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Blockchain Application and Use Cases in 2021

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Image of planet earth surrounded by a web of interconnected networks.

What is blockchain technology?

In essence, blockchain technology enables parties with common interests to co-create a permanent, unchangeable and transparent record of exchange and processing without relying on central authority (eg. a bank or government). A simple way to think of blockchain is an anonymous, global, and trustless public ledger.

In 2008, the blockchain idea was combined with several other technologies and computing concepts to create modern cryptocurrencies: electronic cash protected through cryptographic mechanisms instead of a central repository or authority. The first such blockchain-based cryptocurrency was Bitcoin.

Learn more: Read our breakdown of blockchain technology.

Blockchain uses cases and applications in 2021

Many would associate blockchain with cryptocurrencies. While that is true, the scope of applications for blockchain technology is much more than that.

It’s saving both time and money across a wide variety of sectors. From businesses to government applications, the technology is increasing efficiency and it’s becoming more and more popular as industries realise this.

Smart contracts

Smart contracts are just like regular contracts, except the terms of the contract can be enforced in real-time on a blockchain. This means all parties involved in the contract can be held accountable without the need for a middle-man checking in on everyone’s compliance with the contract.

In the medical world, all information is considered sensitive and different doctors will prescribe different things to treat a patient’s symptoms.

BurstIQ is a medical application utilizing Blockchain technology to help patients and doctors securely transfer sensitive information. BurstIQ’s smart contract sets up the parameters of what data can be shared and enforces this in real-time. The data shared is then used to detail personalized health plans for every patient.

With music becoming predominantly digital, this has caused many problems with ownership rights and royalty distributions. 

Mediachain is utilizing blockchain technology to allow musicians to enter into more transparent smart contracts to get the money they deserve. These smart contracts allow for a decentralized and accurate database for ownership rights and artists’ royalties are being recorded and paid out automatically.

Read more: What are smart contracts?

Financial services

The most predominant use of blockchain technology is the transfer of value. Cryptocurrencies value is decided on like every real-world item’s value is decided upon, supply and demand. 

Cryptocurrency transfer apps are booming in popularity right now, pioneered by the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

In recent times, popular games have introduced in-game items that cost real-world money. Some games are even free-to-play and make a profit entirely from in-game items.

OPSkins is a gaming application that allows for the purchase of in-game items with cryptocurrency. The seller of the item will receive the cryptocurrency in their virtual wallet, which they can then keep or trade-in for cash. OPSkins processes more than 2 million virtual transactions a week.

With the prevalence of anonymous cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zecash and the online black market utilizing cryptocurrencies, an application to monitor cryptocurrency transactions was bound to prevail. 

Chainalysis is an application that helps financial institutions and governments monitor the exchange of cryptocurrencies. The blockchain utilizing software monitors and detects criminal activity, for example, fraudulent trading and money laundering. 

Government use-cases

One of the most surprising applications of Blockchain technology is in the form of improving government. Blockchain has the potential to hold public officials accountable through smart contracts and provide transparency by creating a public record of all activity. 

In 2016, under 60% of the American population voted in the general election. Blockchain technology has the power to make voting easier and more secure.

Voatz is a mobile voting platform utilizing blockchain technology. The app allows secure voting from anywhere in the world, without the threat of data corruption or hacking. West Virginia was one of the first states to use the platform, allowing the collection of votes from travelers abroad and eligible service people.

Tuvalu, a tiny nation in the pacific is planning on becoming the world’s first paperless society. Utilizing blockchain technology to create a national digital ledger, where all data is stored on a digital, public blockchain. It’s also looking to move away from traditional real-world currency and into digital/crypto-currency. 

Blockchain uses cases in the future

With the exponential growth in popularity of cryptocurrencies and real-world applications of Blockchain technology, the benefits are becoming increasingly clearer.

In this day and age, everyone and their grandma is somehow digitally connected, and it’s now time to perfect the digital space. In my opinion, Blockchain technology has the power to do so.

The technology allows for the digital space to become more secure and transparent, and I believe these effects will flow into the real world once Blockchain technology has become more evolved and widely supported. 

It may be so that we all live in a paperless society one day, with our governments following the footsteps of Tuvalu’s. 

With that said, hopefully, this article has been insightful and given you a glimpse into blockchain use cases and its exciting potential in the future.

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