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Real-World Uses of Blockchain

Real-World Uses of Blockchain

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Here are some examples of the real uses of Blockchain in today’s world:

CHARITY

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology have some fascinating features which could deliver a huge impact on charities and charitable giving, not to mention, the charitable organizations. With Blockchain Technology, it makes easier for receiving and managing funds for the needs.

HEALTHCARE 

One of the industries that are looking to adopt the blockchain in the healthcare industry. Blockchain healthcare use cases are being discovered by the day, and with them, the entire healthcare system can be completely overhauled. Many healthcare and blockchain companies are currently working on or have already released blockchain-based systems to improve healthcare for both professionals and patients. By decentralizing patient health history, tracking pharmaceuticals, and improving payment options, blockchain is becoming a valuable tool for healthcare, revolutionizing the industry worldwide.

The ultimate Blockchain use cases in healthcare are as follows:

To Improve Medical Access 

One of the most important healthcare use of blockchain is patient data management. Medical records tend to be separated by health agencies, making it impossible to determine a patient’s medical history without consulting their previous care provider.

This process can take a significant amount of time, and may often result in mistakes due to human error. Since the blockchain is immutable and traceable, patients can easily send records to anyone without the fear of data corruption or tampering. Similarly, a medical record that has been generated and added to the blockchain will be completely secure. The patient also can have some control over how their medical data gets used and shared by the institutes. Any party which is looking to get the medical data about a patient could check with the blockchain to get the necessary permission.

For instance, MedRec is a system that prioritizes patient agency, giving a transparent and accessible view of medical history which developed on the Ethereum blockchain. MedRec intends to store all of a patient’s information in one place, making it simpler for patients and doctors to view. In its current design, providers maintain the blockchain through the Proof of Authority (PoA) mechanism.

To Improve Medical Record Keeping

The use of Blockchain in healthcare aims to increase transparency between medical institutions by putting all of a patient’s medical information on a blockchain, which includes images, as well as various information concerning a patient’s condition. The information can be accessed by doctors and the patients themselves. It also increases the security of medical information through Decentralized Ledger Technology (DLT).

To Stop Counterfeit Drugs

It is estimated that tens of thousands of people die each year due to counterfeit drugs, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).Taking an example from Pharma companies, they need to have an extremely secure supply chain because of the kind of product they carry.

Pharma drugs are consistently stolen from the supply chain to be sold illegally to various consumers. Also, counterfeit drugs alone cost these companies, nearly $200 billion annually. Therefore, a transparent blockchain will help these companies to enable close tracking of drugs to their point of origin and thus help eliminate falsified medication.

Tracking Clinical Trials and Pharmaceuticals

Various medical institutes around the world conduct their own research and clinical trials on various new drugs and medications. A blockchain will help create a single global database to collect all this data and put it in one place.

Tracking Medical Credentials

A blockchain, in addition, can verify the credentials and track records of various health professionals. This streamlines the hiring process, as well as provides an unalterable history of a professional’s healthcare career history.

Insurance Fraud Protection

Insurance fraud is a major problem that is affecting the healthcare industry. This happens when dishonest providers and patients submit false claims/information to receive payable benefits.

By blockchain, Since all the data will not be stored in a centralized infrastructure, it will be impossible to hack the system and get their hands on all of the data. This keeps the system leakage-free and it also helps secure the privacy of the patients.

SUPPLY CHAIN

Managing today’s supply chains—all the links to creating and distributing goods—is extraordinarily complex. Depending on the product, the supply chain can span over hundreds of stages, multiple geographical (international) locations, a multitude of invoices and payments, have several individuals and entities involved, and extend over months of time. Due to the complexity and lack of transparency of our current supply chains, there is interest in how blockchain might transform the supply chain and logistics industry.

Let’s look at how the unique attributes of blockchain could help supply chains :

  • Replacing slow, manual processes. Although supply chains can currently handle large, complex data sets, many of their processes, especially those in the lower supply tiers, are slow and rely entirely on paper—such as is still common in the shipping industry.

  • Strengthening traceability. Increasing regulatory and consumer demand for provenance information is already driving change. Moreover, improving traceability also adds value by mitigating the high costs of quality problems, such as recalls, reputational damage, or the loss of revenue from black or grey-market products. Simplifying a complex supply base offers further value-creation opportunities.

  • Reducing supply-chain IT transaction costs. At this stage, this benefit is more theoretical than actual. Bitcoin pays people to validate each block or transaction and requires people who propose a new block to include a fee in their proposal. Such a cost would likely be prohibitive in supply chains because their scale can be staggering.

For example, in a 90-day period, a single auto manufacturer would typically issue approximately 10 billion call-offs just to its tier-one suppliers. Also, together all of those transactions would significantly raise demand for data storage, an essential component of blockchain’s distributed-ledger approach. In addition, creating and maintaining numerous copies of data sets would be impractical in the supply-chain environment, especially in permissionless blockchains.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the connection of devices — any devices — to the internet using embedded software and sensors to communicate, collect and exchange data with one another. In other words, IoT refers to a network of connected devices that are capable of collecting and exchanging data.
The rising of the various types of innovative devices (such as RFID chips, sensors, and the Internet) and their increased accessibility eventually gave birth to the concept of the IoT. IoT technology marks a significant shift in the Computer Age that now allows for more than just computers to be connected through the Internet.

