Technology is constantly evolving, with developers, entrepreneurs, and scientists coming up with even more spectacular developments. In the current technology trends, blockchain happens to be a hot topic, appearing on websites, blogs and global news broadcasts. Here we’re going to talk about blockchain business ideas for startups, entrepreneurs and individuals.
Blockchain is a time-stamped digital ledger with a series of immutable blocks of data. These blocks are bound using cryptographic principles and managed by a vast network of independent computers that verify one another’s transaction by consensus. Only a verified transaction is added to the blockchain. Since each block is linked to the previous block, and altering a single transaction requires altering other blocks on the network, it makes it virtually impenetrable and indestructible.
Blockchain was first conceptualized in 2008 and its impact has largely been felt in the financial sector, being made popular by the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. There are over 1600 currencies as of now based on blockchain. Blockchain is trusted in financial transactions because it’s highly secure and removes the need for a middleman. The data and logic on a blockchain are universally shared among members on the network giving users complete transparency. These features make it applicable in areas such as health record keeping, digital voting, identity record keeping, immutable data backups, copyright and royalty protection, payment processing, asset tracking, smart contracts among others.
The financial sector is the main factor that grew the popularity of blockchain. Applications of blockchain in finance include:
Transfer services for moving money between borders have existed for a while. They include Western Union, PayPal, Skrill, etc. The process involves giving money to a middleman who balances the money using international exchange rates and takes their cut – transaction charges. Blockchain changes the way money is exchanged worldwide by removing the middleman. Money is exchanged directly between parties hence excluding the additional transaction fee.
Through blockchain, borrowers and lenders can connect directly without having to go through banks. This lowers interest rates as well as excluding the charges banks would take for facilitating the loans. MoneyToken is an example of a blockchain business loaning platform.
Blockchain ensures records are timestamped and immutable. This prevents cases where one decides to file claims on behalf of ineligible dependents. Blockchain records help with the verification of previous medical services. Insurers in India are working on a project to achieve this.
Blockchain can prevent a loss of your savings should the inevitable happen. Through a blockchain based project called Mywish, one creates smart contracts to handle their funds, which can be transferred to their loved ones during a crisis.
Through blockchain powered platforms, companies can register, issue, and trade shares. A company called Overstock started issuing shares via blockchain technology, London Stock Exchange is also testing a blockchain platform. There are more opportunities for developers under blockchain to completely disrupt stock market trading.
The need for precision, accuracy, and transparency which are core features of accounting makes blockchain the best fit to power accounting software. With blockchain, transactions for approved users are visible hence decreasing the time auditors take to validate transactions. The Accounting Blockchain is a startup using blockchain to minimize inefficiencies in the accounting sector. Many gaps are open in accounting that can be filled with blockchain accountancy software.
Medical records comprise of highly sensitive personal data which must be highly secured and this is where blockchain technology steps in. Here are some of the examples of blockchain applications in healthcare.
Diagnosing a patient requires lots of health data about the patient in question. However, individuals are less willing to divulge their data due to privacy implications. With the transparency and security provided by a blockchain, everyone can safely share their medical records and be assured that only their authorized doctor can access it. Estonia government is partnering with Guardtime to build a blockchain of citizen’s records.
Not all of us have the capability to verify whether a specific drug is legitimate or fake. Blockverify is a blockchain based platform that tracks pharmaceutical records throughout the supply chain to ensure only authentic products reach the consumer.
Traditional voting systems are usually marred with irregularities. The immutability of blockchain records is the answer to this burgeoning problem. Agora, a startup working on a blockchain voting platform had a proof of concept experiment in Sierra Leone’s 2018 presidential elections. A simple Google search reveals the buzz around “blockchain voting”, meaning more opportunities to venture into this sector.
Centralized data storage techniques in use currently are prone to breaches. Some notable breaches that were highly publicized like Equifax, Target, Yahoo, resulted in the dissemination of highly sensitive user information. Blockchain provides a way of recording data in a way that is transparent, auditable, secure, impenetrable and efficient; all features that form the basis of a cybersecurity system. Information Security and Antivirus vendors can invest in blockchain’s capabilities to power their products. Lockheed Martin sees opportunity in using blockchain to power cybersecurity. The US. Department of defense is looking at blockchain to secure nuclear weapons.
Business transactions involve making agreements between parties. Businesses can use blockchain to make legal contracts that are permanent. An example of Blockchain use case under contracting is Smart Contracts.
New ideas that developers can take on for smart contracts include developing apps to:
Identity management is one of the key areas of blockchain implementations. Currently, we give our identity data to government institutions to manage for us and allow citizen authentication within a country. Often, this data is poorly managed, outdated and prone to security risks. Governments can implement a blockchain system that allows citizens to personally manage their identity records. Deloitte developed a Smart Identity prototype based on blockchain as a proof of concept; more governments and tech enthusiasts could take up the challenge.
With an emphasis on decentralization, here are some blockchain project ideas for startups:
Blockchain is an innovation that has shown great potential to radically transform the economy. It’s our hope that through these blockchain business ideas more technology companies, financial institutions, start-ups, universities, governments, researchers, and tech enthusiasts would be inspired to fully realize the potential of blockchain.