10 Unusual Blockchain Use Cases

When Blockchain technology was first introduced with Bitcoin in 2009, no one could have foreseen its impact on the world or the unusual cases of blockchain that have emerged. Fast forward to now and Blockchain has become popular for its ability to ensure data integrity in transactions and smart contracts. 

Thanks to its cost-effectiveness,  transparency, speed and top security, it has found its way into many industries, with blockchain spending expected to reach $19 billion this year.

In this post, we will be looking into 10 use cases that have caught our attention, in industries benefiting from Blockchain in unusual and impressive ways.

Ujo Music- Transforming payment for artists

Let’s start exploring the first unusual use case for blockchain with Ujo Music

Ujo Music started with a mission to get artists paid fairly for their music, addressing the issues of inadequate royalties from streaming and complicated copyright laws.

To solve this, they turned to blockchain technology, specifically Ethereum. In using this, Ujo Music was able to create a community that allowed music owners to automatically receive royalty payments. Artists were also able to retain these rights due to smart contracts and cryptocurrencies. This approach allowed artists to access their earnings instantly, without the need to incur fees or have the wait time associated with more traditional systems. 

As previously mentioned, Blockchain also allows for transparency and security, which is key in preventing theft and copyright infringement of the owner’s information. Ujo Music is transforming the payment landscape for artists in the digital, allowing for better management and rights over their music.

Cryptokitties-Buying virtual cats and gaming

For anyone looking to collect and breed digital cats in 2017, Cryptokitties was the place to be. While the idea of a cartoon crypto animation seems incredibly niche, the initial Cryptokitties craze is one that cannot be denied in the blockchain space.

Upon its launch, it immediately went viral, with the alluring tagline “The world’s first Ethereum game.” According to nonfungible.com, the NFT felines saw sales volume spike from just 1,500 on launch day, to 52,000 by the of 2017.

CryptoKitties was among the first projects to harness smart contracts by attaching code to data constructs called tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. Each chunk of the game’s code (which it refers to as a “gene”) describes the attributes of a digital cat. Players buy, collect, sell, and even breed new felines. 

Source: Dapper Labs

Just like individual Ethereum tokens and bitcoins, the cat’s code also ensures that the token representing each cat is unique, which is where the nonfungible token, or NFT, comes in. A fungible good is, by definition, one that can be replaced by an identical item—one bitcoin is as good as any other bitcoin. An NFT, by contrast, has a unique code that applies to no other NFT.

Blockchain can be used in gaming in general by creating digital and analogue gaming experiences. By investing in CryptoKitties, players could invest, build and extend their gaming experience.

ParagonCoin for Cannabis

Our next unusual blockchain case stems from legal cannabis. 

Legal cannabis is a booming business, expected to be worth $1.2 billion by the end of 2024. With this amount of money, a cashless solution offers business owners further security. Transactions are easily trackable and offer transparency and accountability that traditional banking doesn’t.

ParagonCoin business roadmap

Transparency in the legal cannabis space is key for businesses looking to challenge its negative image. ParagonCoin, a cryptocurrency startup had a unique value proposition for its entire ecosystem, making it clear that its business would be used for no illegal activity.

Though recently debunked, ParagonCoin was a pioneer in its field in utilising B2B payments. At the time of its launch, paying for services was only possible with cash, as businesses that were related to cannabis were not allowed to officially have a bank account. 

This creates a dire knock-on effect, making it difficult for businesses to pay for solicitors, staff and other operational costs. The only ways to get an operation running would have been unsafe, inconvenient and possibly illegal. ParagonCoin remedied this by asking businesses to adopt a pseudo-random generator (PRG) payment system to answer the immediate issues. 

Here are some other ways ParagonCoin adopted blockchain technology in their cannabis industry:

  • Regulatory compliance– Simplifying compliance issues on a local and federal level.
  • Secure transactions– Utilising smart contracts to automate and enforce agreement terms, reducing the risk of fraud.
  • Decentralised marketplace– Creating a platform for securely listing and reviewing products and services, while fostering a community of engaged users, businesses and regulators.
  • Innovative business models– The facilitating of crowdfunding to transparently raise business capital.

These cases highlight blockchain technologies’ ability to enhance transparency, compliance, and security, within even the most unexpected industries.

Siemens partnership- Sharing solar power

Siemens has partnered with startup LO3 Energy with an app called Brooklyn Microgrid. This allows residents of Brooklyn who own solar panels to transfer their energy to others who don’t have this capability. Consumers and solar panel owners are in control of the entire transaction.

Residents with solar panels sell excess energy back to their neighbours, in a peer-to-peer transaction. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of peer-to-peer (p2p) networks, you can check out our post about the Principles of Blockchain.

Microgrids reduce the amount of energy that gets lost during transmission. It provides a more efficient alternative since approximately 5% of electricity generated in the US is lost in transit. The Brooklyn microgrid not only minimises these losses but also offers economic benefits to those who have installed solar panels, as well as the local community.

Björn Borg and same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage is still banned in a majority of countries across the world. With that in mind, the Swedish sportswear brand Björn Borg discovered an ingenious way for loved ones to be in holy matrimony, regardless of sexual orientation on the blockchain. But how?

