Potential uses of blockchain you weren’t aware of.
Blockchain is everywhere. From the financial industry to the health industry, it’s disrupting every sector in the world and is categorized as more revolutionary than AI. However, many people are still underestimating the potential uses of blockchain. Who would have thought blockchain can be used in the music industry? Not only the music industry but also the car and gaming industry is using blockchain to maximize its efficiency. Before stepping into the applications of blockchain, lets first take a brief look at what is blockchain.
What’s blockchain really?
As the name implies, blockchain consists of a set of blocks that have data. Each block contains a hash encryption, the hash of the previous block, and data. A “hash” is a 64 digit encryption that connects each block in a sequential thereby securing the blockchain. The unique property of blockchain is that it’s a decentralized public ledger which means that everybody can see the data inside the blockchain and no one can tamper with the data except for the people who have access to the blockchain. In addition to being decentralized, blockchain is distributed among many computers, also called as a P2P system, which verifies if each node has the same blockchain. If any of the blockchain gets tampered, a node will duplicate the original data and remove the tampered one.
Enough with what blockchian is, lets talk about its “not-so-known” applications of blockchain.
1. BLOCKCHAIN IN CARS
Many customers face the challenge of compromising car’s data when buying second hand cars since the car’s data might be tampered by the seller or any third authority. The government collects the car’s data using third-parties, but this approach is time wasting, inefficient, and provides a way for many intermediaries to tamper with a car’s data. Because of this, many people have been caught up with “odometer” fraud which is the tampering of a car’s mileage to make the car look new and less worn. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the US loses $1 billion annually due to odometer fraud alone. However, in order to combat this problem, we can use a rather efficiently advanced and secured technology of blockchain.
Since blockchains are decentralized, there’s no third-party to tamper with the car’s data and everybody including the customer can see the data. In this way, the customer can always compare what the seller says about the car with what’s written in the blockchain data to avoid any kind of fraud. Even if a third-party tampers with the data and changes some information, blockchain’s peer-to-peer network property allows nodes to quickly identify the change and replace the tampered data with the original one. Blockchain technology, therefore, makes it possible to store a car’s repair history, accidents, insurance, or any other information useful for the customer when buying a car. This will not only increase security and reliability but also will be less costly, efficient, and reliable.
A current example where this kind of technology is being implemented is Bosch’s IoT lab where they are testing it on a fleet of 100 cars based in Switzerland and Germany. The lab is testing blockchain technology on cars to store mileage information of the car in a blockchain. Once successful, it can be used to store other car’s data, for example, repairs, accidents, insurance etc etc.
2. BLOCKCHAIN IN FOOD
The food industry is arguably the most important sector where blockchain should be introduced. The problem with today’s food industry is that there isn’t much information about a food product which leads to customer trust issues as customers want to know more about the product. The more the product goes in detail about how it was manufactured and processed, the more likely a customer is going to buy that product. In a report, the Food Marketing Institute found out that 75% of people are likely to switch to a brand that provides in-depth information about where and how the brand was manufactured and processed. Not only is the reliability of the brand important for customers but also for the food companies who need data to understand the supply chain of the brands and thus build trust of people. However, the solution is not far away and can be solved using blockchain.
Because the food industry contains many participants in its supply chain from farmers to customers, the process of tracking food from when the food is harvested to when it reaches the hands of the customers is very difficult and sometimes untraceable. Additionally, these companies have to make sure that they don’t make any errors in the supply chain or else it could destroy the trust of customers. With blockchain, however, food companies can group the data of food brands into a one single blockchain. Starting with the farm, the blocks inside the blockchain can be updated with how each participant is playing its role for food. This will make it easy for food companies to track the food if a food outbreak happens. For example, in 2017, the Federal Drug Administration investigated a Salmonella outbreak from papayas exported from the Mexican farm. In order to trace the disease’s origin, the FDA conducted over a thousand investigations and conducted various mangoes in the lab. This cost them a lot of money and was really inefficient, however, with blockchain, they could have easily traced back its origins. Also, they could have easily seen the exact problem in the supply chain since each data is conveniently organized into a blockchain.
Big food giants, for example, Walmart and IBM food trusts recently implemented blockchain as their way to secure data which increased their supply chain efficiency and reduced their costs and labor to track down a defected food item.
