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Top Blockchain Business Ideas with Huge Potential in 2021 and Beyond

Blockchain technology has reached the point when its application goes far beyond the financial sector and cryptocurrencies, so it can be applied to solve business problems in various industries. Here’s our rundown of the core business sectors where companies can benefit from this powerful technology and bring extra value to their customers and partners.

Blockchain allows recording information in a way that makes it difficult or even impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. By essence, blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of participating computers(nodes). What's unique about blockchain is that it guarantees transparency and adds fidelity to confidential data transactions. Blockchain technology greatly improves efficiency, accuracy and, most importantly, ensures trust without third-party involvement.

Initially, blockchain deployment has mostly focused on the financial services area. However, immutable records, decentralised structures and other blockchain benefits bring added efficiency, security and transparency to companies of different market sectors. As a result, it’s estimated that global blockchain technology revenues will reach around $39 billion by 2025.

Global blockchain expenditure
Global blockchain expenditure

Source: Statista 

Blockchain business ideas and opportunities across industries

After 2021’s rapid uptick in the global cryptocurrency market, blockchain solutions have sparked a renewed interest among many organisations. Partnering with an experienced blockchain development company become one of the most common strategies businesses pursue to seize the potential the distributed ledger technology offers. Let’s take a closer look at how different businesses can harness the advantages of decentralised technology.

Blockchain in the financial services

Blockchain is a decentralized platform that was initially developed to support and secure the rise of digital currency. It’s no surprise that blockchain’s most promising use cases are in finance, even though the applications of such a platform have spread throughout different industries.

In the financial industry, blockchain technology can:

  • Simplify cross border payments. Blockchain tech is disrupting the banking industry by facilitating global money transfers. According to Statista, cross-border payments and settlements using blockchain have become one of the top blockchain applications in 2021, claiming 16% share of the global technology market. By removing the bureaucratic structure of traditional banking payments, the blockchain network allows for eliminating third party fees and minimising transaction process time.
  • Arrange loans and credits. Blockchain technology offers a new efficient lending process. It provides visibility into the lifespan of the transaction, eliminating the need for verification by a trusted intermediary decreasing loan approval time. The smart contract feature directly connects borrowers and lenders that agree on terms regarding a payment plan, proof of funds and others.
  • Adapt trading system. Financial market players and blockchain businesses have been working on streamlining and automating the process of trading with the help of innovative technology. Nowadays, buying and selling stocks still involve stockbrokers, traders and other agents. Blockchain can ensure transparent stock trading, minimise multi-person involvement and keep all transactions’ records using smart contacts.

Blockchain in the supply chain and transportation sector

Managing the flow of goods from the point of origin to the point of consumption is an integral process for almost any business. As the process involves multiple stakeholders, locations and invoices, it is difficult to develop trust and keep the quality high with minimal errors.

Blockchain has emerged as a solution for unsecured payments and complicated tracking within the logistics ecosystem.

Blockchain technology can transform supply networks and the transportation sector in general allowing organisations:

  • Provide transparent and automated settlements. Due to the absence of third party services, blockchain enables faster, safer and more transparent transactions, which results in increased trust between involved parties. Moreover, by leveraging smart contracts, payments can be made automatically once all of the conditions of an agreement between parties are met.
  • Secure the supply chain. On average, the industry losses around $50 billion in revenue annually because cargo is either lost or stolen. All of the data in a blockchain-based system cannot be tampered with, mitigating the risk of documents or goods being stolen.
  • Improve traceability. Blockchain makes more information available throughout the chain of supply, from product origin to storage quality. Immutable and irrevocable records confirm that products meet standards and strengthen trust between parties.

Blockchain in the retail sector

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the global shift towards online shopping. In June 2020, retail websites generated almost 22 billion visits, exceeding even peak holiday season traffic. There are between 12 million and 24 million e-commerce sites globally, and the number keeps on growing. So, big retail players started realising new blockchain business ideas to beat their competition and improve customer experience.

In the retail sector, blockchain technology can:

  • Streamline transactions. Traditional financial operations may take weeks before the money will reach a merchant. A time-consuming, costly and error-prone process stands behind each transaction. Blockchain-based buying and selling simplifies the whole payment process and cuts the time needed as everything happens within one network.
  • Support loyalty and rewards programmes. Adding a loyalty programme to an e-commerce platform can significantly boost the average order quantity. A blockchain-powered platform can provide a secure environment for loyalty and reward programmes, minimise costs and enable frictionless operation in near real-time. Moreover, retailers can use the peer to peer network to exploit the full potential of loyalty programs by enabling rewards trading. Users can trade rewards from various companies and even cross-industries if the blockchain registry validates them.
  • Limit fraud. According to PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, 47% of companies have suffered fraud over the past 24 months. Cybercriminals take over legitimate accounts and use them to make purchases. Blockchain can be used to establish a trusted identity, access to which is very difficult to gain by third parties.

Blockchain in the healthcare sector

The pandemic has exposed healthcare issues, such as data breaches and glitches in healthcare supply chains, that spur a need for greater efficiency and innovation in the field. With the advantages it offers, blockchain can improve the overall experience within the healthcare sector.

In the healthcare sector, blockchain technology can:

  • Store and protect medical records. The average patient in the US visits around 19 doctors during their lifetime. With the vast majority of records still being on paper, they are spread across facilities rather than being part of a comprehensive database. As a result, documents can be lost, which can lead to more errors and slower treatment. Blockchain allows the creation of one dataset with all of a patient’s health records from childhood to old age. The medical history stored on the blockchain is encrypted and processed securely, and only authorised people are allowed to add information.
  • Enhance traceability. Many healthcare products are manufactured in different countries. According to the World Health Organisation, one out of every 10 pharmaceutical products in low- and middle-income countries is counterfeit. Healthcare logistics chain management with ledger technology provides information on trusted suppliers and helps to certify the authenticity of medicines.

