In preparing this note, we discovered an interest in blockchain among financial companies and their clients:

  • 42 of the world’s largest banks (in particular, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citi, and others) created the R3 consortium, a developer of blockchain applications for the financial sector.
  • According to a study by Capgemini, more than half of banking customers in the world use the products and services of at least one fintech company. Fintech is growing rapidly in emerging markets, especially in China and India, where more than 75% of bank customers use the services of fintech companies.
  • Traditional banks are investing in technologies that increase performance efficiency. Nearly 90% of bank executives said they were focused on big data and analytics. About 56% focus on the Internet of Things, 54.7% on blockchain technology, 52.3% on robotic technologic process automation, and 50% on open APIs.

Financial services

Clearing

The German Central Bank has joined forces with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Deutsche Börse) to create a blockchain-based clearing and settlement mechanism.

The prototype under development offers settlement transactions in the “delivery versus payment” mode for a digital currency issued by the central bank and ordinary transfers of digital coins or securities. Additionally, the proposed mechanism allows completing the settlement of major corporate transactions – for example, coupon payments and the redemption of issued securities.

The Central Bank of Japan also works in this area.

Audit

Centralized databases are dangerous because they allow amendments without committing. For example, someone made changes to document A but did not write about it in the journal. The decentralized accounting system developed by Factom is able to reduce this risk.

Factom Apollo software integration allows the company to run business processes while maintaining a complete history of data changes.

Identification

Blockchain can reduce banks’ operating costs, speed up transactions, and solve KYC (Know Your Customer — know your customer) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) compliance issues. Blockchain-based registers can eliminate duplication of action while complying with “know your customer” requirements and make encrypted customer data updates that will be distributed to all banks in near real time.

Such opportunities are embodied in BlockNotary, a digital notary that allows individuals to identify themselves to a bank or regulator by uploading their video to the blockchain. To make a transaction or log in, the client fills out a questionnaire, receives an email with a link to a video chat, and fulfills the requirements for verifying their identity (introducing themselves, reading SMS, showing documents). This video (and the time it was uploaded) is automatically recorded on the blockchain, so it cannot be changed or overwritten.

Banking software

Currently, most banks still use systems that were developed in the 1980s and 1990s. However, technology does not stand still: Paul Taylor, a former Google engineer, has developed a new operating system, Vault OS, that can replace banking software.

BANKING SOFTWARE

Taylor’s development is based on blockchain technology. According to the developers, Vault OS is equipped with standard banking functionality, which includes transactions and real-time transaction records. With Vault OS, there will be no need to use expensive corporate data centers, as it uses clouds. The creator notes that by using Vault OS, large banks will be able to save about $1.3 billion a year on IT solutions.

Coupon payments on bonds

The Central Bank of Germany, together with the country’s largest exchange operator, presented a prototype system based on the blockchain. According to a joint statement by the institutions, the established system makes payments and transfers of securities, as well as settlement of securities transactions, for both instant and deferred payments, on a blockchain.

The prototype provides the ability to settle basic corporate transactions, such as coupon payments on securities. The prototype will be tested for several more months.

Gold trading on the stock exchange

The Royal Mint of the United Kingdom has partnered with Chicago-based CME Group to develop a blockchain-based gold trading tool called Royal Mint Gold (RMG). The platform will completely change the way traders and investors think about trading and making deals with gold.

State

Ensuring and streamlining public administration

Within the blockchain framework, voters themselves will have the opportunity to count the number of votes, check whether someone’s vote has been changed or deleted and whether extra marks have appeared. This especially concerns the distribution of assistance and social security.

The fintech company GovCoin Systems Limited is working on this—it supports the UK government in sharing the benefits.

Notary Services

The Bitnation project in Estonia used blockchain technology in the notary field. Through the consolidation with the Estonian government’s e-Residency program, Bitnation project participants gained access to traditional notary services transferred to the blockchain, including marriage registration, birth certificates, and some types of commercial contracts. Bitnation notary services are characterized by decentralization and the ability to use them from anywhere in the world. The e-Residency program started on December 1, 2014.

Shareholders Electronic Voting

In Estonia. Shareholders of companies listed on the Nasdaq Tallinn Stock Exchange will soon be able to vote during shareholder meetings using a new e-voting voting system based on blockchain technology.

This system was developed by Nasdaq, becoming the exchange’s second blockchain project. Its implementation became possible as a result of a partnership with the e-Residency e-citizenship platform, supported by the Estonian government.

