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What will be the killer app for the Blockchain? The reality here is that it won’t be limited to just one app when there’s such a wide range of applications that the Blockchain, aka “distributed ledgers” to the corporate world, could be used for.
Any industry in which it’s normal for corporations to work with multiple suppliers and subcontractors, have multiple offices and factories that might be separated by hundreds or thousands of miles, or just need a record-keeping system that’s reliable and difficult to tamper with after the fact could benefit from the Blockchain. That means these three applications could be the top Blockchain applications for 2018.
Supply Chain Apps
This is a big one for corporations that worry about possible fraud, smuggling, poaching, and the public relations problems that come with getting caught supporting unethical practices at any point in their supply chain.
This is a world in which consumers are becoming more socially aware. If they’re given the choice and educated about the ethical ramifications of their buying decisions, they will usually prefer Fair Trade, environmentally friendly, socially responsible products. They might choose a diamond that has been grown in the lab over one that supports bloody civil wars in which the rebels kidnap children and force them to fight.
That’s something that corporations will have to consider when making business decisions even if they aren’t too worried about being boycotted by consumers who never shop at their retail locations anyway. How can a C-suite executive guarantee that the corporation’s supply chain is operating in an aboveboard manner at all points in the chain?
The Blockchain is capable of handling the process from beginning to end. The raw materials are logged at approved facilities as soon as they’re harvested.
At each step in the chain, from the location at which trees are harvested to the sawmill that turns them into boards to the factory that turns them into furniture to the furniture that sells them to customers, the shipment is logged.
But if a shipment does not arrive as expected or comes from an unexpected source, a Blockchain app can alert the appropriate personnel and reject a shipment that might be fraudulent or the result of illegal tampering.
This is one application that is already in place in nations like Estonia, which had some severe problems with its notary system that included corruption and incompetence on the part of its notary agents.
How do you prove that you own your land if you have nothing but a piece of paper to show for it and somebody else created a duplicate of that paper so they can steal it out from under you?
A Blockchain-based notary application can check for signs of duplications or overlap in the titles, deeds, and marriage licenses and reject anything that could be seen as less than honest.
Although there might be an argument to be made for getting the state out of marriage, the notary system would see the marriage license in the same way that it sees a contract.
You could theoretically include details about a prenuptial agreement when registering your marriage and make divorce a lot less messy from a legal standpoint if one spouse isn’t keeping up his or her end of the deal.
Most importantly, a Blockchain notary system would take the middleman out of the process of registering or transferring ownership of a deed or title.
There would be no more notary agents who can be distracted or bribed into helping somebody commit fraud by “making a mistake” on a land deed.
The notary system would essentially look to the public like a Do-It-Yourself service that can automatically check to make sure that everything is legitimate and there’s no overlap with records that already exist on the system.
State Vital Records System
The Illinois state government is currently testing a new birth certificate program that is based on the Blockchain. In this system, authorized parties such as businesses and government agencies would be able to verify a person’s identity by requesting encrypted access to the appropriate record. This is part of Illinois’ effort to make the state more friendly to Blockchain startups.
A system like this puts more control back in the hands of citizens who worry about their identities and vital records possibly being stolen or mismanaged by a centralized authority.
The benefits of this system include making it easier for citizens to manage their own identities and for authorities to receive alerts if a possible malicious actor attempts to alter or duplicate identifying records such as birth certificates and drivers’ licenses.
Although some parties call this concept “self-sovereign identity,” it should not be confused with the sovereign citizen movement, which demands all the rights of citizenship with none of the responsibilities.
This system is simply a way to secure individual identity as it relates to the state and make certain that only authorized parties can access individual records on the system. If Illinois’ birth certificate program is successful, it could well be adopted by other states in 2018 and beyond.
As a legal thing, this is naturally not meant to be investment advice. These are simply three Blockchain apps that could go big in 2018 as demand for decentralized and secure record-keeping systems grows and the public demands the security of knowing that human error and malicious activity are being removed from the equation.
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