Thought Leadership

Blockchain Business Use Cases By Industry

In recent years, Kaleido has seen and empowered organizations across many industries to explore and implement blockchain to solve a range of business needs. Distributed ledger technology holds immense potential for improving efficiency, providing real-time information, and reducing costs—in many cases due to streamlining operations and removing intermediaries.

Organizations across all industries and levels of maturity are developing new business models through untapped markets and digital assets, improving business network accountability and modernizing outdated systems that are slow and/or susceptible to risk and fraud.

Here are some notable use cases that show the versatility and value of enterprise blockchain:

Blockchain in Banking and Capital Markets

You may have heard of the term decentralized finance (DeFi) by now; it’s a term that’s used to describe a collection of ideas to reshape banking, lending and their related activities. DeFi describes improvements to make financial services more accessible and transparent than traditional financial services⁠—and in this case, thanks to blockchain. Blockchain enables banks to transact directly with one another, reducing friction for settlement. The nature of blockchain’s distributed and immutable ledger also simplifies operations and regulatory reporting for government agencies and auditors. Experts in the field agree that blockchain will not replace the current capital markets ecosystem; instead, it will re-architect processes to address latency challenges and security concerns.

Investment banks and their clients are demanding changes to address slow and inefficient middle-and-back-office functions that create delays in financial settlements. Recently, consortiums like the Linux Foundation are closing in on solutions that marry technology and capital market firms in order to establish new standards for implementing blockchain technology.

Meanwhile, banks are seeking better ways to improve client services and deliver more value while optimizing reconciliation and costs. For instance, UK-based Barclays is experimenting with blockchain as a way to expedite back-office operations and settlement, stating they cut up to $20B in costs by removing intermediaries.

  • Know your customer (KYC): Financial institutions are held to strict requirements when it comes to Know Your Customer (KYC) and client onboarding procedures. The average customer onboarding time frame for financial institutions is estimated to be 26 days, and the average annual cost of KYC processes per each financial institution is $48 million, according to a Reuters Survey. This is a process that’s in desperate need of automation and ideal for blockchain’s security and transparency. As a shareable and secure financial ledger, the blockchain helps store and exchange KYC-related data. Banks can spend less resources verifying where customer money originated, their financial history, and business objectives. Blockchain offers a real-time database for KYC-related customer information for loan officers, banks and customers.
  • Serving the unbanked: It may come as a surprise, but two billion people in the world still do not have a bank account.  Although most of them are located in low-income/ emerging markets, this problem still exists in high-income nations like the U.S., where as many as 25 percent of people are unable to use banks to meet their daily financial needs. Without access to savings and credit, these underserved people cannot participate in today’s economy and remain in a vicious cycle of poverty. Blockchain provides digital identity to individuals, allowing the unbanked access to bank accounts and global capital markets.
  • Cross-border transactions and payments: Blockchain eliminates the need for intermediaries, drastically reducing settlement time of global, cross-border transactions from days to seconds, saving costs and counterparty risks. Issues such as transparency and traceability of international transfers can also be resolved thanks to blockchain.
  • Meeting compliance and security mandates: The nature of blockchain’s distributed ledger simplifies regulatory reporting for firms and regulators through the automation of an audit trail. Since all transactions are immutably documented on the blockchain, users can use retrieve historic transactions or use real-time data. This results in tremendous cost savings and improved speed of regulatory review process since there is no longer a need for reconciliation.
Blockchain for Supply Chain and Logistics

Depending on the product, supply chains can span hundreds of stages, multiple locations across the globe, may include an array of invoices and have multiple entities involved in settlements that take months. Blockchain networks create a shared IT infrastructure, streamlining workflows for stakeholders along the supply chain. It provides transparency, traceability and accountability of goods and commodities from provenance to point-of-consumption. Here are a few examples:

Ethical Diamonds: De Beers Diamonds uses blockchain to track diamonds from the point they are mined through each step of the supply chain, right up to the point they are sold to consumers. This gives consumers confidence that each diamond is genuine and avoids “conflict” or “blood diamonds.”

Trusted Tuna: A nationwide study conducted in the U.S. by the Oceana revealed that seafood is mislabeled up to 59% of the time. That’s why companies like Walmart and Tyson use blockchain to keep track of sourced food such as pork, seafood or chicken, so they are able to trace every piece of seafood. Tracking the provenance and ensuring the source of goods leads to a healthier, happier society.