SHAREHOLDERS ELECTRONIC VOTING

The Bitnation project in Estonia used blockchain technology in the notary field. Through the consolidation with the Estonian government’s e-Residency program, Bitnation project participants gained access to traditional notary services transferred to the blockchain, including marriage registration, birth certificates, and some types of commercial contracts. Bitnation notary services are characterized by decentralization and the ability to use them from anywhere in the world. The e-Residency program started on December 1, 2014.

Nasdaq reported that a pilot program for the new voting system would be launched later this year and enable companies’ shareholders with Estonian resident status to participate in corporate governance more conveniently and securely.

The same is done by the Boardroom.

Electronic state

The eGaaS project aims to “liberate” people, businesses, and norms from the usual bureaucratic procedures and serve as a tool that can be used to organize and control any type of activity without paperwork.

Healthcare

Data storage and validation structure

The Gem and Tierion projects are collaborating on creating a universal structure for storing and validating data in healthcare.

Gem. The company launched Gem Health, an Ethereum-based network, to develop applications and general infrastructure for healthcare. The company intends to use blockchain technology to create a common infrastructure since the technology allows the creation of global data standards without compromising privacy and security.

Tierion. Back in 2015, together with Philips Healthcare, they launched a blockchain project aimed to create a system for storing information about patients and ensuring convenient access for medical institutions to the data. Now, data is stored within a single medical institution, but blockchain can enable information collection on the entire patient’s life and make it accessible from anywhere.

Guardtime. The project (specialized in data security) has announced a partnership with the eHealth Foundation, an Estonian electronic health Foundation. The solutions proposed by Guardtime are based on KSI (Keyless signature infrastructure), a blockchain technology that provides large-scale data authentication without relying on a centralized trusted authority. The goal of the project is to protect over 1 million medical records. According to the intention of the Guardtime developers, the KSI infrastructure they implemented is embedded in the Oracle database engine. Through this integration, changes in patient records can be seen in real time.

The study of disease

Stanford University scientists are studying Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and many types of cancers by simply running a piece of software on volunteers’ computers. The problems they are trying to solve with the FoldingCoin project require a lot of computing, so the University asks people to donate their unused computing power to benefit science.

Insurance

Microinsurance

While Airbnb, Tujia, Wimdu, and others provide the ability to exchange assets temporarily — including even private homes — they have not developed an asset insurance mechanism on their platforms.

INSURANCE

LenderBot, a blockchain-based service that provides individual microinsurance services via Facebook Messenger chat, offers to deal with this.

P2P insurance

Dynamis is developing smart contracts for P2P unemployment insurance, and the social network LinkedIn acts as a “reputation system”.

Policy applicants can use LinkedIn to verify their identity and employment status. Contenders, in turn, can use LinkedIn to confirm that they are looking for a job.

Retail

Loyalty cards

The Incent Loyalty project, which will be launched in the near future, will allow companies and individual entrepreneurs to attract clients, rewarding them at the time of the transaction with the Incent “loyalty currency”. The transaction takes place on the blockchain, and Incents can be used for purchases in the future.

Solutions for the food service industry

Swish is an automated POS application that combines the power of mobile technology and blockchain. Swish is optimized for use in small and medium retail businesses, especially in the food service industry.

How it works: the visitor scans a pre-generated QR code located on the table, and the restaurant menu pops up on their phone screen. Having made a choice, the customer confirms the order and pays for it with any credit/debit card or cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin), all without waiting for the waiter.

From the restaurant part: customer orders appear on a smartphone or tablet in the POS system, where they are processed by employees.

Logistics

One of the most universally valuable features of blockchain technology is that it enables more secure and transparent tracking of transactions. And supply chains are basically a sequence of transaction nodes that refer to the movement of goods from point to point.

Blockchain will help record the transfer of goods from hand to hand using decentralized records – this will reduce delays, cut costs, and eliminate human errors.

Several startups are working on projects in this area:

  • Provenance is building a material and product tracking system.
  • Fluent offers an alternative lending platform for global supply chains.
  • Skuchain develops blockchain-based software products for B2B trading and the supply chain finance market.

China has also set up a Blockchain Implementation Subcommittee to promote blockchain technology in the logistics industry by raising awareness about the technology, conducting business training, and introducing blockchain research and development standards to the logistics industry. As a result, the members of the Subcommittee want to achieve a complete renewal of the logistics and supply industry in China.

