Blockchains are transforming many industries beyond just revolutionizing digital currencies. While a large part of our focus is on how blockchains can empower a new form of “digital currency” that avoids the pitfalls of our existing currency system (namely, reliance on central authorities like banks, avoiding expensive transaction fees and money fraud due to double-spending (Double Spending, n.d.)), many other industries are leveraging other unique benefits of blockchains to help them digitize their B2B processes of automatic audits, verifiability, and contractual agreements. This brief note will describe some of these industries and how blockchain is helping B2B industries transform.
- Healthcare & Prescription ecosystem – Blockchains can be used to ensure prescribers are licensed and authorized. It can also be used to limit and control the flow of prescriptions via digital tokens that need to be exchanged before prescriptions are generated. In fact, this is exactly what BlockMedX is doing to limit the opioid over prescription abuse in the USA. Pharma giants like Pfizer and Gentech are already trialing blockchains to improve the supply chain management for drugs to control authenticity and improve traceability of drug sources all the way to doctor allotments and patient prescriptions.
- Retail – Blockchains have several applicable use-cases in Retail, both in Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Payments. In the SCM case, “Product Authenticity” or “Product Pedigree” is of significant importance for luxury brands as well as retailers catering to niche buyers (vegan, for example). In such situations, it is important for a) the consumer to know they are paying for original products b) for brands to be able to quickly differentiate themselves from counterfeits to make their buyers more aware as well as report counterfeits to law enforcement agencies. The trust ledger mechanism of blockchains is ideal for this. Companies like Provenance are helping businesses implement end-to-end validation in their SCM of produce, goods, and parts while startups like Blockverify are helping luxury brands and Pharmaceutical companies identify counterfeits. On the payments front, many companies are experimenting with Blockchain-based payments for retail, that don’t alter consumer behavior but lead to more secure payments and also do away with expensive transaction fees charged by current authorities like MasterCard and VISA.
- Agriculture and other SMB/small Co-Ops: AgriLedger is using blockchains to help small co-ops and farmers retain a bigger share of their crop production revenue by automating the entire supply chain trail. Their website summarizes this value proposition the best: “Small co-operatives are currently by far the best way to improve efficiency in developing countries and help farmers retain a bigger share of their crop value. Co-ops presently rely on paper-based records, verbal promises, and complicated agreements; this frequently causes critical problems due to lack of transparency, restricted access to price data, lying, graft, and corruption. AgriLedger is a Mobile App that records and transacts incorruptible truth using blockchain technology. […] This solid framework of trust allows everyone to know they are working, buying, selling, and sharing things according to a cryptographic “Book of Truth” that is utterly incorruptible.”
- Automotive: Renault has launched (currently a trial) a new digitized car maintenance portal in partnership with Microsoft and VISEO that is used to ensure validity and trust of car parts for digital sales, repair and purchases. Other OEMs like Daimler and Porsche are also actively looking at similar ideas.
- IoT: Blockchains are already being used in IoT to both manage trust between IoT devices as well as leveraging blockchain smart contracts to specify and control “role-based operations” between devices. Hyundai’s HDAC system is one example of this.
- Insurance: The insurance market in general takes fraud and claims management very seriously. An industry-wide initiative to investigate, leverage, and trial blockchains for managing claims, reconciliation, and fraud effectively was launched. Called B3i, it has already grown to over 23 leading brokers/insurers. Beyond an industry-wide initiative, there are already products launched today, that use blockchains for insurance, like InsurETH and Fizzy for flight insurance, Dyamis for P2P insurance that eliminates underwriters, Lemonade for blockchain-powered property and casual insurance