Not only cryptos: alternative blockchain applications
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This article is the second of a series revolving around blockchain technology. In the first we introduced the technology by briefly illustrating its nature and functioning. In this article we will describe some of its most relevant applications other than cryptocurrencies.
Impervious to the difficulties faced by cryptocurrencies, blockchain imposed itself as one of the most interesting emerging technologies, finding different applications in many unrelated fields. Wherever there is a necessity for information to be recorded in a safe, permanent, and verifiable way, blockchain can deliver a quality solution that is relatively easy to adopt. In the following paragraphs, we are going to detail some of the most promising among these solutions.
Food traceability: many large food retailers chose a blockchain solution to quickly and reliably trace food across the supply chain. Knowing the origin of a food item and being able to use a shared database to transparently follow its path up until it is purchased is for obvious reasons greatly beneficial to both retailers and consumers.[1,2]
Goods traceability: another similar application of the technology concerns the traceability of goods shipped out to sea via containers. This is a very relevant application, as over 80% of all goods are shipped that way. With respect to the faster but less flexible technologies currently used to this end the use of blockchain is able to aggregate different stakeholders in the same ecosystem, facilitating their interaction and thus greatly improving the efficacy and reliability of the process.
Document certification: the non-falsifiability of information stored in a blockchain allows its use in the field of certifications. A digital signature of a document or certificate can be memorized in the chain immutably and permanently, making its legal verification easy and trustable.
Gaming: in one of the sectors traditionally open to the adoption of new technologies blockchain was introduced as a system to trace and exchange the so-called game assets, objects that define a player’s identity such as skins, weapons, and special powers. Their storage in a blockchain allows for a better representation of their unicity and scarcity and at the same time grants the opportunity to use the same infrastructure to handle their exchange in a way that is not dissimilar to other rare objects such as art pieces or precious stones.[5,6]
Digital identity protection: another promising blockchain application consists of the management and protection of individuals’ and businesses’ digital identities. Such sensitive information is usually stored in centralized databases susceptible to both external attacks and internal manipulations. A blockchain solution is able to avoid these issues due to the immutability, verifiability, and ease of attribution of the information memorized in the chain.[7,8]
To be continued: blockchain types
Thanks to its guarantees of immutability and safety blockchain was able to impose itself as an adequate technological solution in many fields that are often very different from one another (and from cryptocurrencies). This allowed the technology to evolve and take various forms according to the context of use. In the next article, we will delve deeper on this aspect and illustrate the functional necessities behind such evolutions.
[1,3,4,5,7] Spagnuolo, E. (2019). Wired. Retrieved on 16/04/2019 from https://www.wired.it/economia/finanza/2019/03/15/blockchain-applicazioni/.
 Sayer, P. (2019). CIO. Retrieved on 16/04/2019 from https://www.cio.com/article/3323073/carrefour-modernizes-food-traceability-with-blockchain.html.
 Curran, B. (2019). Blockonomi. Retrieved on 16/04/2019 from https://blockonomi.com/blockchain-games/.
 IBM Blockchain (2019). IBM. Retrieved on 16/04/2019 from https://www.ibm.com/blockchain/solutions/identity.