How can Blockchain and Digital Assets help Non-Financial sectors?
Even in the year 2023, there are several industries key to modern life which do not use technology to their best advantage to optimise operations.
In healthcare, patient records and data management are siloed between different players in the ecosystem. Along the pharmaceutical supply chain, errors can be made like insufficient attention to detail concerning storage temperatures/use by dates of medicines. In government, voting systems are still manual as are many processes to track citizens’ proof of identity. As regards urban development, energy systems and documenting property rights could be improved. For the arts, blockchain can be used to create new digital art forms like NFTs and make the art industry fairer by ensuring that artists are properly compensated through automatic commissions.
Blockchain technology specifically offers the ability to share information in a manner that benefits many areas of modern life namely: more quickly, more securely, by reducing silos and by decreasing expenditure on routine/operational tasks.
Worldwide spending on blockchain solutions amounted to $6.6 billion in 2021. It’s projected that companies will spend almost $19 billion on blockchain technology in 2024.
Blockchain and Digital Assets Application in Four Areas
From transforming voting systems to government operations, there are several transformative ways in which blockchain can help governments operate more efficiently using technology. Often keen to keep costs down, blockchain offers governments the opportunity to reduce expenditure for routine and operational tasks.
A voting system using blockchain technology would get rid of issues like postal ballots being delayed or lost. It would also decrease the time needed for people to manually count the votes. Up until now, many countries have not introduced digital voting systems due to fears of hacking and fraud. Blockchain technology would be a way to get around these issues.
Real-world Application: Election Management Services – Civica Election Services | Civica
In April 2019, the LSE launched a trial project of a blockchain powered electronic voting system. The project uses the voting system owned by Civica Election Services. The blockchain technology underpinning this platform allows voters to verify that their votes are counted, and that the votes are recorded correctly without compromising their own anonymity. Moreover, anyone can check that the counting was done correctly without compromising the secrecy of the ballots. Find more on this project on CFTE’s analysis of blockchain projects.
- Government operations
Blockchain can be used in government operations for a variety of purposes. There are many ways a government needs to quickly and efficiently provide services to its citizens for which it requires proof of their digital identities. Blockchain can also be used for self-executing contracts, patent protection, social benefits management and validation of documents.
Real-world Application: TradeTrust – Digitised Global Trade
Governments are consistently looking for centralised cloud-based solutions to validate the documents of all their citizens. Blockchain technology can store hash values of citizen documents on the blockchain, allowing governments to provide an attested and permanently time-stamped electronic version of these documents whenever needed. Traditional legal-contract execution is costly to both governments and their citizens. However, smart contracts (enabled by blockchain) can remove the need for intermediaries improving contract creation and execution. TradeTrust is an example of one such company in Singapore in this area. Find more on this project on CFTE’s analysis of blockchain projects.
From basic urban services like waste management to essential services like security of land & property rights, blockchain technology can be used for a wide range of urban activities. Several major cities have also experimented with using blockchain technology to power the city’s energy systems.
- Blockchain For Land & Property Management, Documenting Property Rights, and Tenure Security
Blockchain has the potential to improve inaccurate recording of land, tenure security and property rights. For example, if stored on a blockchain, land and property records could still be accessed in the event of a national disaster or post conflict reconstruction.
Real-world Application: City for All Programme (encompassing Kabul Strengthening Municipal Nahias Project and Municipal Governance Support Project) | UN-Habitat (unhabitat.org)
For example, The UN launched a “City for All” scheme in its efforts to rebuild Afghanistan. Blockchain technology is being used to create a secure ledger on which occupancy certificates can be registered and signed. These records are then used to be the basis of several government services namely urban planning, tax collection, revenue generations and citizen engagement. Find more on this project on CFTE’s analysis of blockchain projects.
- Urban Energy Systems
Blockchain has a lot of benefits for the energy sector. Implementation of blockchain could increase energy efficiency and decrease wastage. It could also form the basis of a framework to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. For example, by using green electricity certificates, energy producers could be incentivised to generate electricity from renewable sources. Blockchain could facilitate the issuance of these certificates, which could be traded and priced accordingly.