Energy

Historically, this industry has been highly centralized. To gain access to energy, the users must buy it from intermediaries with direct links to large manufacturing companies.

The use of blockchain will allow you to efficiently create, buy, and sell energy, say, to your neighbors.

Transactive Grid is working on such a model.

Mainly, the company has to work with renewable resources used for energy production. It is planned to unite such electric energy producers into a single microsystem, which will allow users to sell and buy electricity.

ENERGY

Accordingly, micro-communities that unite producers and buyers will be created. Thanks to this, people will have the opportunity to purchase and sell renewable electrical energy based on their needs.

Tracking the amount of produced energy and completed transactions can be easily done with the help of smart contacts, which are managed by the blockchain on the Ethereum platform. This makes it possible to track every unit of electrical energy produced and transmitted through the microsystem, as these actions are reflected in a distributed ledger, where they are stored forever. It is planned to use the PayPal system to enable users to make transactions.

Media and Entertainment

Prediction Market

Augur is an online crowdfunding platform set to capitalize on decentralized prediction markets.

The company says it offers a service that looks like a normal betting exchange. The whole process will be decentralized and will cover not only traditional sports and stocks gambling, but also other topics, such as elections and natural disasters.

Gnosis is a decentralized prediction market built on the Ethereum protocol. The system provides an open platform for anyone who wants to predict the outcome of an event. The creators believe that financial and betting applications are ripe for innovation.

Four applications are currently developed: celebrity gossip predictions (available in 1H 2017), art predictions (estimating the value of works of art before an auction), stock prediction surveys (a service for companies), and sports betting.

Games

vDice was one of the first projects in the gambling industry to be implemented entirely on the Ethereum blockchain. The process of the game itself is straightforward. The client sends the amount he wants to bet to the set address (the minimum bet is 0.0036 ETH), a random “lucky” number is calculated by the system, and if it is less than the number guessed by the player, he wins.

The entire game takes place on the Ethereum blockchain and cannot be controlled by developers or third parties.

Worth noting that this decentralized dice project on the Ethereum blockchain has collected just over 214,000 ETH coins or about $1.7 million during the ICO (Initial Coin Offering).

Beyond The Void is a decentralized strategy game in real time in an online multiplayer battle arena.

The game creators hope to attract additional players by giving them complete control over their assets — items can be purchased for use and sale as the player wishes. This way, players will create new economic opportunities for players and developers.

Spells of Genesis is a mobile game combining collectible card games (CCGs), strategy, and arcade. The game is based on blockchain technology, which was also the main inspiration for the storyline.

DAC Play is a platform for selling game currencies and assets between the game provider and the player and directly through the player-to-player scheme.

TV show

BitGirls is a talent agency. The show is built on the principle of the usual entertainment TV shows, but here the viewers can interact with the performers through crypto-currencies. Viewers can vote for the participant of the show, watch the result, and enjoy the show. The results of voting by the audience build the participants’ ratings, directly affecting the outcome.

Singular DTV, a blockchain platform for the production and distribution of television content, aims to create a new governance model: the Centrally Organized Distributed Entity (CODE).

It implies that as soon as the income from film and television distribution of content is collected and distributed, the dividends received from reserve tokens (not participating in the ICO) will be reinvested back into SingularDTV projects for the production of new content, such as series or documentaries.

Education

The Holberton School, a California-based software education program, has announced that it will use blockchain technology to authenticate academic certificates. It means students will receive an electronic guarantee that they have completed the course, and employers will be able to verify the authenticity of this document quickly.

Sports

Blockchain will facilitate crowdfunding for athletes. Usually, such investments in athletes are the responsibility of the Ministry of Sports and private corporations, but the blockchain will help to get fans involved. They will be able to invest in athletes and then receive a financial share of their future achievements. So far, this concept has not been applied on a large scale.

However, The Jetcoin Institute has already developed an electronic currency which fans would be able to invest in the Hellas Verona Italian football team.

Services sector

Taxi

Car-finding apps like Uber are the opposite of decentralization. They enable one company to act the same as a taxi dispatcher and manage the drivers accepted into the system using its algorithms.

TAXI

Israeli startup La’Zooz plans to do the opposite. It has created its own patented digital currency using blockchain technology. E-coins can be saved for future trips, and to earn them, you just need to allow the application to track your location.

