Understanding blockchain technology and knowing what you can actually use it for are two different things. You might be surprised by the versatility of distributed ledger technology.
More than just money stuff, we’re going to explore the real world uses of blockchain technology. Even though it’s still relatively new, there are already a variety of applications!
If you’re completely new to the concept, don’t be scared off by the blockchain. There are plenty of misconceptions and mystery around this technology.
You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s harmful to the environment. But, this all depends on the consensus mechanism used. More damaging practices are quickly being phased out, and there are more environmentally friendly blockchains, like Solana.
Fractis is built on the Solana blockchain, since we’re conscious about providing accessible music investment, without adversely impact our wonderful world.
Lots of people also think blockchain technology is far too complicated to understand. In actual fact, you don’t need to be some kind of computing genius to wrap your head around how it all works. We’ll give you a very brief run down, in case you were wondering!
What Is Blockchain?
A blockchain is a digitally distributed, decentralised ledger of transactions. The block aspect is essentially a bunch of data, and this data could represent pretty much anything. But, transactions is the most common way to look at the data stored in a block.
When each block is filled up (they can only hold so many transactions), a new one is added to the chain. These blocks cannot be altered once they’re added to the chain, making them immutable. No room is left for fraudulent activity or shady goings-on.
The chain aspect is the complex cryptographic maths part. It exists in the form of a puzzle, which takes powerful computers to guess it. This is known as mining or validating. The correct guessing of the chain, known as the “hash”, is usually rewarded with cryptocurrency.
In theory, anyone can mine or validate blocks, but it does involve lots of computer power and some knowledge of how things work. The sharing of responsibility for validating new blocks or transactions is what makes it decentralised – it’s not just one person making all the big decisions.
Uses of Blockchain Technology
Of course, you could go into much more depth when explaining what the blockchain is. It can be easier to understand something when you hear about its practical uses.
One of the most common uses of the blockchain is financial. The investing and trading of cryptocurrencies is something that’s most well-known by people who aren’t au fait with blockchain. Let’s go into the financial applications of blockchain.
Blockchain offers an alternative to the usual, centralised way of banking and dealing with money.
Because blockchain technology is decentralised and fast, it enables people to send large sums of money without having to wait for approval from third parties.
Cryptocurrency is the blockchain alternative to fiat money. It’s secure because of the almost impossible to solve cryptographic puzzles that create blocks on the chain. Different coins have different value, dictated by the market and supply, which changes just like stock.
Since the majority of blockchains are public ledgers, it makes it much harder to double spend. It also helps people see and understand exactly where their money is going.
As time goes on, more and more businesses are accepting cryptocurrency as payment. Some blockchains are vying to replace the likes of Visa, and to makes it an everyday part of modern life.
Food Supply Chain
Having a smooth and effective food supply chain is crucial for providing stores and restaurants with safe and quality ingredients and products.
Walmart has been working with IBM Food Trust to create a transparent and decentralised food supply ecosystem. By digitising the food supply journey, it is easier to track the state and quality of food as it travels along the supply chain.
This prevents any questions around where food may be getting damaged, as well as speeding up the process, so food can arrive at its freshest.
Medical Supplies & Records
Uses of blockchain technology extend to the world of medicine. Taking the same principles of food supply chain and applying them to medicines means treatment can be given to patients more efficiently.
Storing medical records and patient data also helps to ensure patients get the correct treatment in a faster manner. In some countries, records are kept by different companies, making it difficult and slow if someone is away from home and becomes ill, for example.
Retail & Customer Experience
Companies are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience. Not only does using blockchain technology make payments smoother and more affordable, but it improves security and any processes like deliveries or refunds.
Blocks on the blockchain can contain smart contracts alongside transactions. Smart contracts operate on an if/then model. Essentially, when a predetermined agreement is met, an action or process is initiated or executed. In terms of customer experience, this could be perfect for processing refunds.
For example, if a customer doesn’t receive a product within a specified timeframe, then a refund is given.
Voting, especially in political elections, is an incredibly time-consuming process. Generally, voting is done on paper or online. People have to manually count paper votes, which takes all night. Some countries opt for this exclusively, due to concerns around the security of voting digitally.
Because hacking is a very real threat, votes can potentially be tampered with. Blockchain data is immutable and secure, meaning it can’t be changed after being verified. This makes the voting process much more secure and reliable.
The trustless nature of blockchain technology also means there are no concerns around bias or corruption.
Whenever you talk about combining industries and blockchain, people automatically assume you’re going to mention NFTs. Whilst you could indeed link NFTs to pretty much anything, from reading this article you should now be seeing that data storage on the blockchain itself is useful for varied industries.
Buying and selling property is notoriously bureaucratic and slow. There is so much paperwork involved, not to mention endless waiting for solicitors to sanction and send documents. By switching the process over to blockchain, there are no third parties involved slowing the process down.
Again, by using smart contracts, real estate companies can issue titles and give over legal ownership in seconds. They can even offer properties that can be purchased using cryptocurrency.
One of the more well known uses of blockchain technology is digital collectibles. These come in the form of NFTs – tokens which can be bought using crypto and prove ownership of a particular asset (or copy of an asset).
Just like physical collectibles, like trading cards or beanie babies, NFTs can rise or reduce in value. This depends on the demand, much like anything else. Examples of collectible NFTs range from digital artwork to even people’s tweets. Jack Dorsey’s first tweet was sold for $2.9m earlier this year.
The usefulness of this use of the blockchain often raises questions. What’s the point? Beyond bragging rights, collectors enjoy investing a trading, just like any other sort of collector.
The blockchain – NFTs specifically – can be used in the world of music too. Some NFTs, like the collectibles mentioned above, aren’t particularly useful. Pictures and tweets are non-productive assets, and they don’t provide the owner with any value beyond reselling (hopefully) for a profit.
Music royalties are the prime example of a productive asset. Having a share in music royalties means you will earn revenue continuously – as long as the music continues to be streamed!
Fractis allows artists to turn their music streaming royalties into NFTs, which they can sell on the site to excited investors and dedicated fans. By selling fractional royalties as NFTs, artists can enjoy instant revenue, which could fund their next projects.