Real-world Application: Climate Impact X
For example, Climate Impact X (CIX) is a global exchange for quality voluntary carbon credits. Their vision is to drive environmental impact at scale. They collaborate with partners and foster ecosystems that help companies take practical climate mitigation action through trusted carbon credits. Find more on this project on CFTE’s analysis of blockchain projects.
From the visual arts, to music, to even theatre tickets, there is a lot of talk in arts circles about how blockchain technology will be able to transform what has traditionally been a very conservative industry. Key to its disruptive potential will be blockchain’s ability to allow artists to be paid automatic commissions and its ability to help validate authenticity of art works.
- Digital Art
Digital Art is material created digitally for aesthetic enjoyment. A market has grown up around this consisting of dealers, galleries, private collectors and auction houses in the same way as for traditional visual art forms.
Real-world Application: NFTs: Redefining Digital Ownership and Scarcity | Sotheby’s Metaverse | Sotheby’s (sothebys.com)— Sotheby’s Auction House sells NFTs
Sotheby’s is an example of a player in the art world that branched out to the sale of digital art forms as NFTs. The artist mints the NFT on a blockchain network. Once minted by artists and sold by collectors, the NFT can continue to be re-sold. Previous ownership of each NFT is always available which allows collectors to ensure the piece’s authenticity before bidding. Find more on this project on CFTE’s analysis of blockchain projects.
- Re-sale Royalties
A chief way NFTs will change the arts is by their ability to enable automatic commissions to the artists. NFTs can be hardcoded to return a certain percentage of any sale to a designated address, including the miner’s original one. This means the artist will continue to benefit from the future sales of their artworks, even if they have no direct influence over the sale itself.
Real-world Application: How NFT Royalties Work – and Sometimes Don’t – Blockworks — NFT royalties
NFTs have helped artists to earn a much larger share of the revenue. For example, when Beeple’s NFT piece ‘Crossroads’ was resold for $6.6 million (10x the original price) at secondary market Nifty Gateway, he earned a 10% royalty ($69 million from that transaction). Find more on this project on CFTE’s analysis of blockchain projects.
From pharmaceutical supply chain distribution to patient data management, blockchain technology can offer many ways to streamline healthcare services provided to patients. This has the advantage of making healthcare provision quicker and enhancing security as regards to counterfeit medicines or errors/leakages of patient data.
- Pharmaceutical distribution
Blockchain solutions hold the ability to radically make a difference to the pharmaceutical supply chain. From the moment the medicine leaves the pharmacy to when it arrives at patients’ homes, barcodes could be scanned and recorded onto a blockchain ledger. Sensors could also be added and temperature/humidity recorded on blockchain ledgers for medicines required to be kept at certain temperatures.
Real-world Application: The Platform – LogChain (thelogchain.com)
LogChain is an example of a platform connecting all the parties involved in chemical shipment together. Many pharmaceuticals are incredibly heat sensitive and denature above certain temperatures. They also expire beyond a certain date between manufacture and usage. Throughout all parts of the supply chain process (from manufacture to shipment to warehouse storage to chemist) they must be kept at a specific temperature. Data regarding temperature levels could be recorded using blockchain technology throughout all parts of the process to ensure this is achieved. The date at which the pharmaceutical was produced could also be recorded on a digital ledger to ensure it is not beyond its use by date when administered by the patient. Find more on this project on CFTE’s analysis of blockchain projects.
- Patient data management
At the moment patient hospital records are siloed between hospitals and clinics. If hospital records are shared between institutions it can be slow and hard to audit the data in them. Healthcare is highly regulated in terms of cybersecurity and accessibility. There are also complex legal issues such as patient ownership of their own healthcare data.
Real-world Application: Home (medicalchain.com)
Blockchain technology has already shown its ability to be able to support the needs of many sectors with disparate stakeholders through cryptocurrency. There are several players in the industry of patient healthcare data management via blockchain technology. Examples include Medicalchain, Health Wizz and Curisium in the USA. Find more on this project on CFTE’s analysis of blockchain projects.
Blockchain technology is revolutionising many areas of life that have been integral to human existence for millennia. Understanding the potential of blockchain will allow us to form societies and cities in which citizens are provided with effective healthcare, energy and governmental support. It will also assist the arts by giving artists new methods to create art works and ensuring they are properly rewarded for their efforts. Therefore, it is crucial to stay updated on the latest developments and learn more about the potential of blockchain technology and digital assets.
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