Did you know that Sierra Leone was the first ever country to use Blockchain (BC) powered software to conduct elections? During the country’s elections in March 2018, its National Election Commission (NEC) authorised Agora - a Swiss company that deployed digital voting solutions - to utilize Blockchain for the tallying of votes. Storing over 400,000 ballots on its Blockchain-based voting system, the Blockchain powered software allowed registered voters to view the vote tally, increased transparency and eliminated any suspicion of corruption. Blockchain is rapidly innovating and scripting a new digital future!
Although Blockchain shot to fame for its role in facilitating the rise of digital currencies over the past decade - there are many non-cryptocurrency uses for this technology. For instance, launched in 2017, CryptoKitties, an online game with digital representations of cats took the digital world by storm, and was responsible for 11 to 15 percent of traffic Ethereum’s Blockchain. CryptoKitties were also the world’s first crypto collectible whereby digital traders could buy, sell or trade them just like traditional collectibles. Blockchain has made forays into unheard-of territories and constantly continues to re-invent itself.
Banking systems can secure transactions with the help of Blockchain and reduce the cost of money transfers. Financial Services (FS) firms are already using Blockchain to improve clearing and settlement practices. A noteworthy example is Citi and CME Clearing’s use of Baton System’s BC inspired technology. Singapore based Global e-Trade Services (GeTS) – which is a subsidiary of CrimsonLogic, has launched the world’s first cross-border Blockchain for trade - linking ASEAN and China’s Digital Silk Road. Named as Open Trade Blockchain (OTB) - the service is intended to boost overall security, efficacy and transparency for global trade.
In a recent report, Forbes identified Blockchain as one of the most emergent and potentially disruptive technologies that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) should be paying close attention to. Throughout Southeast Asia (SEA), Blockchain is one of the three technologies that have emerged as a front-runners and support for Industry 4.0 throughout the region has caused a noteworthy boost to the demand for Blockchain. Several government initiatives are being implemented to help support and foster the future development of Blockchain.
Reputable tech enterprises and startups all over the globe and especially in SEA have already realized the tremendous impact of how this deep tech is revolutionizing the way people live, work and communicate. In 2018 Philippines' budget secretary announced the country’s intention to use BC in its procurement process – since a Blockchain system used for tracking this will be secure and far less expensive compared to a big data system.
The real potential of Blockchain is just being harnessed and it is predicted that by 2030 enterprising startups will have generated several innovative Blockchain based products and solutions that will re-imagine the digital future. Here are some of the futuristic uses of Blockchain:
Governments using Blockchain to transform the geo-digital future
Blockchain powered Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is here to stay and Dubai is rapidly aiming to change all it’s government systems with DLT-based digital structures by 2020. To become a Blockchain powerhouse China is harnessing the power of public-private Blockchain based partnerships and examples include tech giant Alibaba working with the city of Changzhou, to secure healthcare data with Blockchain and Tencent is developing Blockchain logistics platforms with the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing. SEA is enthusiastically embracing Blockchain and use cases abound in the region. The Public Service Division of Singapore plans to adopt Blockchain to verify vendors’ track records on GeBiz, track a public officer’s career moves and support or even replace certain auditing processes.
Countries harnessing Blockchain for virtual currencies
It is estimated that by 2030 several global governments will create or adopt some form of virtual currency. In March 2018, Venezuelan launched its national digital currency - the Petro and it is estimated that the coin raked in $735 million on its pre-sale day. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has evaluated the implications of using digital tokens as a virtual Singapore dollar. Essentially governments, big enterprises and startups are harnessing this powerful new technology that aspires to transform the digital ecosystem.
Banking leveraging Blockchain to innovate processes
One of the most prevalent domains of Blockchain use is the banking sector, since security is of prime importance for the financial sector. In 2016, Westpac – one of Australia’s largest banks - partnered with Ripple - an enterprise Blockchain solution for global payments and implemented a low-cost cross-border payment system. Traditional money remittance costs may be as high as 20% of the transfer amount. Blockchain will allow for costs as low as 2% - along with swift, secure and real-time transaction processing speeds. Singapore’s Project Ubin brings together several financial institutions and technology partners to test interbank payments using DLT. The near future will have tech startups developing more innovative products using Blockchain and all big banks will start utilizing Blockchain for money transfers, record keeping and other processing functions.
The Gaming Industry using Blockchain enterprisingly
Blockchain and games should have a playful future. In an enterprising move - BitTorrent owner Tron is planning to invest $100 million over the next 3 years. The endeavour is to encourage game developers to make games with Blockchain utilizing a secure and transparent decentralized ledger technology. French video game giant Ubisoft is exploring how Blockchain game can help players and has the potential to revolutionize the future of the video game industry. Inherent problems like hefty fees, unsecured data and fraudulent activities can be resolved via the incorporation of Blockchain.
In 2018 Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency markets have been going through a lean phase and has been facing a bear market - branded ‘crypto winter’. Although it’s had a dampening effect on the overall sentiments towards Blockchain adoption – large enterprises and tech startups alike should understand that cryptocurrency and Blockchain - though strongly interlinked, are different entities and the crypto winter will not affect the potential growth of the Blockchain domain. It is worthwhile to remember that Blockchain is a technology whereas cryptocurrency is simply its most famous application. The future of Blockchain is promising indeed. It has already gained widespread acceptance in sectors like agriculture, art, retail, healthcare, real estate, energy and the food industry.
While cryptocurrency and financial services remain the spotlight domains for Blockchain - startups are bringing new ideas, innovation and creativity to the table and relentlessly thinking outside the box. So get a head start on leveraging the technology and you may become part Blockchain digital history!