Buying online has never been cheaper, easier or safer than with blockchain. Eventually, all industries will have to integrate blockchain, just as all companies need a website. With its transaction processing capabilities, blockchain revolution is hitting the financial services industry first. But beyond banks and credit card companies, what are some industries that blockchain will change forever? Here’s how the blockchain leaders of today are using distributed ledger technology to change industries.
1. Financial Services
Out of the industries that blockchain will change, it makes sense that financial services will come first with the popularity of tokens and ICOs. Blockchain secures and speeds up transactions, and is already affecting the way banks, credit card companies and investment funds operate.
America’s largest financial services companies have already made sure they’ll get their piece of the blockchain intellectual property pie: Bank of America, Mastercard and Fidelity aggressively patented blockchain in 2017.
But the financial giants of today may not be all that relevant tomorrow. Celsius Network is a blockchain banking platform that allows you to borrow, lend and earn interest using cryptocurrency. “We basically do what a bank does, except we’re less profit-driven,” explained Chief Marketing Officer, Keith Baumwald to Blocklr in an email.
And Celsius is far from the only example of blockchain and financial service integration. SALT Lending, a cryptocurrency-backed lending provider, allows customers to stake their Bitcoin (BTC), for instance, when applying for loans. Though its the first industry that blockchain will change forever, financial services is far from the only sector that will use distributed ledger tech.
2. Real Estate
Not only is blockchain a more secure and efficient way to store data, but it can get rid of the inconsistencies often found in real estate records. “We use the underlying blockchain technology to transfer real estate titles from the legacy systems used by governments and title companies,” explained Anastasiya Maslova, Ubitquity’s Client Account Manager, in an email to Blocklr.
In other words, Ubitquity uses blockchain to help homebuyers understand everything they can about a property. Real estate transactions can be faster and easier if you give the municipality, insurance company, seller and buyer simultaneous access to the same records on the blockchain.
Blockchain for real estate is game-changing in developing nations. “In third-world countries, this can go as far as corrupt governments and corporations colluding to steal land from families who have owned their lands for many generations, but may not have the paperwork to prove it,” added Maslova, describing the obstacles facing property owners worldwide.
Shipping internationally is no easy feat. Legal international trade requires following country-specific regulations, mountains of paperwork and a complex supply chain. Not only is this process costly, but the margins for human error and fraud are significant.
That’s why Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, partnered with IBM. Together they created TradeLens, an international shipping blockchain platform. This means giving all levels of the supply chain—manufacturers, shipping companies, retailers and governments—can simultaneously access information about a shipment.
They’ve already used TradeLens to arrange 158 million shipping events, Maersk told Blocklr. And, by Maersk’s own estimates, blockchain will reduce shipping costs by one fifth, and boost international trade by 15%.
Energy is one of the most significant industries that blockchain will change. Yet, one of the least publicized.
Today, solar panels often produce more energy than a household uses. And often, the only option is to sell that energy back to the power companies. These companies are neither designed nor especially motivated to buy, rather than sell, energy.
This is where Power Ledger comes in. An Australian-based company, Power Ledger (POWR) is a peer-to-peer marketplace for energy. If your solar panels produce excess energy, you can sell it to someone else using PWR ledger’s blockchain technology. By selling it peer-to-peer, you’re also cutting out the middle man, meaning the energy company. This translates to a better price for everyone, now that the energy company doesn’t determine it.
In an Australia-based trial, Power Ledger demonstrated that it is cheaper for people without solar panels to buy energy from their solar panel-owning neighbors than from the energy company. This could have huge consequences for renewable energy and energy affordability in the future—all thanks to blockchain.
5. Digital Advertising
One of blockchain’s main advantages is its ability to render third parties obsolete. Browser Brave does this through their innovative, blockchain-based approach to digital advertising.
Implementing blockchain technology does not necessarily mean that Facebook has access to all your data. For example, the browser Brave automatically blocks ads, trackers, crypto mining and third-party cookies. Unlike Chrome or Safari, you don’t even have to download an extension.
Instead, Brave has introduced the Basic Attention Token. In simple terms, this token rewards users for their attention and anonymously reports data to publishers and advertisers. This translates to more revenue for publishers, more useful data for advertisers and less privacy violation for users.
“Brave cuts out the middle-players who subsist on tracking,” wrote Catherine Corre, Head of Communications at Brave to Blocklr. “We aim to pay publishers much better than the low revenue shares they get today from programmatic ads. We also will give a revenue share to the user (70% of the revenue of the in-browser, private ads they consent to view.)”
Making a living as a musician is more difficult than ever. This is why music is one of the industries that blockchain will change forever. Audius, a decentralized music streaming model, is aiming to become the Soundcloud of blockchain. It allows artists and listeners to interact direclty—which means better margins for the artist.
“The biggest problem in the music industry is that streaming is taking off and artists aren’t necessarily earning a lot of money,” explained founder and musician Ranidu Lankage. “And it can take three months, or up to 18 months for unsigned artists, to get paid for streams.”
Specifically, Audius users buy tokens or earn them by listening to ads. Then, the user spends their cryptocurrency on music, 85% of which go to the artist. Down the line as their token increases in value, Audius anticipates selling their token off, instead of charging artists.
7. Digital Records
The days of mailing, and losing, official government and education papers may be behind us. Learning Machine is aiming to bring credentials, ranging from Photo IDs to Test Scores, into the digital sphere. Education is one of the industries that blockchain will change, especially when it comes to record-keeping.
This Massachusetts Institute of Technology Labs partner caters specifically to recent graduates. “It puts students in control of their academic achievements and provides others (like employers) and easy way to know that these records are authentic,” explained Chris Jagers, founder and CEO of Learning Machine in an email to Blocklr.
Students will no longer have to pay to send their university records. Learning Machine told us that they’ve partnered with MIT, Southern New Hampshire University, Central New Mexico Community College, the Ministry of Education and employment of Malta and the Bahamas’ National Training Agency.
Industries That Blockchain Will Change Forever
Eventually, blockchain will disrupt every industry. This is why blockchain engineers make more than software engineers on average.
Just look at these seven industries that blockchain will change: They’re already implementing distributed ledger technology, to great success. Blockchain can benefit the cannabis industry for the same reason it benefits shipping companies like Maersk. That is, a distributed ledger can cut out the middleman and save everyone time and money.
And small blockchain companies aren’t the only ones benefitting from new tech. Big companies, ranging from Microsoft’s Azure to De Beers, the diamond retailer, are racing to implement blockchain before they become the middleman.