Blockchain use cases & opportunities for business

Blockchain technology can be utilized by projects, startups, existing businesses and especially for collaborations among multiple parties. In the past years, many corporations and thousands of startups have already experimented with blockchain technology and created proofs-of-concept and decentralized applications. However, only a handful of blockchain use cases have received serious recognition and some sort of adoption: Digital payments, notarization, crowdfunding, online collectibles, and automation through smart contracts. There are general blockchain functionalities and use cases that can be combined and applied in different industries.

General blockchain use cases

What is it? Timestamping describes documenting a specific event with time and date. In many cases, it’s important to officially testify the correctness of a document or an incident at a specific date either with a signed declaration, a witness or an official notary.

Why blockchain? A blockchain is a sequence of blocks that are added one by one. Whenever you write (save, reference) something on a blockchain it automatically comes with a timestamp and it’s easy to look up these timestamps. Since blockchain timestamps cannot be changed, it’s among the most secure approaches.

Examples: Delivery times, Document notarization

Use case: Life-cycle assets – Track & Trace

What is it? Asset Lifecycle Management is the process of managing an asset throughout its lifetime. Financial products as well as manufactured goods go through a lifecycle and must be tracked and analyzed to know their history and current position.

Why blockchain? On a blockchain, you can register your products regularly and you can issue tokens. Whenever a token is transferred, it is automatically tracked. This makes track and trace solutions very easy.

Examples: Supply chain, Ownership claims, Chain of custody

Use case: Authentication – Certification – Digital rights

What is it? Authentication is about verifying the accurate identity of a person, document, or any other item. This process can be very burdensome. Hence, there are software programs and especially official agencies that issue certificates and check the accuracy of presented documentation & things.

Why blockchain? Due to the power of blockchain technology and cryptography, any document or thing that is saved on a blockchain is incredibly hard if not impossible to alter afterward. Certificates that are issued with a blockchain can easily be checked & verified.

Examples: University degrees, Property titles, ID, Digital rights

Use case: Access rights

What is it? Access control is a security part of almost all applications and companies. Properly managing the access to systems, documents and spaces is a huge challenge and can make a difference for companies’ and individuals’ data.

Why blockchain? Blockchain can document the exact time whenever a person has access to a file or property. Additionally, access control can be automated and run completely secure without problems, interference, or required actions from individuals.

Examples: Delegation rights, Classified documents, Time-restricted access for third-parties

Use case: Indexing – Referencing

What is it? Knowledge and data is scattered in organizations, online and offline. Often, there are various systems running in parallel in order to not lose any data. Some of the internal data can be shared with external parties but must be properly documented, accessible, and verifiable.

Why blockchain? Blockchain is a database system that offers sequential consistency. Public chains can be used for settlement between private systems and function as a source of truth and reference data points. Private chains can be leveraged by known partners.

Examples: Cap table, Mergers & Acquisitions, Collaboration among stakeholders

Use case: Non-fungible assets – Non-fungible tokens

What is it? Usually when you send a file online, you always send a copy and keep the original. However, there are individualized items offline and online where it’s important that they are unique and only one person can own the asset.

Why blockchain? Blockchain has solved the double-spending problem and made it possible to send money from one person to another without needing a third party (bank) that ensures that a single digital token cannot be spent more than once. On a blockchain, you can create non-fungible tokens.

Examples: Digital collectibles, Specification, Concert tickets

Use case: Smart contracts – Self-executing contracts

What is it? A decentralized smart contract is a computer program that is coded to enforce a contract upon certain conditions. With a smart contract, you can automatically execute, control, or document legally relevant events and actions.

Why blockchain? Blockchain is run on a decentralized network that enables the smart contract to run automatically exactly the way intended without interference or change by one of the parties.

Examples: ICO, Automation of sharing & payments, Pay-per-use

Use case: Tokenization

What is it? Tokens have already been used offline to replace real money and digitally to replace sensitive data with a non-sensitive digital equivalent. Digital tokens can easily be issued, can have various properties and can be exchanged & traded if intended.

Why blockchain? Blockchain overcame the double-spend problem. All tokens on a blockchain can easily be issued and transferred without a third party. Token actions such as issuance and transfers are recorded on the blockchain ledger.

Examples: Stable coins, Non-fungible token, Fungible tokens, Asset tokenization, Fractional ownership, Incentivization

Use case: Atomic swaps – Trustless exchanges

What does it mean? Whenever people and businesses deal with each other they have to trust each other at least for some time to receive goods or a service in exchange for payments. For high-value exchanges, complicated contracts and trusted third parties are used to ensure a fair exchange.

Why blockchain? On a blockchain, two parties can agree on a contract and the contract automatically executes upon fulfillment of obligations.

Examples: Exchanging goods & payments, (Flash) Loans, Multi-party agreements

Use case: Staking

What does it mean? Staking is about locking up assets for some time in order to earn interest or other rewards. Rewards can be issued in the same or in other currencies.

Why blockchain? Staking is crypto-specific and derived from the Proof-of-Stake consensus. Since projects can issue a new cryptocurrency, they can define the supply, issuance (schedule), and incentives to hold, earn, or engage with the tokens.

Examples: Incentivization, Lending, Liquidity Farming, Lockdrop

Videos about DLT use cases

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