The world on blockchain: where the new technology is already in use

Many organizations around the world are bravely taking advantage of blockchain technology for a variety of purposes, bringing us closer to the day when its use will be widespread

You can argue about the bubble nature of cryptocurrencies as much as you like, but there is no denying the importance and innovativeness, and most importantly, the convenience of using distributed network technology in a number of areas of life. Even representatives of JPMorgan Chase, known for their cryptoskepticism, at the recent main cryptos gathering in New York, said that they are still “cool” to digital currency, but share the opinion about the importance of the technology itself. So where is this magic fern – blockchain – really growing and thriving today, and where is it really being applied?

Taxes, land, elections

One of the first and most obvious uses of blockchain is in government services and document management. The Florida Department of Revenue has announced a partnership with BitPay to begin accepting property taxes and fees, driver’s licenses, ID cards, license plates and other documents in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash cryptocurrencies.

Georgia is a country on the radar of everyone involved in blockchain in one way or another.

What exactly has the Georgian government done?

First, blockchain options have been added to the official web page of the National Agency of Public Registry of Georgia (NAPR): now you can use the blockchain network to find and obtain official statements of real estate properties. This option is available and has been working for several months. And it is possible to check the validity of a printout prepared for real estate in the global blockchain network on special resources.

Secondly, NAPR has been cooperating with Bitfury, the world leader in mining equipment, for more than a year now. The latter helps Georgia introduce services for the purchase and sale of property rights to land plots, registration of mortgages on real estate and notarization of documents. Valery Vavilov, head of Bitfury, has high hopes for the blockchainization of document flow, giving it round-the-clock access even on ordinary, civilian smartphones. Similar – working! – systems have also been created in Sweden and Ghana.

More than one country in the world has figured out how to use blockchain in elections: the technology itself does not allow any tossups or “merry-go-rounds. That is why there is so much talk about the democratization of blockchain and the blockchainization of democracy.

A recent example is the first municipal elections on blockchain in West Virginia, USA. It was possible to vote from anywhere without any absentee ballots or walking to the polling station or embassy. Now authorities are considering using the technology in November, during the big congressional elections.

This year’s domestic elections, while not particularly surprising to anyone, were also blockchain-enabled. National Public Monitoring” observers conducted live parallel vote counts and voter turnout, and this data was confirmed using NOM blockchain technology and the “International Trust Standard” of the independent blockchain platform Verifier.

In March, a blockchain company also supported the presidential elections in Sierra Leone. The head of the company, which counted the votes, was quick to reassure his telegram subscribers that his specialists were more nimble and published the results two hours before the local CEC.

Japan, wages, schoolgirls

In December 2017, when the price of bitcoin was breaking all records, GMO Internet, a company based in Japan, announced to the envy of crypto-enthusiasts that in the coming year its employees would receive part of their salaries in bitcoin. 100,000 Japanese yen (that’s just over $900) will be sent digitally to the wallets of GMO Internet’s 4,000 employees starting in February 2018. The company also trades on cryptocurrency exchanges and has even entered the mining business. Another example: the digital platform Bitwage, with which, according to CNBC, such giants as Netflix, Airbnb and Starbucks are cooperating, already offers a cryptocurrency payment function in whole or in part.

Incidentally, Japan is still ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to the actual use of digital money in the home. Here you can spend it in stores, coffee shops, and even the pop band Kasotsuka Shojo (“Cryptocurrency Girls”) not only sings songs about bitcoins, but also receives royalties in crypto and sells concert tickets and the opportunity to be photographed with themselves wearing a Japanese schoolgirl mask and apron to their fans.

Finance, Business, Software

The fintech industry is growing at an incredible pace, and blockchain is a big part of the reason. The use of technology in banking transactions is illustrated by a transaction between HSBC Bank and Dutch ING Bank. To deliver cargo from Argentina to Malaysia, they processed a letter of credit through the R3 Corda blockchain platform and avoided any paperwork at all. Russia’s Alfa Bank and S7 airline conducted a similar transaction not long ago. Instant network updates are the virtue that will make such financial transactions faster, easier and more reliable.

Another recognized blockchain leader is Ripple. Through its network, it is possible to send bank transfers, intercurrency, instantaneous and with a lower fee than traditional fiat.

A few months ago they launched an open blockchain platform for factoring operations as part of a consortium. Using the capabilities of the Ethereum network, their platform implements vendor connectivity, document reconciliation with maximum speed and efficiency, while preserving the confidentiality of information about the transactions that take place. In addition to convenience, blockchain for factoring is a real savings, about 150-200 million rubles a year, as well as getting rid of paper invoices.

The problem of transparency in fundraising is relevant not only for ICOs, but also for the field of charity. Who and how the money raised goes, how it is actually distributed – I’m sure many people have asked themselves these questions, even if they were an active and involved participant in the charitable process. The Charity Blockchain Association helps dozens of foundations, including, for example, the Leukemia Foundation. That foundation was the first to “move to blockchain-based financial reporting and publishing. Blockchain technology has even entered the gaming industry and brought new blockchain gaming industry trends.

And, of course, businesses are not left out. Blockchain has been introduced into its corporate networks by a giant like Microsoft. By adding bitcoins to your account, you can now buy software, movies, games, and applications for the Xbox.

Another pillar of commerce, online retail and online shopping platform Shopify, has added bitcoin payments to its functionality. Thousands of stores using the platform are already accepting them, taking advantage of the speed and, again, low transaction fees. You can also read our article about microsoft pluton security processor which is a new innovation.

So while regulators are writing laws and trying to fit distributed ledgers into legal frameworks, many organizations around the world are bravely taking advantage of blockchain technology, bringing the day when “blockchain” will no longer be something vague and gray, but technology will actually change people’s lives and work for the better.

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