Blockchain use cases
It is believed by many people that blockchain may be a more revolutionary invention than the Internet. Initially, that technology was associated with the decentralized payment method. However, Vitalik Buterin showed that the blockchain can be more than a financial system. The founder of Ethereum introduced smart contracts which were described in the What is Ethereum? article.
The first and most known use cases of the blockchain are cryptocurrencies that are used as a payment method. An obvious example of this is Bitcoin, but also Monero and various stablecoins. Due to its privacy, transparency and immutability, crypto payments are becoming more and more widespread. Cryptocurrencies are believed to be a revolutionary payment method due to its irreversibility, accessibility and relatively low cost of sending transactions.
Supply chain is a process of delivering a particular product or service, from initial businesses to customers.
As we already know, blockchain is transparent and immutable. Each participant of the chain could track the deliveries or other moving resources. Moreover, it would be known who is responsible for each parcel.
Probably you know what a cash on delivery service is, if not - it is the system of paying for goods when they are delivered. Using blockchain, each party involved in the transaction (a customer, a supplier and supply chain company) have a confirmation of payment for a particular parcel.
Many companies use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which is a system that sends business information to each other. However, it usually delivers data in batches, not in real-time. Any information about parcels on the tracking is updated within hours or even days. On the blockchain, data is validated and spread immediately to all parties involved in the process.
Digital signatures may replace known contracts and documentation. All participants would have access to a valid version of the arrangement. Again, immutability and transparency appear in this case. Everybody can see, nobody can change unless all parties involved reach a consensus.
Blockchain in charity may be useful when it comes to transparency and security. Many people lose trust in charities due to unclear information where their money would be spent and fraud cases of charity fundraising. Some companies developed blockchain platforms for charities that make it possible to track all expenses of each charity, the whole process of reaching the goal (for example building of schools in poor countries). Moreover, all transactions are validated in real-time so there are not any difficulties regarding delays in receiving payments. Blockchain also reduces costs of fundraising so more money can be used for the charity.
Security is the feature of the blockchain that may be applied to private data storage like in health care. Cryptography makes it nearly impossible to carry out a successful attack on a blockchain network or to change data based inside it. Immutability eases creating safe health care data storage. Peer to peer systems make it possible to update data in real-time even if they are stored on different computers and locations.
Another use case of the blockchain is governance, especially elections. Throughout the entire history of democratic elections, there were many cases of corruption until today. In democratic election process, which we know, it is the electoral commission's responsibility to collect and count all votes and announce the result of the election. The inside process of this is not visible for each voter, so any frauds take place there. Transparency of the blockchain makes it clear to check how many votes each candidate got, also makes it harder to manipulate and hide information.
As we can see, blockchain has many use cases, not only related to the payment system. Due to its transparency, security and relatively low costs, it can be applied in various fields.