Blockchain is reaching new heights and entering new industries.
Based on the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), blockchain allows the process of sharing data across multiple sources to be more secure, fast, and reliable.
While the technology came to light with Bitcoin, it is now being assessed and adapted by various institutions. From companies such as IBM, Apple, and Walmart, to countries including the US, France, and Russia, the blockchain technology is being looked into extensively, leading to new and innovative ways for its utilization.
Food and Agriculture
From African farming to tracking food source in China, the blockchain technology is being used a variety of ways, all towards the goal of sharing data globally and quickly without compromising its security.
A partnership was announced last month by African Potash Ltd and the FinComEco, which aimed towards the development of a blockchain-based solution for sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural commodity markets where all transaction logging and supply-chain financing are to be done using an online ledger.
The partners stated that they are going to develop a system which will help smaller farmers and traders connect with brokers and buyers to help them get better prices for their produce and services. It was further explained that the new platform would also offer “microloans” to its users.
In related news, Ukraine announced the usage of blockchain technology in order to manage its registry of farmland. It was put in place to prevent conflicts over ownership that sometimes arise by its current system, which according to the officials, was vulnerable to fraud. It was further explained that the move was taken in order to meet the “land reform” requirements by the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine’s biggest creditor, and has held back payments from a $17.5 billion bailout as the country has failed to meet terms.
The officials stated that by employing a blockchain-based, online ledger technology, they aim to establish a transparent, secure and comprehensive registry that is required in order for them to proceed to one element of the planned overhaul, which would lift a ban on the sale of farmland.
The R3 Distributed Ledger Consortium, a widely known collaboration of companies for researching blockchain-based solutions, recently announced the including of South Korean banks. It was explained that the partners will be collaborating on developing blockchain-based finance and trade processes.
In a recent announcement by the central banks of UAE and Saudi Arabia, it was explained that the two territories are working together on a blockchain-based ledger and its own digital currency in order to streamline their transactions and to make them more safe, secure, and fast.
Additionally, IBM also partnered with the Mitsui Group from Japan in order to build a comprehensive blockchain-based system. It was stated that the program’s efficiency will then be tested with the group’s currently deployed systems to share technology and data across related individual and companies. If the move is successful, then the group of companies will adapt blockchain for good.
AP Moller-Maersk A/S, in collaboration with IBM, announced their plans that are aimed to help in the tracking and management of the paper trail of millions of shipping containers.
It was noted that about $16 trillion worth of physical raw materials are transported each year around the globe. The initiative is focused on the ensuring better tracking of such assets, which in turn would reduce costs in record-keeping numbers.
A blockchain-based e-voting system was launched in Moscow for its Active Citizen voting program, which aims to test the blockchain platform for votes that pertain to city planning and development. The project is ambitious since the voting program currently holds 1.9 million users in its old system. However, that is not stopping the government from implementing this new technology.
De Beers recently announced that it is looking into a blockchain-based platform, which will help in tracing the origin of diamonds. It was explained that the move is being taken in order to boost customer confidence, since diamond trading is an industry that gets a bad reputation at times, citing the sale of gems from war-ridden territories.
CEO of De Beers, Bruce Cleaver, stated:
“Now more than ever, consumers expect to know more about their luxury goods, the route they have traveled, their authenticity, and whether they have been a force for good in the world.”
TenneT Holding BV stated recently that it is also going to utilize the blockchain in order to manage power grids. It maintained that it will help the company in efficiently managing the growing need for renewable energy.
The initiative comes with skepticism
However, as with any other new technology, blockchain has had its fair share of naysayers.
It is argued that while all of these announcements are very optimistic, widespread adoption of blockchain systems might take some time because the transitioning period with any new system is almost always disruptive and requires some capital as well. Despite the added security of blockchain, concerns have been raised about putting confidential data in an online ledger.
Tether Ltd. recently stated $31 million in tokens were stolen and sent to an unauthorized bitcoin address by a malicious attacker.
CoinDash, a blockchain technology company, reported that its website was hacked. It also elaborated that $7 million was stolen from investors that were trying to participate in the company’s initial coin offering.
Skepticism can’t be an answer to innovation
The technology still has immense support from the people who believe in it, as shown by these various initiatives from across the globe.
Brigid McDermott, IBM Vice President of Blockchain, recently stated the growing use of blockchain means “the opportunity to transform what is fundamentally the underlying infrastructure to every transaction that happens with consumers and business-to-business.”
It remains to be seen how all of these ventures will fare in the future. However, no matter what the outcome of these initiatives gets to be, it will, at the very least, provide industry officials with relevant data to make an informed decision about blockchain and its usage in various situations.