Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency has dramatically increased in popularity over the last few months. Every day new startups launch promising new projects that are set to revolutionize a wide range of industries with distributed ledger technology, leading governing bodies to begin to take notice of the emerging sector.
This interest is linked to the increasing amount of money that is being raised through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. To date, ICOs have raised more than $1.2 billion dollars in capital by blockchain based startups.
Blockchain technology is even beginning to make into education. The Times Higher Education World University Ranking, which is “the only global university rankings subjected to full, independent scrutiny” by international accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCooper has observed 13 different global universities adding blockchain technology courses to their curricula.
While the impending blockchain revolution is set to transform many industries, the implementation of the tech has been slow and somewhat cumbersome. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency in existence, remains a speculative investment, with consumer acceptance steadily increasing at a slow rate. Part of the reason for this slow uptake is caused by confusion from regulatory bodies, as well as consumers who are unaware of how Bitcoin, and, by extension, the blockchain, works.
Real World Adoption Increases
There is, however, a strong argument for increased consumer adoption of blockchain technology. Over the last few months, several major US-based healthcare providers have begun incorporating blockchain technology into their tech strategy, using distributed ledger tech to secure and manage patient records. In Europe, blockchain tech is being heralded as a new solution for wholesale energy traders.
The diverse applications of blockchain technology also create interesting opportunities for supply chain logistics. The US logistics and transportation industry is currently considering a range of blockchain based solutions in an attempt to develop common standards.
More recently, IBM has announced a new blockchain project that attempts to revolutionize global food logistics, working with the 10 largest US-based food suppliers. By collaborating with food industry giants such as Walmart, Unilever, and Nestle, IBM is setting out to reduce expenditure and wastage in food supply lines, ultimately saving the consumer money.
The Universal Project
A new smart contracting and payment system focused on revolutionizing the transportation and trucking industry is incorporating similar techniques. Founder Alexander Borodich has stated that real-life implementation of blockchain technology in this manner can help the industry reach maturity:
“During my early years at the university, I read about Yap stones, which served as equivalent of money in Micronesia. They were very heavy and almost impossible to move anywhere, which made the community use them for meetings where the members would emboss each new owner’s name right on the stone. Later, I saw a striking similarity in the concept of Bitcoin: the registry is being updated to reflect ownership changes of the network and who it belongs to. In other words, the idea of Blockchain usage was born a long time ago, but in our project we have decided to accumulate all the advantages of data decentralization and want to get rid of the disadvantages of Bitcoin and Ethereum.”
The Universa solution was devised as a decentralized platform that uses smart contracts and Dapps in combination with electronic certification that resembles the existing paper-based system used in the logistics industry:
“Imagine an immediate [Blockchain] use case that we [have] in mind: the RFID label is equipped with a “smart seal,” which lets it be immediately recognized by the cargo terminal, notifies the user in question with an alert containing the cargo description and all necessary details securely.”