startup Provenance is developing a technology that will track the “product journey” and the company's impact on the environment and society.Walmart, in collaboration with IBM and a university in Beijing, is working on a blockchain system for monitoring the movement of pork in China. BHP Billiton, a large mining company, uses blockchain technology to control the mineralogical analysis performed by third-party contractors.
This method can make supply chains more transparent and efficient. Moreover, you can even monitor compliance with international customs legislationwith its help.
4. Advertising in retail and electronic commerce
The level of competition in retail and electronic commerce is growing rapidly, so companies in these industries naturally use advertising to attract new customers. To do this, they have to turn to advertising networks and sites that act as intermediaries.
Despite the huge marketing budgets that companies have to spend, the effectiveness of such placements often leaves much to be desired: a significant part of the traffic is generated by bots, companies cannot trace its sources, advertising messages are lost in the stream of others and shown to those who are not really interested in them.
There are a number of promising blockchain projects whose purpose is to return to users control over their personal data and to make unnecessary burdensome and often expensive ad networks. For example, BitClave uses blockchain to directly connect app development companies and their consumers, bypassing advertising intermediaries.
The platform allows users to selectively share their data with companies and receive cash rewards for this. Companies, on the other hand, have direct access to the consumer category of interest to them and can significantly reduce advertising costs.
Publishers will be able to increase their profits by receiving rewards in tokens, the system’s internal currency, if they manage to attract the attention of users to advertising content. Advertisers will be able to optimize their advertising budgets and protect the brand’s reputation, and users will be able to view better ads and receive rewards in tokens for interacting with ads.
5. Personal data management
The upcoming breakthrough in the adtech industry will take place largely thanks to innovative blockchain methods for controlling personal data. In addition, storing verified personal information on the blockchain will allow you to quickly identify yourself when organizing foreign trips, issuing medical documents or financial loans, by bypassing intermediaries.
There are already a number of projects using blockchain to verify identity and manage personal data. If the user needs to verify his identity with the bank, he gives the bank temporary access to his blockchain record, after which the bank creates a record in its database and checks it in the future.
Government organizations from different countries are working on this. For example, Estonia launched the e-Residency program, which allows citizens of other states to create companies, transfer money, pay taxes and gain access to banking services.
The Australian Postal Service plans to switch to the processing of personal data using the blockchain, and the US Department of Homeland Security is exploring the prospects for blockchain identification, hoping to increase productivity and reduce the costs and risks associated with security.
Now many transactions related to the processing of personal data are delayed due to the fact that online verification can take up to several days - depending on what kind of information source is used to identify the person.
Since blockchain is an immutable and publicly verifiable database, you can combine all your online information in one place. The introduction of such an effective technology will forever change the way companies collect and use the personal data of their customers.