Understanding Blockchain: Blockchain Beyond Cryptocurrency

David Streltsoff
3 min readSep 10, 2021

The concept of blockchain was first pioneered 30 years ago in 1991 by two researchers W. Scott Stornetta and Stuart Haber.

However, it was only in 2008 that blockchain came to public prominence thanks in part to its central function as the pragmatic tech powering Bitcoin.

As digital currencies have proliferated, the original intended use of blockchain seems to have been forgotten by most people.

Regardless, that’s not to say blockchain has failed to find use apart from cryptocurrency. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Blockchain enjoys a myriad of applications and it is these that we are going to focus on in this blog — blockchain beyond cryptocurrency.

Top 5 Revolutionary Blockchain Applications

I’ve compiled a list (by no means exhaustive!) of real-world blockchain-in-use examples to share with you. Each of the following applications has been chosen specifically for its pragmatic, revolutionary, and disruptive factors.

Application #1 Smart Contracts

Supply chains have always been complex and even more so when they are of a global nature. Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk quickly realized the potency of integrating blockchain into operations.

Technology that promised efficiency and secure access to the information within supply chains seemed too good to be true. They wasted no time in partnering up with IBM to develop industry-specific supply chain solutions that relied heavily on this new technology.

The result of this union between IBM and Maersk was TradeLens, software with a range of practical uses including smart contract functionality.

Application #2 Music Streaming Services

You’ve probably heard of Spotify. But did you know that since 2017, the world’s biggest music streaming service provider has been operating a decentralized database?

Yes, Spotify has been relying on blockchain technology to bring transparency to the age-old controversies surrounding recording rights between artists and labels.

Application #3 Rewards-Based Programs

It’s a common assumption that blockchain technology is only used in lofty and sophisticated projects but that’s just not true.

In Loyyal, we see blockchain being utilized to drive the customer rewards and incentives program.

Loyyal is the first of its kind, a platform that’s redefining customer incentives and even making use of smart contracts in the process.

Application #4 End-to-End Diamond Services

The term ‘blood diamonds’ has made people conscious of the need for transparency regarding the mining and processing of diamonds.

World’s leading diamond company De Beers has spared little in its relentless campaign to make the diamond industry more transparent.

As such they’ve developed the first-ever blockchain-operated diamond tracing platform — Tracr — that allows a client to view the entire value chain of the diamond prior to making a purchase.

Application #5 Transparent Fundraising Platforms

One of the biggest fundraising scandals of the decade involves the missing $500 million that the Red Cross allegedly raised after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

In light of such impropriety, donation platforms such as GiveTrackTM built on blockchain were developed on the promise of full accountability and transparency to donors in real-time.

Conclusion

The virtue of blockchain is evident, its potential limitless, and its applications too numerous to mention. Chinese billionaire and founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma’s words may yet prove prophetic, “Blockchain technology could change our world more than people imagine.”

This blog is the last part of a multi-series on Understanding Blockchain. To read part 1 How Off-Chain Transactions Work click here. To read part 2 How On-Chain Transactions Work click here.

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