The potential customer selects the car they want to rent and enters the transaction into a public ledger on the blockchain. Then, already from the driver’s seat, the client signs a lease agreement and an insurance policy, and the blockchain updates the information on the transaction.

Cars sale

Visa and DocuSign are working on developing such a system.

You can select the car’s annual mileage, color, model, and other critical technical characteristics in the application. It also allows you to purchase insurance for your car in a matter of minutes, powered by a digital transaction management platform developed by DocuSign and an electronic signature integrated with the Visa payment system. As a result, the car is registered in the Bitcoin blockchain.

In a vehicle breakdown, the services themselves will begin to send their offers. The driver will be able to make the best choice without wasting time and effort on visiting several service stations.

The application demonstrates the potential of integrating reality and the web and is part of the long-awaited “Internet of Things“.

Computer Power Exchange

Golem is a decentralized global market for computing power. Acting as an “Airbnb for computers”, Golem allows people to rent out their unused computing power and get paid out in cryptocurrency. This helps significantly reduce the cost of computing to make application development in areas such as CGI graphics, scientific computing, and machine learning more accessible.

Property Sale

When buying and selling property, there is a risk of lack of transparency during and after transactions, especially when collecting piles of documents. Ubitquity is working on a blockchain-based platform for financial institutions, title deeds, and mortgage companies. The project aims to prepare documents while increasing the transparency of the process and reducing its costs.

Online music

It will be possible to pay money for songs directly to the artists themselves through Blockchain. Three companies are already working on this:

  • PeerTracks,
  • Mycelia,
  • Ujo Music.

Copyright

The MUSE project is a blockchain system used in the music industry. It serves as a global database of copyrights, is the means of payment for all music transactions (including royalties), and is also a tool to simplify the licensing of musical works.

Certification

Everledger is a British startup specializing in using blockchain technology to combat the counterfeiting of luxury goods, particularly gems. The Everledger team decided to expand the scope of their services to include samples of expensive vintage wines.

The Chai Wine Vault solution certifies bottles by generating a continuous record on the blockchain about the movement of wine, its storage, and information about the new owner in case of purchase. 

To create the Chai Wine Vault, the technologies of Hyperledger Fabric, the British startup, a part of the IBM open blockchain ecosystem, were used.

Import, export, and letter of credit

Financial conglomerate Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), financial company Wells Fargo and Brighann Cotton Marketing Australia completed a deal using blockchain technology to sell and deliver cotton from the US to China. This deal was the first in the world to use blockchain technology, smart contracts, and the Internet of Things.

Under the terms of the deal, 88 bales of cotton were delivered from Texas, USA, to the Chinese port of Qingdao. The payment for the entire shipment was made in the blockchain. The condition for its implementation was notification of the physical location of the cargo. This opportunity gives the parties to the transaction more options than traditional financial instruments such as letters of credit.

In particular, the use of blockchain and smart contracts not only provides a high level of security and transparency between the seller and the buyer but also reduces the number of errors that can occur when using paper ledgers and manual processes. Another advantage is the reduction of the execution time of operations from several days to several hours and even minutes.

Sphere of recruitment

Edway Group Ltd. (a leading Australian company in the field of industrial training and labor supply) and Australian Sigma Prime (specializing in the provision of services in the area of blockchain technology and information security) are creating a platform that will allow workers and businesses to interact without banks and other standard financial institutions. The platform also acts as a time bank placed on the blockchain.

SPHERE OF RECRUITMENT

The implementation of the project will be carried out in several stages in order to obtain an infrastructure that will have the same effect in the field of hiring as Uber did in the taxi market.

  • The first stage is the creation of national working time tokens (Labor-Hour tokens or LH). National LH tokens are pegged to the average wage in Australia, the US, the UK, and the EU. Firstly, such a peg makes the tokens much less volatile than other cryptocurrencies. Secondly, it provides a hedge against inflation as the average wage in developed countries has risen steadily for decades.
  • The second stage is creating a decentralized LaborX labor market, where people can freely sell their working time to anyone.

Conclusion

As we can see, the tools created for one area, over time, move into others and make them more effective. It all depends on the desire to accept new technologies and enough imagination to conceptualize how they can modernize this direction.

In just a few years, blockchain may become a common phenomenon in our lives as the Internet. In general, all this, of course, will not fundamentally change our lives. However, better transparency, reliability, trust, and simplicity will undoubtedly improve the quality of life.

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