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Amanjeet Singh Sethi
Associate Director, Consulting
IDC India

Blockchain Use Cases Across Industries

As per IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation (DX) 2019 Predictions “By 2021, prominent in-industry value chains, enabled by blockchains, will have extended their digital platforms to their entire omni-experience ecosystems, thus reducing transaction costs by 35%”. With interest in blockchain exploding, technology buyers in nearly every vertical and sector are looking to understand the technology as well as what it means for their enterprises. Let’s look at select use cases of blockchain across various industries:

Banking and Financial Services Industry

One of the most adopted use cases in banking is in Remittance – by eliminating the intermediaries across the network, Blockchain has been making money transfers truly peer-to-peer. International remittances have become faster and more transparent for customers while ensuring security as well as improving efficiencies at the same time. KYC (Know your Customer) is another use case where organizations can get rid of the multistep KYC processes by accessing a distributed database that would provide information of client, which has been stored cryptographically on the Blockchain ledger resulting in reduction of KYC costs. In Trade Finance- Creating an immutable, transparent audit trail can help the entities to check the status of the process and reduce the time. Multiple parties can access the status of a trade instrument (e.g., purchase order, invoice, and letter of credit). Possibilities of document fraud (e.g., fraudulent invoices) and duplicate invoice financing can be mitigated.

In the Insurance sector Claims Processing, Filing, and Management is a popular use case. Process claims and assistance in claim adjudication and payment reconciliation can be done through implementation of Blockchain ledger. It can help in easing the transfer of data and premium payments between insurers, consumers, brokers, reinsurers, and other parties.

Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management

Equipment Tracking through Blockchain ledger helps in tracking product journeys, providing a solid audit trail and real-time visibility for verified supply chain partners. The information like “What materials have arrived where, who handled them, how they were transported, and where they came from” are captured on the blockchain to trace the reliability of the parts that have been received to understand their authenticity. Another use case witnessing adoption is Procurement Contract Management. The agreed contract details are submitted in a blockchain environment. Details of that contract can only be modified when both parties agree to them and submit it into a new block. Automated payments for goods can be set up with Smart Contracts, so that when goods are delivered and verified, payments occur. Disputes, unclear communication, and frauds are reduced to minimum by using blockchain. This also eliminates the issues of misplaced or lost invoices.

Retail

Food Provenance is an auditable record of the journey of a product from its origin to its end user. Provenance in food increases reliability of a product to a consumer both from an ethical and value-based standpoint. Blockchain, by creating an immutable trail on the ledger reduces product losses and prevent frauds by adding a layer of transparency to the product journey. Also, Inventory Management, especially where inventories are collateral for loans, can be monitored very effectively by using blockchain and IOT devices. This will lead to more secure physical handling processes and a reduction of costs.

Healthcare

Counterfeit Detection in Drugs is a critical use cases in the healthcare sector. Blockchain will help companies track the provenance of the raw materials supplied to the drug manufacturer and help in tracing the finished drugs across the supply chain to dealers, distributors, and retailers. Blockchain can aid in the product recall process. It can help in tracing specific locations and stakeholders (and batches, in case of selective recalls) of the counterfeited drugs, and reverse logistics can then be initiated. The health records- Electronic Health Records put on the blockchain makes a digital repository which the patient can self-manage. The patient can decide to share their medical data with people of their choice. On the other hand, the doctors get complete detail of a patient’s medical history which helps in improved diagnosis and better chances of survival from critical illnesses.

Energy

P2P (Peer-to-Peer) Energy Trading is the ability to pay for energy as one needs it, and sells any excess energy, thanks to improved storage methods, including batteries and creation of micro grids. A digital, blockchain-based platform for tracking energy stores and facilitating transactions can be useful, as its distributed ledger offers a reliable, cost-effective platform by which energy traders can connect. Carbon Certificate Trading for carbon credits to be traded on a blockchain ledger, creates a more efficient and transparent method for exchanging the valuable certificates tied to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Government

An immutable history of transactional Land Records captured on the digital blockchain ledger is a valuable use case for the Government. These records are permanently linked to the system reducing the instances of forging. These transparent records can be seen by any party, at any time making the land management system more trustful and accurate. The ability to vote on the internet – E-Voting, from home using blockchain tech will likely lead to greater participation due to enhanced convenience. The immutable blockchain record helps easily flag redundancies in the process and tie unique personal identifiers to individuals ensuring only legitimate voters can cast their vote

Outlook

With reduced transaction costs, ease of scalability and integration, blockchain will witness an increase in adoption across industries. As businesses grow, they will need more distributed databases to manage applications across various network points and blockchain would be a good choice given the added features of immutability and transparency. This will lead to wider adoption of the above use cases and development of new use cases in the future.

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