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Monday, June 12, 2017

Blockchain and its end-user applications

I have thought over blockchain a lot and I think it has huge amount of capacity to do disrupt the industry. Initially when I first heard about it I could not grasp the enormity of it because for me as an end-user, trust was not a factor that affected my personal browsing habits on day to day basis. The fact that the service worked and could be relied upon to do it's task was sufficient for me. So the decentralized applications made little sense to me.

The blockchain hyperledger is huge but that is not because of it's capacity to create encrypted hashes and link them into blockchain as ledger. That is just a new back-end frontier which would become common and core soon. The REAL potential of blockchain lies in it's ability to create peers which is not just about decentralization of data but also decentralization and power and thus decentralization of money in way that makes marketing sense to consumers.

I would try to put some use-cases of Blockchain Technology:-

  1. Imagine you have a business of manufacturing toothbrush. Apparently salesmen have the best margins on the toothbrush you manufacture  and thus there are many people who would like to sell the toothbrush to consumers.  You would require a marketing inventory and sales CRM that would enable the salesman and different vendors to sell your toothbrush. The problem with this kind of inventory is it stops at you and your vendors. What if the vendor is actually a distributor who sells your product to another vendor or what if a completely new salesman wants to sell your product? Enabling multiple peers to access the sales manufacturing data and allowing them compete between each other in a non-breakable blockchain hyperledger would help businesses scale to millions of salesmen without worrying about being cheated by sales people.

    The basic idea is to involve a third party into your business without having to worry about the power sharing between the institutions thus enabling peer to peer dedicated contribution.
  2. IOT based self repairing smart devices.
    Smart devices can run software that interacts with the blockchain. It interacts with a service provider according to pre-negotiated contract terms and conditions as defined in the hyperledger. When a failure occurs within the device, an internal sensor which indicates the failure, generates a request for service transaction on the blockchain. This transaction informs the service provider about the nature of the failure, identifying the specific device. The service provider can respond to the service request in a timely manner. Upon completion, the sensor reading indicates the completion of the repair and can release payment to the service provider on the blockchain. This is extremely important in huge automated manufacturing plants. As of now they require audit of the plant by several company officials to trace if all the equipment are working properly. It would be also extremely useful in hardware malfunctions.
  3. Banking
    Bitcoin has certainly gained a lot of popularity because of encrypted transfer of money but that is just scratching the surface when it comes to blockchain's application in banking sector.  Let us assume you have 200 INR in your wallet. Theoretically you can lend that money to different people and earn interest over it. You could also distribute it to multiple people. As the amount you have is very low it does not make sense to create your money lending platform. That is the primary reason why banks exist. Although the hashing algorithm used in blockchain would enable to send , receive and lend cash in unbreakable blockchain  thus making the end-user ignore the worries of power sharing required between the lender and donor. (Already adopted in US, Indian laws currently ban this type of system)

    Thoughts to ponder :- Real value in rural areas where farmers and local people get fooled when it comes to money. Bank Branches are also far away from villages thus it would mean zero or no competition.
  4. Research Journal
    I have already covered the fact how power sharing arrangement in different peers could help a business (seen in 1) but it could also help create a very fair reward based structure on completing on certain task in the role that's been assigned to a person. That is fair gamification of entire process.
Here is video by Siraj Raval which explains the concepts of blockchain properly. He also explains the application of blockchain in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.