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Blockchain Applications: What Is Blockchain Used For?
Blockchain technology is a one-to-one decentralised ledger that keeps a record of transactions through a varied range of systems in the network. Satoshi Nakamoto first proposed the technology in 2008. It was conceptualised as the backbone for a digital currency, including Bitcoin, but has since evolved to encompass various uses and applications, including electronic voting, managing supply chains, electronic ownership transfer and intelligent contracts. One of the most exciting and disruptive applications of blockchain is that it enables trust between two people or organisations who do not know each other or trust an intermediary. Moreover, just like with Bitcoin, the technology has the potential for several applications that range from disrupting the financial system to democratising how many people living in emerging countries around the world use money.
Applications of blockchain
Blockchain applications have often aimed to provide a platform for digital trading currencies and improve the underlying blockchain technology. And that's still the most common use case for blockchains.
The three main categories to identify the fundamental uses of blockchain −
Financial services and regulation (also known as "crypto 2.0")
Blockchain applications are a new way to provide financial services, especially concerning the trading of digital currencies. These applications empower users to invest in cryptocurrency, which isn't possible with fiat currencies (like the dollar or euro). And that has caused a lot of controversy with governments who want to control the money supply and regulate it for their benefit instead of allowing people to exchange value for profit freely.
The second biggest use for blockchains is applications designed for social networking. It is one of the more compelling use cases people have been waiting for since the arrival of blockchains ten years ago.
No one thought they would be helpful outside of cryptocurrencies, but now they are used in various ways. For example, social networking applications manage identity and reputation, data storage, and even protect your privacy.
The third most prominent use case is in managing supply chains. Blockchains are perfect for supply chains because they keep track of products from creation to sale. It eliminates fraud as you can't fake a product's past for being stored on an immutable ledger. It is unable to be done with databases or spreadsheets.
Besides these three main categories, many other smaller ones are developing on the side, such as decentralised DNS, content distribution networks and more.
Uses of Blockchain
The beautiful thing about the blockchain is the extent of its applicability. The potential use cases for blockchain are limitless and more uses are being discovered daily, which include −
Blockchain was only introduced as a solution to exchange transfers, but now tokenising assets and fiat currencies (USD tokens), P2P lending backed by assets, and settlement through intelligent contracts are possible. Smart Contracts, which underpin blockchain networks like Ethereum, can be used not only for financial purposes but to create "immutable contracts" as well. These contracts are designed to be self-enforcing and transparent; third parties like banks or governments cannot modify them.
Although blockchain remains a controversial topic in healthcare today, several companies are trying to develop solutions for this area. One such company is MedRec which is developing a Healthcare record system based on blockchain technology. Another company aiming to revolutionise healthcare record management is Aion. This company has created an interoperable public communications network and a new blockchain-based protocol that enables the secure transfer of value between any two connected blockchains.
Starting with Sierra Leone elections conducted using blockchain technology, blockchain voting is a concept that has gained a lot of traction in recent years. The idea behind these voting systems is to store votes on a distributed ledger that cannot be manipulated by anyone who election officials don't grant access.
Blockchain-based systems can be fruitful for storing and trading Renewable Energy credits. The Clean Energy Blockchain will allow energy consumers, producers and prosumers to sell their energy directly to each other via smart contracts on a peer-to-peer marketplace. The platform will use its cryptocurrency (CLEAN) for trading all forms of clean energy and related products, services and data.
Currently, the catch records of fishermen are stored in centralised databases controlled by the state. The fishermen must give a portion of their catch to the state as tax. In addition, any fraud or inaccurate data on what they caught and sold can lead to them losing out on tax rebates that would have been due to them. If a state's database were instead stored on a blockchain, it would be immutable, and fishmongers could easily verify that the data presented is accurate. It will make it difficult for bureaucrats to manipulate or "adjust" catch records for their gains.
One of the main issues in education today is transcript fraud. In some countries, high school graduates also have to pay a tuition fee (like in the United States). Traditionally, transcripts are only available to those who want to purchase them. Governments and companies usually charge high prices for this service, making it difficult for disadvantaged students to access the transcript and take the admission test on the same day. If a student refuses to pay for their transcript, the school cannot track or prove that the student has attended or completed the classes. It can lead them to drop out or not be able to progress further with their education.
Blockchain applications are the newest, most exciting thing in technology. Blockchain applications are a type of application that runs on what is called a "distributed ledger". Distributed ledgers are pretty old and have been around for quite some time, but so far, they haven't seen much use outside big institutions like banks. All that changed with blockchain applications which became popular after Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies started to take off as it gave people an opportunity to invest in this new currency before it took off.
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