5 new uses for blockchain beyond cryptocurrency

Although blockchain is the core technology for many cryptocurrencies, it has long gone beyond the crypto industry. Blockchain is a technology that can turn traditional centralized tools into decentralized and store information in the unaltered ledger, ensuring a high level of data security and safety. So it is not surprising that many companies in various industries have begun to research and even apply blockchain to optimize their processes. The demand for blockchain specialists is so big now that LinkedIn has called blockchain the top 1 hard skill companies need most.

Bitcoin blockchain image

The most popular blockchain application area is financial services. Blockchain is also often used in supply chains and logistics. Blockchain use cases can be found in healthcare, the public sector, education, art, entertainment, etc. But there are also some areas where blockchain is just starting to gain traction, and here are 5 of them.

Wills and inheritance

One of the most popular blockchain-related technologies used outside of the crypto space is smart contracts. Smart contracts allow you to automatically perform the actions stipulated by the contract in case of fulfillment of the required conditions. The most popular smart contract platform is Ethereum and you need the native cryptocurrency ETH to create a smart contract on this network. If you don’t want to search for how to buy ETH instantly when creating a smart contract, consider buying it intentionally.

With smart contracts, it is even possible to solve the problems of such a specific type of contract as a will. Wills are often challenged in courts for their “authenticity” or whether the legal interpretation of the will corresponds to the intentions of the deceased. Information on the blockchain is immutable, so storing the will on it would simplify the identification of factual information and exclude unfounded claims. A smart contract would also be able to carry out the inheritance procedure for certain documents or funds that are stored on the blockchain.

Japanese startup Zweispace is already working on a blockchain-based will system that automatically distributes the assets of an inheritance trust to beneficiaries upon confirmation of the contract’s fulfillment. This approach should eliminate the need for third parties like will executors and litigation over the veracity of wills.

Ride-hailing and car history

Blockchain network

Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft quickly gained popularity, replacing many operators and dispatch hubs. But, in fact, they essentially work as dispatch hubs that manage their fleet of drivers and dictate prices using algorithms. Blockchain can optimize this approach and create a decentralized marketplace where each driver and passenger may set their own prices and find each other.

For example, startup Arcade City allows drivers to set their own pricing rates. Transactions and all other interactions between passenger and driver are recorded on the blockchain. This approach would help drivers create their own transport business and client base, as well as offer additional services. In January 2021, ArcadeCity announced that it would make its code open-source to promote its initiatives.

Blockchain can also be used to check the history of transportation or an individual vehicle. Estonian startup CarVertical records vehicle data, including leasing and insurance history, to generate a complete vehicle history report. This information can be useful when buying/renting a car, for passengers, and users of various ride-sharing services.

Construction and building

Quite often, a lot of specialists and contractors are involved in construction to implement a project, making the process of tracking budget execution and document flow relatively complicated and time-consuming. With blockchain, the construction process can be more transparent, allowing you to better track the building status and find misuse of funds.

Blockchain can already be found in supply chains, so it may help ensure construction materials are sourced from valid places and have appropriate quality, while smart contracts may simplify the process of paying contractors and specialists.

Dutch construction company HerenBouw recently used blockchain for one large project in Amsterdam. According to the company, blockchain helped make more accurate and verifiable records of completed and paid work.

Waste management

The constant influx of waste and a huge number of landfills make waste management a very laborious and confusing process. But blockchain-based solutions could help not only with existing systems but also create recycling incentives for people.

For example, the W2V Eco Solutions platform rewards people who sort waste correctly with tokens. At the same time, the RecycleGO project has created blockchain-based software that allows recycling companies to track their activities and waste logistics.

Large companies are also joining the waste management initiatives. In August 2020, chemical giant BASF launched a project to track plastic on the blockchain using unique barcodes that should also incentivize recycling.

Logging and timber

According to the UN, about 15-30% of all timber is obtained illegally. At the same time, wood supply chains are very confusing and complex, making it very difficult for individuals and the state to find out if the wood was obtained following local regulations. Quite often, these acts require a certain degree of forest ecological sustainability.

At the end of 2020, the US Forestry and Communities Foundation created ForesTrust with IBM to track the wood supply chain to ensure transparency of the origin of the material. In turn, the WTP project uses the blockchain to make the wood industry in South America more transparent, saving Amazonia. According to various estimates, about 50-90% of all timber in the Amazon is illegally obtained.

In addition, startup Veridium Labs is developing a “blockchain-based carbon credit and natural capital market” to protect natural resources such as forests. This platform is designed to simplify the process of buying carbon credits for both individuals and companies.