The what and the where of blockchain applications
In the business world, there are a few primary types of blockchain applications, including cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and distributed ledger technologies (DLT). Specific sectors have been making use of these technologies.
What are the types of blockchain applications?
Cryptocurrencies are assets that are either digital or virtual form. They use cryptography as a means to secure transactions. Crypto is decentralized, meaning it isn’t subject to control by the government or financial institutions. Developed in 2009, Bitcoin is the very first and most popular cryptocurrency. Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero are other popular cryptocurrencies.
A smart contract is a self-executing contract that runs on a blockchain platform. These contracts can be used for a variety of purposes, such as escrow services, loan agreements, and token exchange.
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)
A distributed ledger is a database that is shared across a blockchain network of computers. DLT allows for secure, transparent, and tamper-proof record-keeping. Blockchain is the most well-known type of DLT. Other types of DLT include Hashgraph and IOTA.
What industries are using these applications?
The financial sector is one of the earliest adopters of blockchain technology. Blockchain platforms such as Ethereum and Bitcoin are used to create decentralized applications (dApps). Examples of this include Augur, a decentralized prediction market platform, and MakerDAO, a decentralized lending platform. In 2019, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced the launch of its own cryptocurrency, JPM Coin. JPM Coin is based on blockchain technology.
The health care sector is seeing increasing blockchain adoption. Management of medical records is a great example of using blockchain technology. Startups, including Medicalchain and Patientory, are working on developing blockchain-based solutions for managing medical records. Blockchain is also being applied in the realm of pharmaceuticals. Viant, a blockchain platform, is working on a solution that would track the movement of drugs through the supply chain—from manufacturer to patient.
There is a growing use of blockchain technology in the supply chain sector. IBM, for example, has developed a blockchain-based platform called Food Trust. A number of major food companies, including Nestle, Dole, and Walmart, are using Food Trust. The platform allows for the tracking of food items throughout supply chains, from farm to store shelf. This helps to ensure food safety and quality.
These are a few instances of sectors that are seeing increasing blockchain adoption. However, as technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more widespread use of blockchain in business.