Blockchain Technology has been the talk of the town lately.
Denoting a decentralized, tamper-resistant digital ledger, it is at the core of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The characteristics of this tech, though, allow for alternative applications in various domains, including the traditional financial sector, logistics, energy production and many more.
A lot of corporations are still working with heaps of paper and regular databases in their day-to-day activities. Documentation flow and business processes in this form are, obviously, becoming redundant, unnecessarily complex and obsolete. Decentralized blockchain systems might be the response to the nontrivial issue of modernizing this old school routine and making it align with the global progress in the digital realm.
This article is going to shed light on some big players that have already made promising steps toward implementing the blockchain in their modus operandi.
1. Partnership Between Microsoft & ID2020 Alliance
Software giant Microsoft has teamed up with ID2020 Alliance, a global initiative aimed at filling the void of identity documentation in different parts of the world. The latter combines the efforts of governments, NGOs, and private companies under one umbrella to improve people’s lives.
Microsoft has stepped in to facilitate the creation of a blockchain-based identity management technology using Microsoft Azure. To this end, the corporation is also partnering with Accenture and Avanade digital service providers.
2. Goldman Sachs With a Cryptocurrency Trading Desk
Goldman Sachs, a multinational financial services company headquartered in New York, is up to creating a cryptocurrency trading desk. This ambitious initiative will reportedly go live by June 2018. The investment bank’s officials have stated they would pilot deals related to Bitcoin, the progenitor of all modern crypto coins.
In response to criticism, CEO Lloyd Blankfein has emphasized that people were once skeptical about paper money displacing gold as the savings and payment means.
3. BHP Billiton Follows Suit
BHP Billiton, the world’s largest resources company engaged in mining, metals, and petroleum, is partnering with BlockApps and ConsenSys technology firms to implement a blockchain-based system for more efficient real-time tracking of fluid and wellbore rock samples.
This system will be built using the Ethereum platform that accommodates a smart contract feature. BHP is reportedly planning to encourage its contractors to join and leverage what’s called the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) for storing and exchanging operational data. This is a P2P protocol often used with blockchain startups.
4. Maersk and IBM
The world’s leading transportation conglomerate Maersk is going to cooperate with IBM to create a blockchain-based system tasked with facilitating its business operations. The would-be joint venture is expected to help ports, customs, banks and other involved entities substitute paperwork with a robust digital ledger and simultaneously protect them from modern cyber threats.
The current state of things in the industry heavily relies on documentation which, when lost somewhere along the supply chain, causes edible and other perishable goods to spoil. Last year, Maersk had teamed up with Guardtime, an enterprise blockchain initiative, to elaborate an ad hoc insurance system based on the blockchain.
5. FedEx, UPS and BNSF Railway Giving Blockchain a Shot
Hundreds of big players in the freight industry, including FedEx, UPS, BNSF Railway and Schneider Trucking, have joined BiTA (Blockchain in Transport Alliance). This project pursues the goal of introducing uniform standards for testing and deploying blockchain applications in global transportation and logistics.
6. Pemex Keeps Going the Innovation Route
Pemex, Mexico’s largest petroleum company, has partnered with Petroteq Energy to develop a tamper-proof ledger aimed at taking its business operations a notch further. The technology will rely on Petroteq’s proprietary blockchain-based platform called PetroBLOQ.
It’s noteworthy that Pemex had pioneered in accepting cryptocurrency as a means of payment in the petroleum industry. The supply chain management (SCM) solution to be launched is another evidence of the company’s commitment to implementing cutting-edge tech.
7. UBS & Other Banks giving Ethereum Blockchain a Shot
Multinational financial companies and banks, including UBS, Credit Suisse, and Barclays, are reportedly intending to use Ethereum-borne blockchain to facilitate compliance with the new MiFID II / MiFIR legislative framework that took effect in January 2018.
The technology will assist participating banks in cross-referencing and verifying Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) information. Companies from the finance sector have been also actively working on utilizing distributed ledgers to streamline back office operations, which will purportedly save them about $20 billion annually.
8. Nestle, Walmart and Others Run a Blockchain Project
The big names in the food industry are trying to tackle the challenge of food safety using the blockchain. Walmart, Unilever, Nestle, Kroger and a number of other corporations have been cooperating with IBM on this issue since August 2017. The pilot is intended to improve supply chain tracking.
In particular, it can reduce shipment tracking time from days to seconds – something that definitely makes a difference. Furthermore, this blockchain implementation should facilitate safety recalls.
9. The United Nations keeps up The Trend
Another noteworthy blockchain use case has to do with the United Nations’ Climate Change Coalition. The organization is considering the implementation of distributed ledger technology (DLT) to bolster its climate change research.
The system is expected to revolutionize the workflows for providing real-time data on emissions and carbon trading statistics. Another benefit of leveraging DLT is that the research will be no longer susceptible to adverse political influence.
This isn’t the UN’s first move toward harnessing the new tech. It has previously used the Ethereum platform to support Syrian refugees by providing them with blockchain-based food vouchers.
10. TEPCO Innovates The Energy Sector
Japan’s leading utility provider TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is partnering with the Electron platform to create a unified infrastructure for its business processes. This move can become a game changer in the entire industry, which currently uses separate services for registration, accounting, and settlement.
By integrating all these records into a single ledger, energy providers will be able to keep track of transactions, assets and metering data more efficiently.
11. Illinois Makes a Breakthrough in Healthcare Licensing
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is collaborating with healthcare blockchain innovation firm Hashed Health on a project aimed at streamlining physician licensing in the state.
Specifically, the pilot’s mission is to automate the cumbersome processes currently accompanying licensure in Illinois. It is also anticipated to enhance the accuracy of medical credentialing and data sharing in the healthcare sector.
12. Blockchain-based ID Platform to Emerge in Brazil
The Brazilian government is planning to take advantage of the Ethereum blockchain for improving identity-related processes. The country’s Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management is experimenting with the implementation of uPort, an open identity system crafted by ConsenSys.
This way, residents will be able to register their own identity on Ethereum, manage credentials, and authorize transactions while resting assured their personal keys and data are safe. Meanwhile, the government will have more opportunities to verify the legitimacy of citizens’ IDs.
13. DKMS and Birth Registration Pilots by Evernym
Evernym, a provider of a new distributed ledger dedicated to solving birth registration problems, received a research grant for nearly $794,000 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to devise a Decentralized Key Management System (DKMS) for the government.
The company is also partnering with the Illinois Blockchain Initiative (IBI) to create a ledger-based birth registration system.
The Bottom Line
Although multiple industries could certainly benefit from implementing the blockchain technology, the use of distributed ledgers in domains other than cryptocurrency isn’t too common thus far. Even large multinational corporations and governments are only making small first steps toward revolutionizing their activities with this remarkable tech.
Most of the above cases are pilots that have yet to be deployed on a large scale. However, the results already look promising for the transportation, finance, food supply, energy, healthcare, identity, climate research and humanitarian aid sectors. Hopefully, this list will continue to expand.
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