According to a survey of supply chain employees conducted by the APQC and the Digital Supply Chain Institute, more than one-third of people cited reduction of costs as the top benefit of using of blockchain in supply chain management.

Blockchain for Commodities and Letters of Credit

The commodity trade finance industry is plagued by inefficiencies due to fraud-prone, paper-based processes that have been around for years. Rapid globalization outpaced the sector’s ability to standardize and digitize its system of record-keeping and operations. Furthermore, compliance requirements reduced operating margins and left stakeholders waiting weeks or months for payment. These antiquated processes are deeply embedded and complex due to the number of participants, hindering innovation for the entire industry and causing massive losses in income and opportunity.

Blockchain can serve as a secure, streamlined, and paperless platform on which only authorized parties — banks, commodity traders, inspection companies, and governments — can exchange data and transaction records.

komgo consortium - supply chain

Take, for instance, komgo: Comprised of 15 of the world’s largest institutions including international banks, traders, energy majors, and a certification company, komgo successfully leveraged blockchain to transform global trade finance.

Reported Blockchain Value for komgo Consortia Network Users

blockchain benefits for komgo supply chain

The greatest potential for blockchain in this sector lies in improving core management systems and new services. Fraud management, identity-as-a-service, 5G enablement, data management, and secure IoT connectivity are prime examples of blockchain’s potential.

Blockchain for Healthcare

Blockchain-based data sovereignty and permissioned exchange scenarios will lead to better, faster, and cost-effective medical discoveries, while advancements in medical data management will result in more competent patient care. Blockchain technology not only solves healthcare’s operational challenges such as interoperability, compliance and secure data exchange for EHRs, but also enables new patient-centric business models, fostering personalized medicine and advanced clinical research.

One example of a healthcare organization leveraging blockchain to improve personalized patient treatment is led by Caifeng Gene in China. Specifically, Caifeng Gene aims to use precision medicine to combat the growing diabetes prevalence in their country. They are securing PHI and identities on the blockchain to allow patients to see and control which third-parties have access to their data. Caifeng partnered with Kaleido to provide diabetes services through a first-of-its-kind genomic data sequencing, collection, analytics and permissioned data exchange.

It’s no secret that healthcare organizations run on many complex, data-intensive processes, often performed by covered entities who handle data and trust mechanisms; blockchain can simplify and automate these processes—in many cases, from months to days—and offers a single, immutable source of truth that can easily and securely be accessed, updated, shared and audited.

Blockchain for Real Estate

Smart contracts can be used to remove middlemen, automate rental payments, or transfer title deeds. Tokenization can be used to fractionalize properties, unlocking capital and providing more people access to real estate assets who may otherwise not be able to afford it or invest in it.

  • Asset tokenization: From an investment perspective, real estate investment trusts  (REITs) simply do not offer the specificity that many investors need. The concept of tokenization, along with other blockchain components, open up investment opportunities for individuals and organizations, while lowering the fees and typical costs of real-estate transactions.
  • Land registries: The land registries in most countries are historically challenging to access, as most of the information is kept offline. Blockchain registries have the potential to shorten a normally lengthy process of recording and transferring titles while offering transparency and eliminating the need to trust a centralized party.

Studies by Deloitte have shown that blockchain can offer opportunities for commercial real estate businesses to improve their property search process, build trust, and expedite due diligence and payment processes. Here a few examples of companies leveraging these benefits:

SMARTRealty uses smart real estate contracts to manage property purchases and rental agreements. Whether it’s paying rent, establishing mortgages or purchasing a home, the company’s smart contracts help to establish protocols that, if not met, immediately dissolve a contract.

Meridio allows commercial property owners to sell digital shares of their real estate. The company’s platform connects individual and corporate investors with property owners who are looking to liquidate portions of their ownership.

Blockchain for Media and Entertainment

Participating in the media and entertainment industry is easier than ever before with self-service platforms like YouTube, but there are still many distribution and monetization challenges for creators. Blockchain promises to reduce piracy of intellectual property, protect digital content and enable the distribution of provably scarce digital collectibles through token economy use cases.

Using blockchain, artists are able to take control over their content licensing, remove potentially unethical third-parties, and enforce terms more effectively. Creators can keep a record of all transactions of a particular asset, transparently track activities such as usage of content, easily transfer ownership and manage smart contracts associated with the content.

