In a recent article, we explained what the blockchain technology is and touched on its potential benefits. This truly pioneering innovation has made Bitcoin popular and practical even for those clueless about cryptocurrencies. In the first years after the cryptocoin inception, blockchain was strictly related to Bitcoin, but that is no longer the case at all. This unique distribution database system has many uses, which we will discuss in the article before you. In fact, blockchain has so many applications that it may soon become a universal system of data storage.

Let us share with you 13 different situations in which we can reap the benefits of this revolutionary technology. For greater credibility, we will often cite as examples companies that already use blockchain in one situation or another. So, here are the 13 blockchain use cases that can change the industry.

  • Smart Contracts

The blockchain system makes it easy to code contracts that trigger stipulated conditions at a specified time. These are known as smart contracts, mostly because they are automated and can facilitate the way we negotiate and conduct deals.

Smart contracts can be programmed to activate one condition/function or another. Here’s an example: a debt, a payment request, or a derivative (a type of financial instrument) may be paid when a certain condition or benchmark is met. The great news is that these innovative contracts avoid intermediaries while enforcing the obligations of all entities involved.

  • Data Storage and Management

Factom is a remarkable blockchain-based company that uses distributed databases. Their services are used to implement a database management system and data analysis in a variety of areas. Businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations use Factom to simplify the procedures for keeping records, recording data about business processes, and managing all kinds of information. All entries in Factom have time stamps and are stored in lockups. This reduces the cost and complexity of managing them, auditing, and complying with regulatory requirements.

Decentralizing data storage by using blockchain is more secure since it’s more difficult for the files to be lost or hacked.

  • Prediction Markets is a decentralized, open-source prediction market platform built on the blockchain of Ethereum. Augur allows users to bet on the outcome of various events. The service plans to use open decentralized registries so that the collective wisdom of prediction experts can find application in finance, healthcare, and public administration.

However, predictions can be related to world events in other areas as well. With Augur, clients have the chance to make money by investing in predictions that materialize. The more you invest in the eventual correct outcome, the higher the profit may be.

  • Intellectual Property Security

Ascribe is a service that helps artists and creatives confirm and safeguard the right of authorship (copyright) via blockchain technology. Ascribe allows you to create a unique digital ID and digital certificates to verify the authorship and authenticity of artistic works. Besides, there is a mechanism for transferring ownership from the artist or the author to the buyer or collector. It includes all legal aspects of the process.

Mycelium applies blockchain to develop a peer-to-peer music distribution network. It allows artists to promote and sell their music to audiences without middlemen.

Other services focused on IP protection are Stampery, Verisart, Blockai, Monegraph, Proof of Existence, and Binded.

  • The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is among the most promising concepts expected to change our world. It will do so by fully automating our lives and bringing home appliances and devices together into a unified network with the help of the internet.

Filament offers a number of software and hardware solutions for the large-scale intelligent management of industrial systems and equipment. At the heart of the company's development lie the principles of decentralization, cryptographic protection, and autonomy.

Chimera offers its own care system for seniors and people with disabilities. It has also developed physical devices (bracelets and medallions) and applications for the remote collection and analysis of vital signs, as well as the assessment of situations where the person wearing the device needs help.

  • Stock Trading

The blockchain technology can speed up the process of trading and order execution, eliminate intermediaries, add more security to the stock trading process, and help companies go public.

Many stock exchanges have already decided to take advantage of the technology. Some examples are the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the German Stock Exchange (Deutsche Börse), NASDAQ, and Japan Exchange Group (JPX).

Trading stocks has always involved many intermediaries, for example brokers and the exchange itself. With a decentralized and safe technology such as blockchain, traders can benefit from lower fees and flawless execution.

  • Digital Identity, Authentication, and Authorization

Guardtime, BlockVerify, 2WAY.IO, ShoCard, HYPR, Onename and several other companies apply distributed database technology in solutions designed for the identification and confirmation of access rights.

