Has Blockchain Changed The World?
Imagine when you go out shopping and find out that your bank card doesn’t work due to a system fault at the bank that your card is registered with. It would be awkward and you won’t be able to use your card for a while.
Now imagine if the payment till had access to a record of the balance on your card, and your card information can be updated at anytime when you make a purchase. The bank system fault wouldn’t matter, your card would still work, because payment portals or tills will have your information updated in itself.
It is a very intriguing and useful idea. The idea was suggested by Dave Birch, an author and advisor on digital financial services, who has been critical of some proposed blockchain applications and projects in the past. He mentions this idea because it would bring actual value to the blockchain application and the world.
Blockchain has long been questioned about its purpose, beside from powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. How can blockchain serves as a alternative solution and actually change the way that the world works?
The Ideas Out There
Prof Gilbert Fridgen, from Luxembourg University suggested a blockchain system that keeps track of certificates and degrees issued by universities. In 2018, a BBC investigation found that there were several thousands of fake degrees certificates in circulation around the world, and there were no efficient way to check and validate these certificates. A decentralized system that can be used to track and validate the qualifications will be very appealing to employers around the world. Universities can update the ledger with their student graduate certificates, and employers or organizations can check the system if they are ever in doubt of someone’s degree or qualification certificate. Universities in Singapore are already planning or using blockchain systems to issue certificates.
In Thailand, Zcoin developed a blockchain-based system for the Thai government, in 2018, that can register the votes digitally. The voters can make the digital votes at the polling stations, or using a mobile app where they had to submit a photo of themselves along with the vote. The votes are registered on the Zcoin blockchain, rather than at a central authority that might do frauds on the votes. The votes are then checked again by the election committee, who will not be able to change any votes to whomever’s favor due to the nature of the blockchain technology.
The shipping giant Maersk uses a non-public blockchain system for tracking customs documentation on goods that are being shipped internationally. It’s hard to keep track and validate these documents as the numbers are enormous. However, with the blockchain system, any stakeholder within the entire process can check the details of a shipment efficiently.
The examples above all had a problem relating to trust. Do you trust the bank for your card to work 24/7? Do you trust your employee to have the required qualifications? Do you trust that the votes hasn’t been tempered with? Do you trust the shipment contents and details are true? Blockchain technology had helped with the trust issues, thus bringing real benefits. CyberVein has acknowledged this fundamental element of trust, and is working to making blockchain-based solutions to these trust problems.
Solving Trust Issues
Cybervein has made use of both blockchain and AI technology in the law enforcement departments of different cities of Jiangsu province in China. The technology focuses on accelerating the integration of relevant information platforms of government departments and eliminating information silos. The data collected from the day-to-cases can be shared between the departments, where several algorithms can be produced by AI technology. The system included functions such as local team assignment, suspect characteristics validation, relevant crime cases determination, method of crime comparison, and ultimately, potential crime prediction.
The system reduces the time needed for decision making, excessive human labor required to analyse the data collected, and eliminates the potential of false analysis and report. Law Enforcement teams will be assigned quickly and arrive at the scene of crime at a faster rate. The crime cases will be solved at a more reliable rate, where clues or hints that are easily missed out by human analysis can be picked up by the AI analysis. The public has always been questioning the efficiency and the quality of the law enforcement’s work, the blockchain and AI technology has helped to resolve this trust issue.
Cybervein’s Zhejiang University Cybervein R&D Center has utilized blockchain and federated learning technology to resolve the privacy issue surrounding medical data. The models built using the federated learning technology from the patient data sets stored at local blockchain nodes has successfully raised the accuracy of diagnosis for different types of keratitis. Of course, this is done without compromising the sensitive data of the patients.
Such method can help improve the diagnosis accuracy of many other medical conditions, and will be able to help the doctors making the most appropriate treatment plans, saving millions of patients. The combination of the two tools has resolve the trust problem where patients suspect hospitals or doctors disclosing their medical history or conditions to unwanted parties, or the problem where the patients suspect that the doctors has made an inaccuracy diagnosis, leading to longer or the wrong treatment plan.
CyberVein has utilized blockchain technology along with other tools such as image recognition and GPS tracking, together with Big Data analysis tools to accurately keep record of the details of the seafoods that’s been caught onto the fishing boats for a company in Ningbo, China. From such data, combined with the data from the other tools, a probability of catching a certain species of fish at a certain location at a certain time of the year can be calculated.
This has resolved the trust problem that buyers have about the genuinity of the products they are buying. For seafoods, prices are dependent on the species, time of the year and region. Many before has falsely claimed a fish species to be a similar species that had higher value on the market. Apart from this, the weight, freshness, method of storage and transportation, and whether it is caught in the wild or bred at farms can also affect the prices.
CyberVein is continuously researching new ways to use blockchain to benefit the world and society that we are living in, the Zhejiang University CyberVein R&D Center is dedicated to that purpose. The blockchain technology by itself may not do much, but it is a tool that we can use, when combining it with other tools, it will have its true potential released. It is like how Mr. Bernard D. Sadow put wheels on the traditionally hand carried suitcases in 1970, where both the hand carried suitcases and wheels have existed for a long time, it’s just that no one had thought of putting them together.
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