Beyond Crypto

This news is almost real these days. Cryptocurrency has tripled in value in just one year, and NXT of childish pixel images are selling for practically unbelievable sums. While someone is buying a simplified image of the DogeCoin mascot for $ 69,000 or a pixelated image of sunglasses for over $ 26,000 is definitely attention-grabbing, stories like these can easily overshadow the spine On which all these transactions are based: Blockchain. In fact, all the attention goes to bitcoin media, it is easy to see why some people think that cryptocurrency and blockchain are synonymous. But applications for blockchain go far beyond supporting digital currencies, as some major global initiatives are beginning to prove.

Despite the hoopla around blockchain-based investments, the goal of the technology is quite simple: to provide a secure record of transactions. Blockchains are basically super-secure ledgers that store encrypted sets of letters and numbers known as hashes in a series of other transactions. Transactions are valid by all other computers included with the chain, time-stamped, and virtually indistinguishable due to the fact that hashes from a block are contained in the previous block, which is connected to the block before it, and so on.

Those features certainly make the blockchain ideal for financial transactions, and banks can employ the system to bring greater speed, security and transparency to their operations. But banks have been slow to take up the blockchain — instead, technology is emerging in other, somewhat surprising industries.

Beyond banking

One of the most timely uses of blockchain technology is its use in fighting counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines. Both South Africa and China saw the proliferation of fake vaccine rings in their countries earlier this year. Asia-based healthcare provider Zulig Pharma has teamed up with consulting firm Accenture to take on the fight against bad vaccines using a blockchain-based solution called EJVX.

The platform, developed with Microsoft technology, allows governments and health organizations to track vaccine movements throughout the supply chain. At the core of the system is Zulig Pharma’s EZtracker solution, which has already been deployed in Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines. eZTracker takes all the vaccine movements into the blockchain so that at any point, one can scan a barcode on a vial to verify the history and authenticity of its movement.

Another use of the blockchain securing the supply chain has been developed by IBM, whose Food Trust, a system of locating food from farm to supermarket, has been adopted by leading merchants such as Walmart, Dole, and Nestle.

Smart contract

Blockchain technology, known as smart contracts, can also be originally employed in the execution of statements stored on a blockchain “if / then” that are executed when certain conditions are met by both parties involved in the transaction. . Mediachain, which was acquired by Spotify in 2017, uses this aspect of blockchain technology to help artists engage themselves with their music for royalty purposes. Real estate firm Propy is using smart contracts in an effort to automate the home buying process. And BurstIQ, which has also developed its COVID-19 vaccine tracking solution, uses the technology to enable the transfer of medical data between patients and healthcare professionals.

Money on chain

So when will blockchain take its place at the banking table? However if ever there was a clause that it could have benefited from, it is finance. Allowing self-executed contracts and secure blockchain processing can go a long way towards enabling real-time payments, instant settlement and instant loan and credit approvals. Its decentralized nature can also go a long way toward simplifying cross-border payments and creating a greater level of trust in these transactions. IBM already offers its off-the-shelf blockchain solution to enable global payments, and CB Insights reports that “90 percent of European Payments members believe blockchain technology will fundamentally transform the industry by 2025 Will replace.

By Alex Alena

Alex Alena has been the lead news writer at Cryptocurrency Updates. With a degree in communications, Matt has an uncanny ability to make the most complex subject matter easy to understand.