The innovations of IoT technology allows for the remote monitoring, control, automation, and status checking of a wide range of devices and sensors, which can be used on smart homes and self-driving cars.

IoT For Personal And Domestic Use

IoT technology can be used in various ways for personal and domestic use. Common uses are related to the concept of home automation, where several devices can be employed to monitor and control the use of lights, air-conditioners, heaters as well as security systems. These devices may also be connected to other personal items, for instance, smartwatches and smartphones, or smart hubs that are designed to connect different smart home appliances, e.g. smart TVs and refrigerators.
Consequently, automated homes also have the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of older adults and disabled person by providing assistive technology for the needs – especially for the ones with sight, hearing or mobility limitations.

IoT For Commercial And Industrial Use

It’s no secret that the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to have a big impact on how organizations design, produce and sell products and services. More and more, companies are looking at how the IoT can be leveraged across their entire operation, from how they identify new business models and source materials, to how they streamline production and manage the customer experience. Another example of industrial use cases may include the use of sensors to track environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, air pressure and quality. Furthermore, IoT devices may also be used by farmers to track when their livestock is running out of water or food, or by manufacturers to be aware when an important product is about to run out. They could even set automated machines to order more of that product when the supply is below a certain threshold.

Governance

Nowadays, Blockchain is now being used in many different fields. One of these fields is the governance, where distributed systems may greatly change the public sector and can be used in an array of applications that are being explored by governments around the world. On top of that, there are a few major reasons for government entities to consider adopting the blockchain technology. Those reasons include increased decentralization, data integrity, and transparency – along with better efficiency and reduced operational costs.

Blockchain systems can reach a high level of immutability, and their framework may be customized to ensure that the information can only be accessed and, in some cases, modified by authorized parties. In practice, different governing agencies could act as a validator, each contributing to the process of distributing and verifying data. This would reduce data tampering and fraud.
Not only governmental agencies but non-governmental organizations, universities and citizens could also be included as validating nodes, which would result in an even higher degree of decentralization. In fact, these verification mechanisms can prevent other common mistakes, such as data entry error (e.g., a block of data that lacks fundamental information would be denied by the distributed network of nodes).

On the other hand, blockchain may one day play a significant role in the election process. Fair and open elections are one of the cornerstones of democracy, and blockchain’s high level of immutability makes it an excellent solution for ensuring that votes can’t be tampered with. Beyond providing added security for votes cast at polling places, blockchain also has the potential to transform secure online voting into a reality in future.

See Also

Another reason for using blockchain in governance is, the blockchain databases can be used to store and protect government records in a way that make it harder for anyone to manipulate or hide the information. Therefore, blockchains can be used as a transparent database that decreases the need for trust between governmental bodies and civilians.

Particularly, blockchain also can reduce operational costs by maximizing the work efficiency of national institutions. And by cutting operational costs, governments can invest more in other areas, such as education, security, and public health.

We know that the government rely on taxpayer funds, hence it is important that they use their budget wisely. Blockchain systems and smart contracts can be employed to automate tasks and workflows, which would greatly reduce time and money spent on bureaucratic processes.

Blockchain technology also may apply in tax collection. Blockchain-based ledgers can easily move funds between parties following preset conditions. This would potentially cause drastic reductions in the administrative costs associated with collecting and distributing tax money and enforcing tax laws. For example, by storing records and processing returns on private blockchains, tax collection agencies could also provide improved security to protect individual taxpayers from fraud or identity theft.

Drawbacks and limitations

In spite of many advantages of blockchain uses, there are certain limitations associated with its uses in the public sector.

In some cases, the property of immutability which underlies so many blockchain’s advantages, somehow, may bring disadvantages. Data immutability makes it essential that records be entered correctly before validation, meaning that steps must be taken to ensure the accuracy of initial data collection.

While some blockchain implementations may be designed in a more flexible way, allowing data to be changed, this would require the approval (consensus) of most validating nodes, which could cause questions about the decentralization of the system, and eventually lead to disagreements. Still, this drawback could be quickly addressed on private blockchains that don’t require higher levels of decentralization.

Privacy concerns are also a factor, as records added to a blockchain would remain permanently available to anyone that has access to it. This could clash with procedures meant to seal documents, such as criminal record expungement. In countries that recognize a digital right to be forgotten in their legal codes, these immutable records could also run afoul of existing law or judicial precedent. Potential solutions to these problems may include the use of burn functions and cryptographic techniques, such as zk-SNARKs or other types of zero-knowledge proofs.

Finally, it should be noted that governments themselves may present obstacles to adoption. In some cases, authorities simply don’t understand the value of blockchain technology, leading them to disregard the many potential benefits. In more extreme cases, governments in which corruption is a widespread and entrenched practice may resist blockchain adoption to protect the interests of their own officials.

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