As we have seen in the previous article, investments in this technology have been increasing over the last few years and aimed at finding practical application in various projects.
This has happened not only thanks to the investments and studies of private bodies or companies but also thanks to the regulatory activity started by European (1) and Italian public institutions, as part of the extensive program for industry 4.0 (for example in Italy with “Article 8-ter of the Decree of 14 December 2018 (2), no. 135, converted into law by Law no. 12 of 11 February 2019): this regulatory push has greatly facilitated the approach to this technology.
The financial sector is certainly the one that has seen the birth of the largest number of projects, but applications can be seen in the food, insurance, pharmaceutical/health and travel sectors.
However, not everything is so transparent: a behavior that has been noticed in recent years, are the many press releases announcing the adoption of Blockchain projects of all kinds, but that have not been translated into reality: one reason is certainly the difficulty of implementing this technology still quite new but also the desire to ride the hype and euphoria (speculation on shares on the stock exchange? ) that is unleashed at every announcement of Blockchain projects, especially during the boom in Cryptocurrency prices in 2017/2018 (Companies ‘Pivoting To Blockchain’ See Huge Stock Spikes – But Does The Hype Hold Up?).
But let’s see some examples of application (3): companies like Uber, Airbnb and Expedia that work as portals trying to connect service providers and consumers, have established their own rules for using portals and earn on an established fee and use Blockchain technology to create a secure and decentralized communication channel between the two parties and to manage transactions.
On the other hand, the TUI Group travel agency is carrying out a project to limit the domain of platforms such as Expedia: designed in Blockchain, it should allow TUI Group to connect travelers and accommodations in a public network.
In the healthcare sector, two companies have invested in several projects: SimplyVital Health already has two examples of application of Blockchain technology, both to track patients as soon as they leave the hospital and to have a decentralised register of patient trends.
Another case of application comes from a US company that wants to use Blockchain to track epidemics and thus be able to predict their progress: at this very moment in history, when we were all involved in the Covid-19 emergency, we realized that such a tool would certainly have helped the world’s health authorities.
The British bank, Barclays, has already had a number of projects in Blockchain in the area of finance, for example, with the aim of tracking payments and preventing fraud. Aeternity is the name of a project that involves the use of smart contracts: thanks to these, when certain conditions occur, payments are made (could also be other actions) as established.
Insurance companies will also benefit from using Blockchain as Nationwide, a British insurance company that has launched a product called RiskBlock that provides secure information about insurance policies, with the aim of helping law enforcement and insurers to verify the validity of the policies.
Another area that could benefit from the use of Blochckain technology is product traceability, which is of interest both to producers to verify the origin of raw materials and to end consumers, who are interested in knowing whether the product they are buying actually meets the characteristics provided by the seller.
A concrete example comes from DeBeers, a $6 billion company specialized in diamond research and trading that is bringing the traceability of its products to the Blockchain network to increase transparency and allow its customers to verify that the diamonds do not come from war zones. Instead, Walmart wants to track the agricultural products they sell to monitor their safety after it has been forced to withdraw some batches of lettuce because they are contaminated.
The applications of this technology are many but we are still in a preliminary phase, which we can almost define as experimental.
Surely in a few years, we will see more and more concrete applications and we will probably use Blockchain technology every day even without noticing it.