If you have been following the cryptocurrency world for long, you would think there’s a blockchain for everything! For those readers who are just learning about cryptocurrency, a blockchain is “an open, distributed ledger” – or a public way of recording transactions.
While a computer science degree might be helpful in most thoroughly understanding the features and benefits of blockchain, there must be some reason why financial organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions are getting involved with blockchain technology. After all, some people consider blockchains to be “the new internet!”
Some of the basic benefits involve:
- Reliable exchange without need for intermediary third parties
- Reduced chances of failure or malicious attacks through decentralized networks
- Transparent record-keeping that can’t be changed or deleted
Because security and privacy by almost all parties involved in transactions, we are seeing the development of many different use cases for blockchain. Whether there is one technology used as a blockchain for everything or many different blockchains, we will just have to wait and see!
A Blockchain for Everything… Almost
While blockchain is a fairly recent innovation, it hasn’t taken long for organizations to seek out way to profit from this technology. Industries are working hard to identify use cases that would capitalize on the utilization of blockchain technology.
In 2016, Moody’s Investors Service published a new and exhaustive report titled “Credit Strategy — Blockchain Technology: Robust, Cost-effective Applications Key to Unlocking Blockchain’s Potential Credit Benefits.” As you could expect, many of these blockchain technology use cases involving the banking and finance sectors.
Some of these use cases include:
- Peer-to-peer transfers: sending payments between parties without a third party
- Currency exchange: converting funds between cryptocurrencies or foreign currencies
- Insurance: managing premiums and claims through transparent smart contracts
If there is every going to be a blockchain for everything, so to speak, there will also need to be additional non-financial use cases for the technology. Many of these use cases are already being explored and developed.
These use cases are wide-ranging and will have cross-industry applications, such as:
- Data storage
- Smart contracts
- Identity management
- Network infrastructure
- Shareholder or election voting
A Blockchain For Your Favorite Brand
This might be the simplest idea for how we end up with a blockchain for everything. Another one of the use cases brought up in the Moody’s report is brand-based blockchain technologies. Brands may choose to create their own blockchain-based loyalty rewards program.
Many brands use point-based loyalty programs to reward their customers for “good behavior,” whether that be visiting a store or completing a purchase. With a blockchain loyalty rewards program, it would be possible for brands to create and distribute their own custom currency that could be easily distributed, collected, or redeemed by others.
Who knows, maybe someday you will be able to cash in your 5000 AppleCoins (unfortunately AppleBytes is already taken) for a brand new iPhone!