New Solutions on the Block
By: Lidia Salgado
To a layman, blockchain technology is often synonymous to Bitcoin – a virtual currency underpinned by blockchain was the first and the largest public blockchain implementation. But while cryptocurrencies are still the most well-known use of blockchain technology, lots of other industries – and even sovereign states – are incorporating blockchain into their modus operandi. In the past few months we’ve seen blockchain applications building efficiencies in higher education, gun ownership control, healthcare, and many more. In this article we’ve put together a list of blockchain use cases, from EGFS clients to European countries.
Estonia and Gibraltar
Estonia became the first country to build its own blockchain platform, KSI. According to its official website, “KSI is a blockchain technology designed in Estonia and used globally to make sure networks, systems and data are free of compromise, all while retaining 100% data privacy. With KSI Blockchain deployed in Estonian government networks, history cannot be rewritten by anybody and the authenticity of the electronic data can be mathematically proven. It means that no-one – not hackers, not system administrators, and not even government itself – can manipulate the data and get away with that”.
As a result, 99% of public services are available to citizens as e-services.
Meanwhile, Gibraltar has launched Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), a subsidiary of Gibraltar Stock Exchange. Its Rock Token (RKT) is “the currency of choice for transactions, listings and a multitude of functions, serving as the medium of exchange and the utility coin that powers the GBX-GSX ecosystem”.
The official website states that “Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) aims to be a world-leading institutional-grade token sale platform and cryptocurrency exchange. Built upon principles of decentralisation and community consensus, we seek to create a new era of trust, openness and global acceptance for the crypto industry, one quality token listing at a time”.
Dogs and Diamonds
Blockchain is also helping to track both men’s and girls’ best friends.
In January 2018 Reuters reported that De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer by the value of its gems, launched public pilot of the first industry-wide blockchain to track gems each time they change hands starting from the moment they are dug from the ground. De Beers, in partnership with London-based startup firm Everledger, has led industry efforts to verify the authenticity of diamonds.
As for dogs, New York-based pre-launch company PetFolio is a blockchain platform that allows veterinarians, vet hospitals, animal rescue centers, service providers and pet owners to easily store and transfer a pet’s medical records and documentation.
A gun problem solution
Connecticut-based GunClear is a blockchain protocol that enables and mandates gun owners to register their firearms onto a universal public ledger. GunClear leverages distributed ledger technology to create an ecosystem of transparent gun ownership that allows for a clear history of a firearm transfer, preventing weapons from being acquired without proper clearance and accountability. Essentially, GunClear is building a tool that protects gun owners right to privacy, while delivering a tangible step forward in responsible gun ownership and transactions.
HealthcareITNews reports that “blockchain is already showing big potential for helping health systems confirm data provenance, manage pharma and medical device supply chain, patient recruitment for clinical trials, security and interoperability of IoT and medical device data, and privacy protections for precision medicine.
The drug supply chain can be “compromised by infiltration of fake, falsified and substandard medicines,” for instance. But blockchain “enables provenance of supply chain data across multiple partners and better ensures integrity.”
Clinical trial recruitment can be costly and time-consuming. But blockchain can more easily enable patient matching and monitoring (by matching with EHRs) and can validate data, incentivize participation and allow for e-consent.
Medical device IoT security are critical concerns, but blockchain can help by allowing “smart contracts” for maintenance and ensuring tamper-proof device logs”.
Financial Services: Quorum by JP Morgan, Messari, and a fake SEC website
Financial industry remains blockchain’s most popular domain. One of the major developments is Quorum™, an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum developed by JP Morgan. Quorum is “ideal for any application requiring high speed and high throughput processing of private transactions within a permissioned group of known participants. Quorum addresses specific challenges to blockchain technology adoption within the financial industry, and beyond”. To express its significance, Quorum is being compared to the SWIFT system by the market players.
Meanwhile, Blockchain Capital-backed (and EGFS client) Messari is building an open-source data library that helps researchers, investors, and regulators make sense of the cryptoasset industry. Forbes reports that Messari’s “goal is to build a financial disclosure database for crypto assets. Just as the SEC’s Edgar database houses U.S. public companies’ securities filings, Messari’s Cofounder and CEO Ryan Selkis wants to create a free, open-source repository for cryptocurrency data, making it easier for investors to differentiate serious crypto projects from scams.
“The norm is very poor, scattershot disclosures, or none at all,” Selkis says. Most assets have white papers, but there’s no standardization in what’s included. Some reveal the founders, how many coins they hold and future inflation rates. Others reveal none of this information. It makes due diligence and coin comparisons extremely difficult for investors”.
SEC is also offering help to aspiring ICO investors – in the form of a fake website, marketing an ICO of Howeycoins. (They even created a fake White Paper!) When one clicks on the “Buy Coins Now” though, they will be re-directed to another SEC-created website that provides detailed information on ICO scams.
To sum up, we’ve listed only a few of the blockchain applications that currently exist. Considering that blockchain could be public or private, centralized or decentralized – or hybrid – there could be a multitude of use cases in a wide variety of industries.
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