May 12, 2023
The Blockchain Isn’t Just the Future: 5 Present-Day Business Uses
The blockchain is often associated with futuristic applications, but the reality is that it is already transforming traditional businesses and providing them with a competitive edge today.
From used car shopping to wineries, real estate, insurance, and logistics, we’re seeing businesses gain a competitive advantage through the blockchain’s unique features, including immutability, transparency, and decentralization.
Here are five present-day blockchain use cases that are changing the way we conduct business.
Blockchain Use Case: Car Sales
Buying a used car can be so anxiety-inducing that many buyers would rather connect directly with sellers on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace or even order their car sight unseen on Carvana — even if doing so might leave them with just as many questions about whether a vehicle’s history can really be trusted.
It's difficult to shake the feeling of uncertainty surrounding the vehicle's history, previous ownership, and potential mechanical issues. Shady dealerships and undisclosed problems leave many buyers wondering if they're getting a lemon or a reliable ride. While data services like CarFax try to provide some insight, they are easily fooled if the previous owner doesn’t report an accident to his insurance company.
Enter dynamic NFTs, which can be updated on the blockchain. By recording every change made to a vehicle — whether it's a repair, an upgrade, or routine maintenance — dealerships and auto shops can provide an indisputable digital record of work done and parts used.
Primarily online auto marketplaces like Carvana or CarMax could use that level of transparency to give buyers even more confidence in their purchasing decisions, empowering them with information they know is accurate and verified.
Imagine walking up to a used car lot and knowing that you can scan a QR code on a car’s windshield to reveal its entire history, from whether it had been in an accident to if the engine had been replaced or the odometer had been tampered with.
Maybe if you could ignore the CarFax and ask for a car’s “cryptographic facts” instead, buying a used vehicle may feel a little bit less like a clunker Russian Roulette.
Blockchain Use Case: Wineries
Provenance plays a crucial role in the world of rare wines. The value of a bottle can skyrocket based on its vintage, vineyard, and the specific conditions under which it was produced. Take the legendary 1945 Romanée-Conti, for instance, which fetched a staggering $558,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in 2018.
The history and authenticity of such wines are often the driving factors behind their worth. Wineries can create an exclusive NFT for each barrel or bottle, allowing them to provide collectors and sellers with an immutable digital record of the wine’s origin, vintage, and ownership history. Creating a better record of proof for wines could save wine lovers a fortune in the long run, given fraudsters like Rudy Kurniawan, who fooled some of the world’s most devoted oenophiles while selling tens of millions of dollars in counterfeit rare wines.
Vineyards worldwide are already adopting NFTs, from Hello Fam, an all-NFT brand in Israel, to Asymetric, a Napa winery that gives every buyer of its cabernet an NFT that rewards them with access to its wine club, in addition to providing vintage history and other information.
Blockchain Use Case: Real Estate
In real estate transactions, escrow often plays a vital role. Expensive legal firms are required to hold earnest money and other expenses used to pay fees during a property purchase. This process can be cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly for all parties involved.
Blockchain technology, through the use of smart contracts and NFTs, can automate the escrow process, effectively eliminating the need for costly intermediaries. By creating a decentralized digital ledger, blockchain can facilitate the secure transfer of property titles, funds, and other essential documents in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
Smart contracts can also help build contingencies for a real estate deal that would be tricky to navigate otherwise. For instance, let’s say both parties agreed to a closing date, but the seller would like to first ask their HOA to waive remaining fees they owe. Typically, the seller might have to wait weeks or months to contest the fees, which could lead to them losing the agreed-upon sale.
By using a smart contract, the seller could automatically put those HOA fees in escrow until an HOA decision is made, allowing the buyer and seller to confidently move forward with the sale in the meantime.
Smart contracts can also be applied to other sectors that require secure and transparent transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property rights, and even the entertainment industry.
Blockchain Use Case: Insurance
The entire insurance industry business model relies on assessing risk based on verifiable and trusted information. Inaccurate or fraudulent data can lead to costly mistakes and undermine the industry's credibility.
The blockchain can help foster greater trust in a business's creditworthiness by providing a verifiable record of its transactions. With a transparent and instantly accessible digital trail, lenders can have more confidence in the accuracy of the information presented, reducing the risk of fraudulent claims and streamlining the decision-making process.
Consider Huma Finance, a blockchain-based lender that allows people to receive loans based on their earned income. By partnering with Superfluid — a company that allows people to get paid their salaries continually by the second, rather than the typical twice a month paycheck — Huma Finance is able to get instant, real-time insight into their users’ income flow.
That allows Huma Finance to make faster and better decisions about whether or not to lend, allowing them to approve loans to people who otherwise might be missed by traditional lenders or to cut off funding sooner if somebody stops receiving their paycheck in, say, the middle of the month.
That’s a significant advantage in a cut-throat insurance industry, and it’s easy to imagine how having access to rapidly updating and trustworthy data can be used to give other businesses a leg up, from health care to finance.
Blockchain Use Case: Logistics
The logistics industry faces numerous challenges, including supply chain inefficiencies, lack of transparency, and the potential for fraud or theft. These issues can lead to delays, increased costs, and damaged reputations for businesses worldwide.
The blockchain can increase visibility throughout the supply chain, reduce the risk of fraud, and streamline the flow of information between all parties involved. Already, there are traditional shipping container companies using the blockchain to verify their successful transactions in parts of the world that may otherwise be seen as too high risk for investors to support.
By creating a decentralized and verifiable digital ledger that tracks the movement of goods, companies are able to secure funding that they previously hadn’t been able to access before, since they can now prove that their shipments continue to arrive safely and securely despite transporting goods through high-risk regions like the South China Sea, sub-Saharan Africa or Eastern Europe.
Shaping marketplaces today and tomorrow.
Blockchain business models aren’t part of some distant future.
They are already disrupting major industries today, and you can expect to see even more innovative and practical use cases emerge, further transforming the way we interact, transact, and build trust in a digital world.
Want to learn more? Reach out to our team to discuss how your business can benefit from building on the blockchain.
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