In these cases, blockchain is applied not only for the transfer of funds. Decentralized distributed registries can be used to store all types of data and perform various transactions safely and openly. Moreover, the creation of an identity in the blockchain can give individuals greater control over access to their personal data and the degree of their openness to others.

One can create a digital certificate that acts as a kind of watermark to be stamped on any transaction with any asset.

Civic is a platform for identity management based on the blockchain technology. Its services aim to solve the problem of identity theft. The platform allows users to register, confirm personal information, and protect their credit history from scammers.

  • Voting

Follow My Vote provides a secure and transparent platform for anonymous online voting, using blockchain technology and elliptical cryptography to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the results. The source code for the project is open.

In February 2016, NASDAQ and the Estonian government announced that e-Residency, the state digital residence platform, would be implemented to simplify the process of blockchain voting at the shareholder meetings of companies listed on the only regulated exchange - NASDAQ's Tallinn Stock Exchange.

  • Video Games and Gambling

Blokchain has found fans even in the gambling and video games industries. This is yet another vivid example of the boundless imagination of entrepreneurs.

Etheria is a virtual world where players try to take possession of the playing field cells, mining them for blocks and building something on them. All the data about the world, its state, and the actions of the players are stored in the decentralized Ethereum blockchain.

First Blood is a platform that allows cyber-sportsmen to challenge each other in various game disciplines. Meanwhile, the fans can bet on or judge the games. First Blood works on the basis of the Ethereum blockchain, but has its own token (known as 1ST) and actively employs smart contracts for processing results.

As for the gambling market, representatives include CoinPalace, Etheroll, Rollin, and Ethereum Jackpot, to mention but a few.

  • Labor Market

Verbatm was a blockchain-based protocol that allowed people to submit documents without the need for additional third-party verification.

Appii uses distributed database technology to safely store and verify information related to education, accreditation, awards, diplomas, and seniority. This technology allows you to get quick access to the labor data of professionals.

Satoshi Talent was the first recruiting company to use blockchain technology. It offers career prospects for those planning to link their future with blockchain companies.

Coinality is a free service that connects employers with job seekers willing to accept payment in cryptocoins such as Bitcoin or Litecoin. Here you can find both one-time and ongoing work.

  • Media & Content Delivery

Bittunes has created a global solution that simplifies the music industry and gives power back to performers and their fans. The platform uses Bitcoin as the primary currency.

PeerTracks is a music streaming service, music sales (which can be downloaded), talent search and fan communication platform that allows content creators and consumers to make a living through music. The solution is based on a peer-to-peer network called MUSE, which PeerTrack uses to simplify, automate, and reduce costs.

  • Social Networks

At this point, decentralized social networks (DSNs) are at a very early stage of development. Among those that have grabbed the attention of professionals are DECENT, Diaspora, AKASHA and Synereo.

DSNs use different servers connected through the same software. These are social networks that can enforce strict privacy standards. This is made possible by the fact that user data is not stored and controlled by the central agency or the company owner, as is the case with FB and other popular social networks.

DSN enthusiasts predict that decentralized platforms will become the future of social networks.

  • Organization of Private and Public Administration

Blockchain can help increase the transparency and integrity of political systems. There is, for example, an entire international virtual nation called BITNATION. It has its own citizens, ambassadors, partners, and physical locations around the world. Everyone can join it without any restrictions.

Another interesting example is Advocate, a platform for improving the interaction of citizens with state representatives. It aims to help both ordinary members of society and applicants for managerial positions in local government bodies.

The bottom line

As you can see, the blockchain technology goes far beyond cryptocurrencies and, with a little creativity and ambition, it can achieve amazing things. In fact, our list is not complete. Blockchain is also applied in crowdfunding, supply chain auditing, anti-money laundering, the diamonds market, real estate, commodity trading, and all kinds of online payments. It’s only the lack of space that prevents us from outlining more use cases. That aside, the technology itself seems to have limitless potential.