Many view the Blockchain as having the potential to disrupt intermediaries in many markets and revolutionize the management of identities, records, and economic transactions. The finance, insurance, and ironically, government industries have been the most aggressive in Blockchain experimentation and adoption, with finance alone spending $1.4B in the past three years. Below are a few examples of how blockchain can be used in these industries:
Governments and Institutions “Smart Economy” Networks
Particularly developing economies, have commenced implementation of Blockchains to i) manage Citizen identities, ii) index, encrypt and manage access to public and private records, iii) and facilitate various asset transfers between parties. Most typically, these economies create a biometric profile of their citizens (and in some cases even cows [owned asset subject to biometrics]), associate it to an citizen ID which the sovereign state indexes against public records and allows the citizen to interfaces with asset accounts. Several countries, such as India, have distributed cell phones with plans to distribute the underlying “Smart Economy” application to its citizens. Using the application, Blockchain participants might transfer assets (with biometrics as the proof of identity), access their public records, or in the case of medical or other private records store and grant access situationally for use by third parties. Over time, the systems will allow data owners (the individual) to “sell” their data where appropriate to interested third parties. Because transactions occur on the BC, sovereign States have the ability to view and tax the complete economy. These economies establish credibility (via strengthened Rule of Law and Rights management) and trust by maintaining an immutable records system that includes such critical legal claims and personal assets such as titles to land, insurance agreements, cattle rights, cell phone minutes, etc. Additionally, and possibly more importantly, governments have incorporated taxation rules within the BC to broaden the tax base and enable native integration of assessment and collection processes into the economy. For the citizens, many of whom have lived in a bankless world, these networks allow them to actively and visibly participate in the economy (through their personal crypto wallet) and maintain control over their own personal data and “credit” history.
Music and Art IP rights
Many IP rights and music industry academics and some musicians have begun to implement Blockchain models, on Ethereum, to manage the distribution of their IP and collection of royalties. They believe that, eventually, musicians and other digital artists, will store their IP, all corresponding rights and collect associated fees on the Blockchain. Because it is freely accessible to all users, but subject to the rights and fees imposed by the owner of those rights, it eliminates intermediaries and allows easy IP transferability. As an example an artists may charge a small fee for a download and different fees for use on a commercial track or a movie. While this model would not eliminate off-blockchain file sharing it will allow artists to control their IP without intermediaries and possibly to establish a personal connection with their fan base.
Voting on the Blockchain
Australia and Russia have announced plans to pilot voting using Blockchain. Other nations already in process if setting up Economic and Records management systems such as India and certain east African Countries have commenced the bio-identification of their citizentry, which would enable secure, registration-based voting on their networks. Early adopters cite convenience, faster counting, efficiency, reduced costs, and transparency as the catalysts for their investment. A remote digital voting solution on a public BC would verify voter identities, transmit information securely, prevent unauthorized access, and be location agnostic, allowing voters log in and vote from anywhere in the world.
Complex Supply Chains (with many handoffs and possible distributed rights to economic benefits or regulatory protections)
Companies such as Skuchain and Factom have built solutions to provide conditional financing of inventory and track the movement and hand off of goods along a supply chain (these movements trigger releae of funds and payments as executed). These type solutions may also allow for the tracking of lots, waste / spoilage to improve quality assurance and effectively manage recalls thus optimizing the supply chain end to end.