3. BLOCKCHAIN IN MUSIC
Many people wonder how blockchain can revolutionize the music industry. However, the music industry can benefit tremendously from blockchain. Music piracy is one of the big issues in the music industry.Pirated music has caused the US to lose a total of $1.5 billion in. Furthermore, it’s unfair for musicians to create original content and lose their work easily online without getting credibility. However, the music industry does not have to look further other than the reliable technology of blockchain.
Since blockchain is immutable and decentralized, artists can see their names on the songs they created and one one can change their name or steal credibility. The music industry can use blockchain as a means to verify if the music is pirated, that is, copied from someone else. This will increase efficiency of the music industry to check for every pirated music. In turn, it will reduce the amount of money lost due to pirated music.
Another big problem the music industry currently encounters is paying artists fairly for their music. This often leads to complaining that they didn’t get their fair share. Also, an artist might falsely claim about a song they didn’t make, therefore, making the music industry lose money. Blockchain can overcome this by keeping a record of all sales across company platforms, which will give a complete picture of how a song or album was made. By being visible on the blockchain, it will be easy for the public and for the artists themselves to see how much money they are owed including the amount of shares from the music company. This is also important to others along with artists, such as, sound engineers, producers, song-writers etc. As mentioned, everybody could write what part of the song they contributed and get paid accordingly.
To make things more efficient, music companies can use a system in a blockchain that would pay the fair share of artists automatically. This can be done through “smart contracts” in a blockchain. A smart contract is a tiny computer program that lives on the blockchain and can perform actions when certain conditions are met. Therefore, whatever amount of sales is generated, “smart contracts” will split the share of sales equally using the conditions specified in the computer program.
MediaChian, UJO, CHOON, and MUSICOIN are just some of the companies implementing blockchain in music. MediaChain, for example, is using blockchain for musicians to upload their original work and secure their publishing rights. UJO is using the idea of “smart contracts” to pay artists fairly on their music platform.
4. BLOCKCHAIN IN AI
A rather fascinating technological combination of the 21st century is Blockchain and AI. AI is highly dependent on data since it uses data to retrieve what’s happening in the world and things around it. Blockchain, therefore, can be a safe storage facility in which AI models can be built upon. Since every block is protected by hash encryption, it ensures that we have a fully secured database. Along with being secure and reliable, the blockchain is decentralized which means approved parties can look up to the database safely and efficiently. This also prevents hackers from hacking into the data and changing machine learning models.
Even though we have such great machine learning models, it takes time and effort to copy the model across different platforms. This is a hindrance to how AI can spread across the globe and benefit the world. For this reason alone, Blockchain’s peer-to-peer network property can be used to copy machine learning models across different platforms. This means that if a customer saves his/her preferences on a device, other devices linked to the blockchain will know the preferences of the customer. For example, big companies like Stop&Shop and Walmart can pair up to save customer preferences. If a customer goes into any of the shops, the devices can tell the customer which product relates to the customer’s preference. This results in customer satisfaction and a profitable partnership among big companies.
Often, AI researchers don’t know which part of their data resulted in a given output. This is also one of the challenges of explainable AI. AI researchers might spend days just to track what error in the data resulted in the wrong output which leads to inefficiency and more time. However, if we use Blockchain in AI systems, we can see how individual actions affect a given output as the data is in an organized manner of blocks. Each block is designated with a specific data and will allow us to easily go back to the set of data and see where things went wrong. This also increases efficiency and reduces the time and labor that would have otherwise been by not using blockchain.
Many AI companies, for example, Finalze, BurstIQ, are implementing blockchain in their AI systems. Finalze, for example, is using blockchain for management and verification processes. BurstIq, an AI healthcare company, is using blockchain to protect patient information.
Blockchain, without a doubt, can be applied to so many industries. These are just “4 drops” in the ocean! Blockchain’s unique traits, that is, hash encryptions, peer-to-peer network system, and immutability, make it perfect for using it within industries, especially those that operate on big data. If this technology is utilized correctly, it can revolutionize the current industries, and bring on transforming changes to the world as well as how we think about data. Therefore, who wouldn’t want to implement this simple yet effective technology to change the world we live in?
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