Blockchain Use Cases in Major Global Industries
Explore ways in which blockchain use cases reimagine business models, processes, and functionality. With examples to spark your imagination in different business sectors.
EASE OF TRACEABILITY, AND EFFICIENCY
How might Supply Chains use blockchains?
Blockchain enables easy and efficient tracking of product movements, exact time of each movement, who performed and confirmed what actions, and the conditions at each stage.
In early October of 2018, diagnosis of E. coli infections began emerging across the US and Canada, resulting over the course of three months in a total of 62 reported cases. The CDC quickly determined the spread to have originated from consumption of romaine lettuce, but took over a full month to determine where exactly the lettuce originated from and to finally issue an official targeted recall order. Meanwhile people continued getting sick while the entire lettuce industry suffered due to (valid) public concern and caution caused by imprecise and inaccessible data points.
Now imagine every single head (or bag) of lettuce had been tagged with an identifier (QR-code, hash, etc.) which pointed to a ‘profile’ of data for that specific product, saved to the blockchain. This data might include factors such as date planted, date harvested, where harvested, growing conditions (temperature, watering, etc.), when packaged and by who where, when shipped and by who where, shipping conditions, which QR code combined or mixed in to what new QR code, and so on, all the way to the final point of sale and consumption by a consumer. If this had been implemented in the case of romaine lettuce, it would have taken a matter of seconds to scan the package code and determine any piece of this data immediately, given proper permissions to do so. Combine this traceability with participants within the network each permissioned to access the data points important to their specific roles, and efficiencies increase, miscommunications and resultant holdups (lost revenue) become a thing of the past.
We speak more about IoT (Internet of Things) in its own section below, but to summarise; at every stage of production and supply chain it is possible to link sensors in direct and otherwise close-circuited communication with the supply chain’s network. These sensors might record metrics such as amount of light, soil moisture and pH, growing temperatures, water/air quality, humidities, packaging conditions, factory conditions, motion sensors (to detect unsafe handling), imagination is the limit. In certain cases (for example with high-quality luxury goods or organic foods) a company might choose to provide its customers with greater access to these data points than in other cases, in order to further engage and gain the trust and loyalty of customers.
Any amount of private data a company wishes to expose or not expose to its customers is possible because of Dragonchain’s hybrid platform and architecture, where by default only a dragonchain business node (L1) owner possesses knowledge of any and all data points, but may explicitly and selectively define any piece it wishes to expose to other external or internal members/partners. Dragonchain’s patented ability to Interchain (checkpoint) a hash artifact - indiscernible to anyone without permission - of each ‘transaction’ or data point in to both private chains and databases as well as highly-secure public chains such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and NEO, provides anyone with access to the data confidence and surety (with relative statistical certainty, and calculable ‘assurance’ in dollars) that the data is true and unaltered. If it is not true and has been altered, the whole world will already know because it means not only that a 51% attack has occurred on every public network and private database/chain Dragonchain Interchain’s with, but that these attacks all occurred at precisely the same time (on doomsday).
- Lack of traceability
- Costly holdups and inefficiencies
- Missing (digital) data from suppliers and farmers
- Share data with tamper-proof immutable records
- Create transparency at every stage of the process
- Streamlined audit processes and increased efficiency
- Increased data accuracy and security
How might Human Resource departments use blockchains?
It is possible to store on a blockchain your own private data, and share only what you need to when you need to with others, for example HR departments. VERIFYING CREDENTIALS AND BACKGROUND, PROCESS EFFICIENCIES, AND CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT ENFORCEMENTS
Consider a potential employee, John, who chooses to store his/her own personal/private data on a blockchain, and share relevant pieces or ‘factors’ of this data (and only these factors) as necessary, helpful, or advantageous. Consider a hiring business or company plugged in to this same ‘identity’ network (with its own set of stored factors, and not necessarily the same types), looking to learn and confirm the validity of John’s credentials and background. If the potential employee chooses to disclose certain factors such as “legal name”, “birthdate”, “education history”, “criminal history”, “employment history”, etc., the employer could easily check and confirm this data. Likewise the employer could hypothetically provide certain factors to John in order for John to make the most informed decision. Of course some of these factors, for example “education history”, require involvement in the same system by parties such as the schools John wishes to include in the factor’s data. We look forward to this continuing to happen over time as momentum in the blockchain industry and applications grow.
Aside from the ease of use, share-ability, and privacy embedded in this system, blockchain has the potential to help reduce a great amount of time-consuming paperwork and redundancy both in hiring processes and beyond.
