11 Real Blockchain Use Cases for Business
We researched how blockchain can add value to financial services, media and entertainment, healthcare and life sciences, retail and consumer products, insurance, and education. Here's what we found.
Blockchain will revolutionize record-keeping and trusted cross-company interactions, ultimately changing the experience of every individual. The potential it creates for new business models is endless. But how do you identify the right blockchain use cases for your company? Where do you start the journey of bringing blockchain to your customer?
We engaged with hundreds of our customers to understand their pain points and opportunities for blockchain to improve their business models. Here’s what we found.
Framework for identifying blockchain use cases
As tempting as it is to try blockchain for everything, it can best deliver business value if you can answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Do multiple parties (organizations) need access to data?
- Do partners need complete visibility to the history of transactions?
- Is the current way of sharing data lengthy, costly, and most importantly, hard to trust?
Blockchain use cases for business that drive value
If you’ve answered “yes” to all three questions above, the next step is to define what value you expect to drive. Our design partner customers created an extensive business case deck they evangelized internally which included the value driver, but also, their interpretation of what blockchain technology is and why it’s important.
Once you’ve created your case deck, it’s time to think about the implementation of blockchain. The three key components of any blockchain application you need to decide on are:
- The data you would like to include.
- The partners you need to share the data with.
- The value you hope to drive.
Putting these key components together will help you crystallize and communicate unique blockchain use cases to any stakeholder in your business.
11 real-use cases for blockchain we’ve found by working with our customers
1. Customer validation. Know Your Customer (KYC ) is a manual process that takes a long time and leaves room for error. The process involves multiple reviewers to validate whether the customer has the right background to handle large sums of money.
By putting the entire KYC process on blockchain and adding everyone that’s involved, you can complete the process faster with more transparency, less checking of sources of information, and most importantly, deliver a much better experience for the customer.
- Data: customer background documents
- Partners (nodes): third party researchers, auditors, financial reviewers, account managers, the customer
- Value: process efficiency for a better customer experience
2. Regulatory reporting. One of the key challenges in bank-related reporting is that the data regulators need is dispersed across many functions, including front-office employees in local branches and back-end systems engineers at bank headquarters. Through the combination of smart contracts and the immutability of blockchain, you can achieve the integrity of data on a single chain. Moreover, you can give regulators access to view that chain without the need to compile reports manually.
- Data: audit history
- Partners: regulators (from multiple agencies)
- Value: lower cost of reporting
3. Cross-bank, cross-border transfers. When you send money to another country, there are multiple intermediaries involved along with lengthy form fills and processing fees. Your bank transmits a message to a bank that is an intermediary in another country, who sends a verification message to the receiving bank. The information is then sent back to confirm, and finally the money is transferred.
What if you could transfer funds with the click of a button? With network-verified transactions, blockchain can eliminate intermediaries, making transfers instant.
- Data: money transfer
- Partners: banks across many countries
- Value: better customer experience, lower transaction costs
Media and entertainment
4. Fan-to-artist direct payments. Have you ever wondered how your favorite musicians get paid when you stream one of their songs online? There are many managers and media companies involved. Blockchain can revolutionize the music industry by automatically paying artists through blockchain-enabled smart contracts.
By connecting their music streaming app to the blockchain, they remove the middleman. When their song is streamed, they are compensated immediately and transparently.
- Data: streaming music records
- Partners (nodes): artists, consumers
- Value: new business model — better opportunities for artists
5. Ticketing. If you’ve ever purchased concert tickets from a third-party vendor, you understand how frustrating the experience can be when ticket prices skyrocket for popular shows or (worst case scenario) you end up the victim of ticket fraud.
Show organizers also experience frustrations when it comes to third-party vendors. It’s difficult to provide an excellent customer experience when they don’t have access to the customer’s data.
With smart contracts and complete visibility to transactions, blockchain can lock in ticket prices for the consumer and give a 360-view of the concert goer directly to the concert organizers to help them provide customized and relevant experiences.
- Data: ticket purchases
- Partners (nodes): show organizers, third-party resellers
- Value: lower prices for the customer, improved ability to run campaigns for business
6. Loyalty programs. Loyalty programs today are siloed. You’re probably a member of several you don’t even use. What if you had just one and you could gain points from every purchase you make and use the points anywhere you want?
Blockchain’s network-driven architecture and transparent transactions make it easy to add multiple businesses into one awards program. Integrations are less costly, and businesses from across industries — hotels, airlines, coffee shops, and even food trucks – can form a consortium to serve one customer with one loyalty program.
- Data: loyalty points, exchange rates
- Partners: multiple businesses from across industries
- Value: lower cost of cross-company integration; better customer experience
Healthcare and life sciences
7. Drug labeling. The process to maintain labeling on prescription drugs is complex. Varying requirements depend on the region where the drug is marketed. Multiple experts need to be involved to document various aspects of the label, resulting in lengthy reviews and multiple iterations to get the label approved.
Creating a blockchain network where all the parties involved can share information and provide an immutable view of the label makes it fast, easy, and less costly to update and maintain the labels.
- Data: drug labels
- Partners: creative agencies, regulators, pharma companies
- Value: faster label updates, lower cost, better compliance
8. Electronic health records. Every time you change doctors, you need to complete the same paperwork. Moreover, it can be difficult to access all of the information you need to complete the paperwork in one place.
Blockchain provides the architecture that enables sharing a patient’s electronic health records across a distributed network of providers. This eliminates the lack of compatibility across different Electronic Health Record systems, provides access to patients, and gives permissions for any other provider to access their health records safely and securely.
- Data: electronic health records (or related transaction data)
- Partners: providers, the patients
- Value: better patient experience, provider efficiency
Retail and consumer products
9. Tracking goods to source. Retailers and their suppliers are required to certify the products they manufacture and sell are safe and comply with all regulations. Additionally, we as consumers want to be sure the products we purchase are ethically-sourced.
Maintaining this information between parties involves manual processes and non-digitized forms which drive up the cost of business. Blockchain enables a real-time, collaborative network for retailers, suppliers, and third-party labs to have a shared record of a product as it moves along the supply chain. This gives complete visibility to the verified source of goods for both regulators and consumers.
- Data: product movements
- Partners: retailers, suppliers, third-party labs, and logistics companies
- Value: ethical sourcing, cost of tracking, customer trust
10. Claims management. Insurance claims processes can be complex and lengthy, involving multiple parties to assess damage, process, and settle a claim. A poor claims experience is a common driver for customer attrition and a significant source of expense for the insurer.
With blockchain, insurers can create a network where the parties involved in assessing, processing, and adjudicating a claim can have a single source of truth for information. And, they can use smart contracts to automate payout when predefined conditions are met. Imagine having your claim processed ten times faster. That’s the potential.
- Data: consumer goods/products
- Partners: insurer, claims processor, repair shop
- Value: faster service, lower cost of claims processing
11. Credentialing and degree completion. Blockchain makes it easier to transfer schools or study abroad with a Universal Learner Record. Imagine a connected network for universities and colleges to save student transcripts in a unified ledger to help ensure degree completion.
- Data: educational institutions
- Partners: colleges/universities
- Value: faster paperwork transfers, smoother degree accreditations
Learn more about Blockchain by taking our free, online learning course — Blockchain Basics — over at Trailhead.