Blockchain is stereotypically linked with money, but remove those connotations and you have an effective ledger that can record events as well as transactions.

Björn Borg has put this loophole to extremely good use by forming the digital platform Marriage Unblocked, where you can propose, marry and exchange vows all on the blockchain. What’s more, the records can be kept anonymous offering security for those in potential danger, and you get the flexibility of smart contracts.

Of course, you can request a certificate to display proudly too!

Whilst this doesn’t hold any legal requirements, everything is produced and stored online. If religion or government isn’t a primary concern of yours, where’s the harm in a blockchain marriage?

Tangle -Simplifying the Internet of Things (IoT)

Blockchain offers ledgers that can record the huge amounts of data produced by IoT systems. Once again the upside is the level of transparency it offers that simply cannot be found in other services.

The Internet of Things is one of the most exciting elements to come out of technology. The connected ecosystems can record and share various interactions. Blockchain lends itself perfectly to this, as it can transfer data and give identification for both public and private sector use cases. Here is an example:

Public sector- Infrastructure management, taxes (and other municipal services).

Private sector -logistical upgrade, warehousing tracking, greater efficiency, and enhanced data capabilities.

IOTA’s Tangle is a blockchain specifically for IoT which handles machine-to-machine micropayments. It has reengineered distributed ledger technology (DLT), enabling the secure exchange of both value and data.

Tangle is the data structure behind micro-transaction crypto tokens that are purposely optimised and developed for IoT. It differs from other blockchains and cryptocurrencies by having a much lighter, more efficient way to deal with tens of billions of devices. 

It includes a decentralised peer-to-peer network that relies on a Distributed Acyclic Graph (DAG), which creates a distributed ledger rather than “blocks”. There are no transaction fees, no mining, and no external consensus process. This also secures data to be transferred between digital devices.

Walmart and IBM- Improving supply chains

Blockchain’s real-time tracking is essential for any company with a significant number of supply chains. 

Walmart partnered with IBM to produce a blockchain called Hyperledger Fabric blockchain to track foods from the supplier to the shop shelf. When a food-borne disease outbreak occurs, it can take weeks to find the source. Better traceability through blockchain helped save time and lives, allowing companies to act fast and protect affected farms.

Walmart chose blockchain technology as the best option for a decentralised food supply ecosystem. With IBM, they created a food traceability system based on Hyperledger Fabric. 

The food traceability system built for the two products worked and Walmart can now trace the origin of over 25 products from five of its different suppliers using this system.

Agora for elections and voter fraud

Voting on a blockchain offers full transparency, and reduces the chance of voter fraud. A prime example of this is in Sierra Leone, which in 2018 became the first country to run a blockchain-based election, with 70% of the pollers using the technology to anonymously store votes in an immutable ledger. 

Sierra Leone results on the Agora blockchain

These results were placed on Agora’s blockchain and by allowing anyone to view it, the government aimed to provide a level of trust with its citizens. The platform reduced controversy and costs enquired when using paper ballots. 

The result of this is a trustworthy and legitimate result that will also limit the amount of the hearsay from opposition voters and parties, especially in Sierra Leone which has had heavy corruption claims in the past.

MedRec and Dentacoin Healthcare

With the emphasis on keeping many records in a secure manner, blockchain lends itself nicely to medical records and healthcare.

MedRec is one business using blockchain to keep secure files of medical records by using a decentralised CMS and smart contracts. This also allows transparency of data and the ability to make secure payments connected to your health. Blockchain can also be used to track dental care in the same sort of way.

One example is Dentacoin, which uses the global token ERC20. It can be used for dental records but also to ensure dental tools and materials are sourced appropriately, whether tools are used on the correct patients, networks that can transfer information to each other quickly and a compliance tool.

Everledger- Luxury items and art selling

Blockchain’s ability to track data and transactions lends itself nicely to the world of luxury items.

Everledger.io is a blockchain-based platform that enhances transparency and security in supply chain management. It’s particularly used for high-value assets such as diamonds, art, and fine wines. 

The platform uses blockchain technology to create a digital ledger that records the provenance and lifecycle of these assets, ensuring authenticity and preventing fraud. Through offering a tamper-proof digital ledger, Everledger allows stakeholders to trace the origin and ownership history of valuable assets, reducing the risk of fraud and enhancing overall market transparency.

The diamond industry is a great use case of the Everledger platform. 

By recording each diamond’s unique attributes and history on an immutable blockchain, Everledger provides a secure and transparent way to verify the authenticity and ethical sourcing of diamonds. This helps in combating the circulation of conflict diamonds but also builds consumer trust by providing a verifiable digital record of each diamond’s journey from mine to market.

To conclude

While there is a buzz around blockchain, it’s important to note that the industry is well-established, and these surprising cases of blockchain display the broad and exciting nature of the industry as a whole. There are still other advantages to blockchain that we haven’t delved into in this article, but we’ve highlighted one of its greatest advantages for businesses and consumers alike- its transparency.
If you or your business are working on an unusual blockchain case, let us know – we would love to hear about it! Also if you are looking for reliable FinTech or blockchain experts, give us a shout, we offer many services to fix issues of scale.

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