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Blockchain business ideas and opportunities across industries

After 2021’s rapid uptick in the global cryptocurrency market, blockchain solutions have sparked a renewed interest among many companies. Let’s take a closer look at how different businesses can harness the advantages of decentralised technology.

Blockchain in the supply chain and transportation sector

Managing the flow of goods from point of origin to point of consumption is an integral process for almost any business. As the process involves multiple stakeholders, locations and invoices, it is difficult to develop trust and keep quality high with minimal errors.

Blockchain has emerged as a solution for unsecured payments and complicated tracking within the logistics ecosystem.

In the supply chain and transportation sector, blockchain technology can:

  • Provide transparent and automated settlements. Due to the absence of third parties, blockchain enables faster, safer and more transparent transactions, which results in increased trusts between involved parties. Moreover, by leveraging smart contracts, payments can be made automatically once all of the conditions of an agreement between parties are met.
  • Secure the supply chain. On average, the industry losses around $50 billion in revenue annually because cargo is either lost or stolen. All of the data in a blockchain-based system cannot be tampered with, mitigating the risk of documents or goods being stolen.
  • Improve traceability. Blockchain makes more information available throughout the supply chain, from product origin to storage quality. Immutable and irrevocable records confirm that products meet standards and strengthen trust between parties.

Blockchain in the retail sector

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the global shift towards online shopping. In June 2020, retail websites generated almost 22 billion visits, exceeding even peak holiday season traffic. There are between 12 million and 24 million e-commerce sites globally, and the number keeps on growing. So, big retail players started realising new blockchain business ideas to beat their competition and improve customer experience.

In the retail sector, blockchain technology can:

  • Streamline transactions. Traditional financial operations may take weeks before money will reach a merchant. A time-consuming, costly and error-prone process stands behind each transaction. Blockchain-based buying and selling simplifies the whole payment process and cuts the time needed as everything happens within one network.
  • Support loyalty and rewards programmes. Adding a loyalty programme to an e-commerce platform can significantly boost the average order quantity. Blockchain-powered can provide a secure environment for loyalty and reward programmes, minimise costs and enable frictionless operation in near real-time.
  • Limit fraud. According to PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, 47% of companies have suffered fraud over the past 24 months. Cybercriminals take over legitimate accounts and use them to make purchases. Blockchain can be used to establish a trusted identity, access to which is very difficult to gain by third parties.

Blockchain in the healthcare sector

The pandemic has exposed healthcare issues, such as data breaches and glitches in healthcare supply chains, that spur a need for greater efficiency and innovation in the field. With the advantages it offers, blockchain can improve the overall experience within the healthcare sector.

In the healthcare sector, blockchain technology can:

  • Store and protect medical records. The average patient in the US visits around 19 doctors during their lifetime. With the vast majority of records still being on paper, they are spread across facilities rather than being part of a comprehensive database. As a result, documents can be lost, which can lead to more errors and slower treatment. Blockchain allows the creation of one dataset with all of a patient’s health records from childhood to old age. The medical history stored on the blockchain is encrypted and processed in a secure way, and only authorised people are allowed to add information.
  • Enhance traceability. Many healthcare products are manufactured in different countries. According to the World Health Organisation, one out of every 10 pharmaceutical products in low- and middle-income countries is counterfeit. Healthcare supply chain management with ledger technology provides information on trusted suppliers and helps to certify the authenticity of medicines.

A blockchain-powered database can help to predict supply shortages before they impact patients’ treatment. Moreover, if a product has to be recalled, blockchain-enabled product traceability cuts the notification process from days to minutes.

Blockchain in the education industry

COVID-19 has drastically changed the education sector. Institutions around the world have pivoted to e-learning. Teaching remotely on digital platforms has experienced growth and adoption even before the pandemic, and it is likely to stay after the pandemic. Innovative technologies help institutions to adapt to the new reality and thrive, fuelling interest in blockchain solutions.

In the education sector, blockchain technology can:

  • Maintain digital records. In 2017, the University of Melbourne started to issue digital credential using blockchain, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology issued digital diplomas. Records stored on the ledger cannot be altered, ensuring security and longevity. With blockchain technology, a person could obtain a verified record without an intermediary. Diplomas, certificates and transcripts of a students’ grades can all be issued and stored in the ledger and accessed with just a few clicks.
  • Streamline the publishing process. Students, professors and researchers often face rejection when aiming to have their content published. Rejection does not always mean that a paper is not of sufficient quality; it rather indicates limitations in the publishing industry. For instance, The Polymerase Chain Reaction by Kary Mullis, The Theory of Weak Interactions by Enrico Fermi and other Nobel Prize-winning research was rejected for different reasons. Blockchain can provide scholars with a plotform where they can easily present their content to a broader audience and manage and protect their rights against piracy.
  • Safeguard open educational resources. Educational resources created using blockchain are timestamped, contain information about the author and all changes made to the resources are tracked. The ledger can help to identify when the document was created or who the document was created by. As a result, the original content creator can always be attributed and cannot be plagiarised.

risks and rewards of blockchain adoption