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Despite mostly finance-related interest in blockchain technology, the areas of distributed ledger technology (DLT) application are not limited to the financial services industry. Along with banks and FinTech startups, non-financial players have been paying attention and looking for ways to leverage the opportunities that DLT opens. Let’s look at some interesting examples of the applications of blockchain technology beyond financial services:
Authorship and ownership
Ascribe helps artists and creators to attribute digital art via blockchain. Ascribe’s marketplace allows to generate digital editions with a unique ID and a digital certificate of authenticity to prove provenance and authenticity. It also allows to accept consignments from artists and transfer digital works to collectors with all the terms and legals.
Cannabis (cash-heavy businesses)
Serica is one of the examples of a blockchain companies in the cannabis industry. Serica brings software engineering, crypto finance, financial custody and blockchain technology to traditional custodian finance. It allows entrepreneurs to establish their business legitimacy through the largest network of verified customers in order to grow conversions, registrations, memberships and average order sizes. Serica’s Secure Socket Layering Technology encrypts all communications between a user’s personal wallet and Serica. Serica uses the blockchain in order to track and record every purchase of medical marijuana, providing businesses an easy way to accept payments online.
There are also companies like Tokken, Hypur and others leveraging bitcoin and blockchain in cash-heavy businesses like legal marijuana.
The Real Asset Company enables individuals around the world to buy gold and silver bullion securely and efficiently. The company’s investor-friendly platform sits on top of global vaulting infrastructure, providing an online account for buying gold and silver and holding precious metals. Goldbloc, the company’s gold-backed cryptocurrency adds an additional layer of transparency and control to users’ gold investment. Backed by one gram of gold, the company believes its cryptocurrency to be the first step to bringing gold back into the monetary system.
Uphold is a platform for moving, converting , transacting and holding any form of money or commodity. The company connects banks, credit and debit cards and bitcoin to digital wallets for free financial services and transactions. Businesses and consumers can fund their Uphold accounts via bank transfer or by linking a credit/debit card in addition to bitcoin.
Factom is one of the most notable blockchain companies applying distributed ledger to the non-financial market — in this case, data management. The company uses blockchain-based identity ledgers in database management and data analytics to support various applications. Businesses and governments can use Factom to simplify records management, record business processes and address security and compliance issues. Factom maintains a permanent, time-stamped record of data in the blockchain that allows companies to reduce the cost and complexity of conducting audits, managing records, and complying with government regulations.
The diamond industry is one of the biggest natural resource industries and makes a substantial part of the GDP in African countries and other major diamond-miners. The hallmark of the industry is that it is highly criminalized. Stones are small and easy to hide and transport. The best part for criminals is that transactions can be made confidentially and the sell returns the value over years. Diamonds are known to be involved in money laundering and financing of terrorism on a truly massive scale around the world.
Due to a range of challenges with diamonds business, one of the tech pioneers in the sphere is Everledger. The company provides an immutable ledger for diamond identification and transaction verification for various stakeholders, from insurance companies to claimants and law enforcement agencies. Everledger assigns a “digital passport” to each diamond that will accompany each stone as it is transacted and creates a unique fingerprint.
Digital identity, identification & authentication
With this use case, blockchain is not necessarily restricted to funds transaction, DLT can be used for the storage of all types of data and transactions in a secure and open way. Moreover, creating an identity on blockchain can give individuals greater control over who has their personal information and how they access it.
By combining the decentralized blockchain principle with identity verification, a digital ID can be created that would act as a digital watermark which can be assigned to every online transaction of any asset.
Other examples include, but are not limited to:
Civic is a blockchain based identity management platform that allows users to register and validate their personal identity information and lock their identity in order to prevent identity theft and fraudulent activity on their credit reports. Civic aims to tackle the problem of consumer identity theft and reducing online identity fraud.
UniquID Wallet provides secure identity management, integrated with fingerprint and other biometry on personal devices. Ready to be deployed on custom hardware, servers, personal computers or smartphones and tablets, UniquID Wallet runs also on battery and low-powered devices, providing integrity and interoperability at the edge of one’s infrastructure.
Identifi links all personal profiles and identifiers to form a trusted identity.
Evernym is global, fully open-source, attribute-based, self-sovereign identity graph network built on an advanced, dedicated, privacy-enhancing, public permissioned distributed ledger.
Energy Blockchain Labs claims to be the only company in the world that is dedicated to the entire value chain in the energy industry. Founded in May 2016 by three founders with a complex background in the energy, financial and information industries, the lab is working on the energy revolution and is working with partners to develop a range of energy-based Internet technologies based on blockchain technology, covering energy production, consumption, trading, management and other links.
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