The sharing economy
Companies like Uber and AirBnB have proven the sharing economy successful. Unfortunately, in the current economy users who want to hail a ride-sharing service have to rely on an intermediary like Uber or Lyft. Through blockchain enabled peer-to-peer payments direct interactions between parties is made possible. This results in a decentralized sharing economy without the need for intermediaries.
Kickstarter and Gofundme are doing the advance work for the emerging peer-to-peer economy. The popularity of these sites suggests people want to have a direct say in product development. Blockchains take this idea to the next level by creating the ability to create crowd-sourced venture capital funds. DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) experiments suggest the blockchain has the potential to usher in a new paradigm of economic cooperation.
Decentralized and distributed database technology could bring full transparency to elections or other poll results. Ethereum-based smart contracts help to automate the process and create publicly available information. In practice, this means company governance becomes fully transparent and verifiable when managing digital assets, equity or information.
Supply chain auditing
Consumers increasingly want to know that the ethical claims companies make about their products are real. Distributed ledgers provide an easy way to certify that the backstories of the items consumers purchase are genuine. Transparency comes with blockchain-based timestamping of a date and location — on ethical diamonds or food contents for instance — that corresponds to a product number.
Decentralizing file storage brings clear benefits. Distributing data throughout the network protects files from getting hacked or lost. This process removes the need for centralized client-server relationships (i.e., the way the internet currently works). A network comprised of decentralized websites has the potential to drastically increase file transfer and streaming times. This is not only convenient for users but necessary to alleviate the internet’s currently overloaded content-delivery systems.
The crowdsourcing of predictions on event probability is proven to have a high degree of accuracy because averaging opinions cancels out the unexamined biases, and payouts occur through smart contracts based on event outcomes. Blockchains provide “the wisdom of the crowd” that will undoubtedly find other applications in years to come.
Protection of intellectual property
As is well known, digital information can be infinitely reproduced — and distributed widely thanks to the internet. This has given web users globally a goldmine of free content. However, copyright holders have not been so lucky, losing control over their intellectual property and suffering financially as a consequence. Smart contracts can protect copyright and automate the sale of creative works online, eliminating the risk of file copying and redistribution.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is the network-controlled management of certain types of electron devices. Smart contracts make the automation of remote systems management possible. A combination of software, sensors, and the network facilitates an exchange of data between objects and mechanisms. The result increases system efficiency and improves cost monitoring. The biggest players in manufacturing, tech and telecommunications are all looking for IoT dominance. The blockchain has the ability to disrupt this process significantly.
Blockchain technology enables the buying and selling of the renewable energy generated by neighborhood microgrids. When solar panels or other potential energy generators make excess energy, Ethereum-based smart contracts automatically redistribute it. Similar types of smart contract automation will have many other applications as the IoT becomes a reality.
There is a clear need for identity management on the internet as verifying your identity is a necessity for financial transactions to happen online. Distributed ledgers offer enhanced methods for proving identity, along with the possibility to digitize personal documents. Having a secure identity will also be important for secure online interactions. A good reputation, after all, is one of the most important conditions for conducting transactions online.
AML and KYC
Anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) practices have a strong potential for being adapted to the blockchain. Currently, financial institutions must perform a labour intensive multi-step process for each new customer. KYC costs could be reduced through cross-institution client verification, and at the same time increase monitoring and analysis effectiveness.
In the current ecosystem, in exchange for their personal data people can use social media platforms like Facebook for free. In the future, users will have the ability to manage and sell the data generated by their online activity. Because it can be easily distributed in small fractional amounts, a cryptocurrency will be the means of completing these types of transactions.
Land title registration
As Publicly-accessible ledgers, blockchains make all kinds of record-keeping more efficient. Property titles are a perfect application. They tend to be susceptible to fraud, as well as costly and labor intensive to administer. Currently, A number of countries are undertaking blockchain-based land registry projects.
The potential for added efficiency in share settlement makes a strong use case for blockchains in stock trading. When executed, peer-to-peer trade confirmations become almost instantaneous, as opposed to taking three days for clearance. This creates the potential for intermediaries — such as the clearing house, auditors and custodians — to be removed from the process.