Blockchain as a substitute for Bitcoin – that is a thing of the past. Blockchain-technology can do a whole lot more besides. Ten examples from the present and the not-too-distant future.
Urs Binder, 19
Amongst the countries in this world, Estonia is the champion when it comes to digitisation. Even if you're not a resident of Estonia, you can register as an "E-Resident" and as a virtual citizen can set up online companies and make use of banking services. And the country's latest innovation is the facility to get married electronically: The marriage certificate is stored in a blockchain – enabling you to get married without any need for a civil-law notary, a registry office or a minister of religion.
The company Brooklyn Microgrid is constructing a local "microgrid" in the New York district of Brooklyn that will operate in parallel to the existing electrical network. This will enable the owners of private photovoltaic plants to trade energy between one another. A blockchain is used to keep a precise record of who is producing how much energy at what times and who is consuming that energy. The project is currently in its pilot phase.
Lufthansa has launched an initiative known as "Blockchain for Aviation". The company aims to use blockchain-technology to seamlessly document the fate of aircraft components from the manufacturer to the airline and ultimately to the maintenance and repair operations (MRO) provider. Counterfeit components of reduced quality or manipulation of the number of hours flown will be a thing of the past.
In the battle against deception and corruption during the sale of land, Honduras will in future rely on a blockchain, as a means of storing land-register entries in a form that secures them against counterfeiting. Until now, proving ownership of a property was a difficult task. Some cases, in which ownership was unclear, gave rise to violent conflicts and hackers managed to acquire attractive properties for themselves by data manipulation.
In collaboration with the start-up company Slock.it, the German electricity provider RWE is developing the smart socket adapter, Blockcharge. You simply insert it into an electricity socket of your choice and recharge your electric car. The electricity consumed will not be charged to the owner of the socket itself, but to the driver of the vehicle. The adapter transmits details of the amount of electricity consumed via a smartphone app into the Ethereum blockchain.
Counterfeit diamonds, "blood diamonds" – buying diamonds is an area that is studded with pitfalls. In the battle against the black market and criminality in the diamonds sector, Everledger has started to use blockchain-technology. Immediately after a test excavation, diamonds and all of their individual features will be registered in a blockchain and a record maintained of every step from the mine to the customer.
Just like many other projects, the Blockchain B3i initiative is still in its early stages. Aegon, Allianz, Munich Re, Swiss Re and Zurich have got together, in order to fathom out the potential that blockchain has to offer for the insurance sector. Their initial idea is to process intra-group retrocessions using blockchain-technology.
On the peer-to-peer platform Rex, a demo version of which is currently available, real estate properties or shares in real estate property can be sold or leased worldwide. Rex stores all transactions in an Ethereum-based blockchain. This dependable, unalterable register should enable real estate transactions to be carried out in a fraction of the time required previously.
Many people take the view that elections and referendums conducted electronically are prone to errors and are not immune to fraud. Followmyvote aims to change all that. The votes are recorded in a Bitshares-blockchain in an unalterable and transparent form. That way, the manipulation of voting should become a thing of the past – and the system's operators hope that thanks to the convenient and state-of-the-art onlinevoting platform, individuals will be more inclined to turn out to vote once again.
In the case of the card game "Spells of Genesis" (online or in the form of an iOS or Android app) from the Swiss games company Everdreamsoft, card ownership is recorded in a blockchain, rather than in a conventional database. If a player manipulates the number of cards in his account, this is quickly detected and corrected. Cheating is now a thing of the past!