As content creators develop revenue models, they may be missing out on opportunities from those who aren’t willing to pay for an entire subscription, and instead want to pay a smaller fee for only the content they wish to consume. Blockchain allows for pay-per-use consumption as an alternative. Additionally, content creators such as musicians and writers, are empowered to directly distribute their work to consumers, bypassing traditional distribution channels and allowing more of the revenue to remain with the content creators themselves.

Digital Collectables Example:

Deadpool movie digital collectable

When it comes to creating digital collectables, there are some very interesting use cases. One great example is Greenfence, the creators of GFT™ Authentic Digital Collectibles™ (“crypto-collectibles”) and the creative digital campaigns they’ve launched with their partners. Digital collectables is a new way for IP holders, content providers, musicians, artists, and filmmakers to generate revenue and/or drive promotions based on real-world objects.

Greenfence used a software lock designed to prevent unauthorized copying for their Deadpool 2 movie art. The item’s authenticity is verified by the Ethereum blockchain, a global network of computers designed to keep a redundant record of each digital asset.

“Like any collectible, its value is based on its scarcity, velocity and the ability to prove it’s authentic,” Greefence CMO Slavin said.

Blockchain for Government

The creation and exchange of government information amounts to billions of transactions each year, including disbursements, transfers, procurement, fees, and certifications just to name a few. Wherever those transactions could benefit from the digitization of assets and decentralized exchange, there exists a blockchain opportunity.

Encrypted ledger and smart contracts can help government agencies reduce document processing time by removing steps and middleman, as well as preventing errors. In an era of cost and security pressures, blockchain is an ideal way for agencies to ensure data integrity while operating more efficiently.

  • Data management and integrity: On average, it costs the government $2,603 per year to maintain a single five-drawer filing cabinet, so you can imagine how much it costs to store and preserve billions of records, not to mention the personnel and site costs associated with maintaining these records. Digitizing the majority of this data not only greatly reduces costs, but also prevents data loss and tampering.
  • Fraud prevention: Digital identity is both a use case for blockchain and the enabler that allows for other blockchain integrations to exist. One example of this application would be using blockchain to end voter fraud in America. The technology can also prevent potential foreign intervention during election processes.
  • Auditability: Government operations are heavily regulated and require a certain level of traceability and security. Transactions on the blockchain can leverage cryptography so that only privy parties are able to use the information; transactions are also traceable and immutable, which eases the burden of meeting compliance standards.
Blockchain for Energy

Energy sector decision-makers and utility companies both agree blockchains could provide a promising solution to control, manage and secure increasingly decentralized complex energy systems and microgrids.

The chain maintains a secure record of ownership and the origins of the energy consumed or supplied. As a result, blockchain solutions could be used for smart charging arrangements and sharing of resources, e.g. community storage or microgrids, as well as for applications of data storage in smart grids and cybersecurity.

  • Grid management: Blockchains could assist in network management of decentralized networks, flexibility services or asset management.
  • Financial: Providers can implement new payment models and reduce utility costs in the process.
  • Automation: Blockchains can be used for communication across smart devices, smart grid applications and data transmission/ storage systems without the need for human intervention.
  • Resource sharing: Imagine platforms where prosumers and consumers can trade interchangeably their energy surplus and support flexible demand on a peer-to-peer basis. Or resource sharing can be as simple as a communal electric vehicle charging infrastructure and a centralized community storage.

Energy systems are undergoing rapid changes to accommodate the increasing volumes of embedded renewable generation, such as wind and solar photovoltaic systems (PV).

Blockchain Adoption Across Organizational Stages

One common misconception about blockchain adoption is that it’s more suitable for highly established enterprises. In reality, anyone can benefit from blockchain’s efficiencies regardless of company size or lifecycle stage. Some blockchain initiatives begin at the innovation lab of a larger organization or are incubated as part of a larger program, and if they’re successful, eventually spin out to become an independent business. In other instances, the use case/ business model warrants the creation of a new startup from the get-go. These startups can easily become a dominant provider in a small market since they’re agile and not bogged down by traditional IT.

Take Atato, SMBX or Png.me for instance. These startups are carving our their own space in history with blockchain-based innovations powered by Kaleido. One of the many benefits of working with Kaleido is that we support you at every stage of your journey; you can start small with proof-of-concepts, evolve at your own pace and seamlessly transition into production blockchain.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible across sectors when leveraging blockchain technology. Ultimately, the use cases are practically endless and blur the lines of traditional industries as we know them today, as organizations are collaborating in new ways. If you’d like to discuss your use case, feel free to reach out to a Kaleido expert who can help you bring your ideas to life.

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