A blockchain-powered database can help to predict supply shortages before they impact patients’ treatment. Moreover, if a product has to be recalled, blockchain-enabled product traceability cuts the notification process from days to minutes. If you need some extra expert insights to help you choose the technology stack to power your next blockchain solution, check out this article comparing the two most popular distributed ledger frameworks.

risks and rewards of blockchain adoption

Blockchain in the education industry

COVID-19 has drastically changed the education sector. Institutions around the world have pivoted to e-learning. Teaching remotely on digital platforms has experienced growth and adoption even before the pandemic, and it is likely to stay after the pandemic. Innovative technologies help institutions to adapt to the new reality and thrive, fuelling interest in a blockchain-based solution.

In the education sector, blockchain technology can:

  • Maintain digital records. In 2017, the University of Melbourne started to issue digital credential using blockchain, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology issued digital diplomas. Records stored on the ledger cannot be altered, ensuring security and longevity. With blockchain technology, a person could obtain a verified record without an intermediary. Diplomas, certificates and transcripts of a students’ grades can all be issued and stored in the ledger and accessed with just a few clicks.
  • Streamline the publishing process. Students, professors and researchers often face rejection when aiming to have their content published. Rejection does not always mean that a paper is not of sufficient quality; it rather indicates limitations in the publishing industry. For instance, The Polymerase Chain Reaction by Kary Mullis, The Theory of Weak Interactions by Enrico Fermi and other Nobel Prize-winning research was rejected for different reasons. Blockchain can provide scholars with a platform where they can easily present their content to a broader audience and manage and protect their rights against piracy.
  • Safeguard open educational resources. Educational resources created using blockchain are timestamped, contain information about the author and all changes made to the resources are tracked. The ledger can help to identify when the document was created or who the document was created by. As a result, the original content creator can always be attributed and cannot be plagiarised.
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Blockchain in other segments

There are many applications of decentralised infrastructure – storing data records, concluding agreements, digital assets management, verifying operations and many more – that have the potential to revamp other sectors. Here’s a brief overview of some other blockchain business ideas and use cases:

  • Agriculture industry. Conducting farming operations via distributed ledger can help in minimising food waste, increasing visibility into the logistics network and more.
  • Automotive sector. Blockchain-embedded vehicles can ensure safer in-car payments and streamline the recall process.
  • Insurance segment. By using smart contracts, claims can be processed within minutes, reducing turnaround time. Blockchain can store information about policyholders, which can then be available to authorised parties.
  • Media and entertainment. Blockchain can be leveraged to create a comprehensive database for music copyright and ensure musicians receive fair royalty payments.
  • Real estate segment. Buyers and sellers can be securely connected without brokers or any other intermediaries, leading to fees reductions for both parties.
  • Social networks. To date, more than 53% of the total global population has registered a social media account, which equates to 4.2 billion people. As more people use social media, cyber thieves continue to attempt to use it to obtain users’ personal information. Blockchain provides an encrypted network that protects users from a data breach.
  • Travel and hospitality industry. Booking a ticket requires a user’s personal data, including their name, credit card number, destination and more. Using blockchain technology for such information adds an additional layer of security. Moreover, authorised parties can see any changes made in real-time. For example, if visiting a country requires a vaccine against COVID-19, once the user is vaccinated, travel providers and customs control will be aware of it.
  • Voting process. Online voting allows people to vote from anywhere with an internet connection and decrease costs spent on printing ballots. Even though electronic voting systems' security is a common concern for many, powered by a blockchain platform it can grant more secure storage for voters' digital identity. In addition, it ensures transparency of the voting process and minimises the risks of manipulation and fraud.

How big businesses reinvent everyday operations with blockchain

Many global companies have already explored blockchain business ideas, selected the most promising ones and put them into practice. Here’s a shortlist of how the world’s leading companies are using tangible blockchain technologies to their advantage:

  • Ford is utilising blockchain to safely store emission data and share it between authorities and vehicle owners.
  • Lockheed Martin adopts a blockchain-based ecosystem that uses end-to-end encryption and secures satellite communications. It forms a multiparty network where each user's identity and authority are verified.
  • Maersk leverages a blockchain-powered shipping platform to provide all supply chain partners access to real-time information and digital documents.
  • Mastercard is testing blockchain-enabled payments, which could lead to faster and more transparent cross-border payments.
  • Nestle and Carrefour are to utilise a blockchain system to offer greater visibility into their chain of supply.
  • Pfizer is a blockchain based platform to track records and manage its supply chain.
  • Toyota has launched Blockchain Lab, which is to explore possible applications of the technology within different aspects of the car industry, including the logistics chain and mobility.

What could blockchain do for your business?

Blockchain technology is evolving rapidly. In this article, we have shortlisted just a few of the best blockchain business ideas across sectors. The technology has the potential to disrupt a multitude of processes. Starting a blockchain business journey by yourself is a daunting prospect. Cooperation with a technology expert can help you make a positive start and capitalise on the business opportunities blockchain offers. An experienced software vendor can build a smart development team to help you meet any gaps in your internal blockchain expertise and deliver your project requirements.

Need help with generating blockchain business ideas and getting the most out of them? Contact us today.

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