“Blockchain, the technology that makes cryptocurrency possible, has the potential to be just as transformative as the internet innovations on which we depend every day,” wrote Maria Bustillos in a recent New York Times op-ed entitled, “Yes, Crypto is Crashing Again. Blockchain Will Survive.”
Indeed, Blockchain technology continues making its way across industries, largely due to its decentralized and highly secure nature.
But while most of what we hear about is the application of blockchain technology in the healthcare, finance and supply chain sectors, there are also lesser known applications that are making a mark – and shedding light on just how much potential this technology holds.
Below are 4 real-world applications of blockchain technology that you might not know about.
- Digital Car Certificates
Have you ever heard of odometer fraud? It’s when people tamper with their car’s odometer, trying to decrease their mileage so they can sell their car for more than it’s worth. Blockchain technology can help prevent this by replacing regular odometers with new ones that are connected to a blockchain. Essentially, a car’s mileage would be written on the blockchain periodically, creating a secure and digital certificate for every car. This would prevent falsified readings and allow everyone to look up the history of the vehicle.
Bosch’s IoT Lab is currently working on a project that demonstrates this, recording mileage and GPS data of hundreds of cars in Europe that is secured on the blockchain.
- Digital Wills & Inheritances
Wills and inheritances, typically recorded on paper, are now being replaced with digital documents created and stored using blockchain networks. This enables records to be verified quickly and safely, eliminating legal issues related to inheritance, including the distribution of crypto assets. For instance, Safe Haven provides users with the ability to protect their digital assets so the investor’s legacy can be safely and reliably passed on to appointees.
Similarly, Blockchain technology is also playing a large role in identity management, allowing people to take control of their identity by generating a global, multi-purpose ID. This creates a whole new level of security to prevent the sharing of personally identifiable information with a third party without consent – a hotly contested issue in today’s data-driven landscape.
- Digital Voting
Blockchain technology can also be used to create a secure, transparent and efficient voting system that encompasses all aspects of an election – from voter registration and voter identity verification to ballot casting and vote counting.
Essentially, voter information is stored in a chain of ordered blocks validated by network participants. A verified record of transactions then keeps the data secure and doesn’t allow its modification.
An example of this is the Swiss blockchain voting company Agora, which acted as an international observer in Sierra Leone’s 2018 elections by providing an independent count of ballots to serve as the benchmark against the real results. Private blockchain for voting was used to record cast votes, making it the first time the blockchain had been used to audit national elections.
Similarly, West Virginia became the first state – and first in the world – to test mobile voting by blockchain in a federal election. Voatz’s blockchain application allows registered voters to receive, vote and send their ballots, and has a strict registration and voter validation process that incorporates biometric facial recognition and thumbprint scanning.
- Blockchain games
According to a recent report from GameRefinery, Blockchain games are one of the most trending topics in the game industry right now. While they’ve been around for a while, they’ve only recently become more widespread. For instance, Axie Infinity, which was released in 2018, only started taking off in 2021 and is now one of the most popular blockchain games.
What makes a mobile game a Blockchain game? Namely, they incorporate some sort of blockchain technology, such as:
- NFTs and/or cryptocurrency added onto a pre-existing live game
- Games build around blockchain technology from launch
- Play-to-earn games utilizing cryptocurrencies
- Blockchain games using NFTs but no cryptocurrency
Other examples of blockchain games include the multiplayer battle arena game (MOBA) Thetan Arena; massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) MIR4; property trading game Upland; and the social customization game Highrise.
As this article notes, “In most cases, blockchain games are decentralized, which means in-game items such as weapons, collectibles and skins are tokenized (linked to NFTs which can establish a unique identity), and can be traded for cryptocurrencies and converted into cash. Similarly, there’s a growing trend of games that are allowing players to purchase areas within the game (usually referred to as virtual land) which players can then create and monetize, although uses can vary significantly from game to game.”
Blockchain technology is transforming the world through its ability to offer innovative solutions not only in business, but in everyday life. As its potential becomes more readily apparent, we’ll likely see a future fueled by its continued adoption.
Maria Bustillos said it well in the New York Times op-ed mentioned above: “It’s possible to imagine a future where you might look up the fate of every tax dollar you’ve paid, and government corruption becomes all but impossible; where beautiful and important stories and music, games and art would never disappear from the internet; where, instead of being forced to rely on a big power company, you might buy and sell surplus solar energy from or to your own neighbors, and never face another blackout. Wherever tamper-proof, independent record-keeping is needed, Blockchain could keep all the receipts, available and safe, for anyone to see.”