Regarding contractual and legal agreements within a business or company, or between a company and an outside partner or entity, it is possible to program this logic securely in to a smart contract on the blockchain, monitor their fulfillments and breaches by the participating entities, and execute changes to the state of the chain in accordance with the terms. This further increases efficiency and ensures standardized cause/effect scenarios within a workplace, as pre-defined by the company itself and agreed to by any entity participating with it prior to that particular participation.
- Verifying credentials and background checks
- Extensive paperwork processes
- Managing employee, partner, and contract data
- Verify employee documents and credentials
- Create permission-based access
- Keep data consistently updated
- Protect sensitive data from external security threats
- Approve documents efficiently that reduce the time and effort tied
How might the Healthcare industry use blockchain?
Applications of blockchain in healthcare are limitless. The first application many may immediately consider deals with secure and private storage and properly-permissioned sharing of patient health records. HEALTHCARE RECORDS, DIAGNOSTIC DATA INTEROPERABILITY AND PERMISSIONING, CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES, QUALITY/SANITATION MONITORING AND CONTROL.
As it stands today each hospital/clinic/doctor may maintain its own set of records on its own private (and often insecure) database(s). Sharing records between these separate entities is often inefficient, often involves data transfers over insecure networks/domains/lines, requires paperwork and manual input by both patients (or legal guardians) and medical professionals in order to execute, etc. It is a major limiting factor impacting the healthcare industry’s ability to most effectively heal and/or care for patients.
What if instead, similar to our brief discussion of Identity factors in the HR industry, each patient or legal guardian possessed (and solely owned) the entirety of that patient’s medical history. A patient then attending a new hospital or medical center could easily share any pertinent data (or all, it is of course the owner’s choice) with healthcare professionals in this new facility, within seconds. There could be tiered permissioning logic also, whereby one may choose to only reveal an allergy to medicationX when meeting a new primary care physician, but may choose to also reveal these-factors to an ER physician if a person is unaccompanied by these family members, deemed in critical condition, and/or incapable of responding. The possibilities are here and entirely programmable.
Hand in hand with this comes our next healthcare use case, involving interoperability of various systems and easier/quicker mass-analysis of health, diagnostic, and treatment data. A patient’s records could be programmed in such a way that any time the patient enters a medical facility for care, the diagnostic and treatment data itself and only certain useful factors might be forwarded to a party or parties involved in compiling and performing statistical analysis of this data to output notable trends. The patient could of course choose not to provide the “legal name” bit, but might select to provide their “birthdate”, “race”, “diet data”, etc. for purposes of strengthening the sum value of all data, thereby potentially helping everyone’s health more moving forward.
Now we might examine possible blockchain applications regarding proper control and permissioning of accesses to “controlled substances”, as well as the sanitary control and verification of medical equipment and medications. There are simple solutions for properly handling each of these, and these solutions are mindbogglingly more simple than the issues many of us experience in some capacity stemming from not properly handling them.
Assign identifiers (QR, hash keys, etc.) to medications and chemicals from production all the way to consumption. Assign identifiers to any and all parties involved in production, transport, packaging, distributing, prescribing, etc., set logic rules in smart contracts to dictate who can and can’t do what and who has access to what points of data, record who does what when, environment/storage conditions, etc. For sanitation requirements of equipment, attach data to each device’s identifier such as when it was first used, how many times it has been used, when it was last cleaned (and how and by whom), storage location and conditions, when it expires, any maintenance it has received for what and by who, on and on. Possibilities truly are limitless provided proper scalability, which we’ll discuss more in-depth in the IoT section, and which Dragonchain happens to possess an unbounded store of. The agony of knowing these solutions exist with limited power to spread them in a timely manner is inexpressible on any pain-scale from 1-10.
- Protecting patient health information
- Data interoperability
- Share protected health information under HIPAA regulations
- Ensure high quality data and good data governance
- Faster and safer data processing
- Improved record-keeping capabilities
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- Fraud, theft, and shrinkage
- Internal controls and IT control design, implementation, and performance
- Insider trading due to hacking or leaked financial information
- Automating transactions, improving inventory management, and tracking assets to reduce theft
- Blockchain-based controls that can produce immutable records, and prove a process was performed
- Drastically improve cloud storage to maintain financial data accessibility and security
- Reduced monetary loss caused by bad actors
- Improved financial statement accuracy, financial reporting timeliness, and audit efficiency
- Added data security
- Dependence on a centralized architecture
- Limited scalability
- Create smart contracts allowing devices to operate autonomously
- Interchain capabilities increase potential for interoperability
- Prevention of single point of failure
- Seamless integration between devices