6 Blockchain Use Cases in 2022: Learn Blockchain Today

Blockchain is reinventing the way people and companies interact with each other, from how they trade goods, to how they transfer assets, to how they manage personal information. Blockchain can simplify and safeguard the ways we deliver healthcare, improve food safety and consume entertainment. 

Still, many people have questions about this technology: How does blockchain work? Why is blockchain important? What can blockchain be used for?

We’ll explore those topics and address some blockchain use cases across industries such as finance, healthcare and entertainment. We’ll also discuss how to learn blockchain development. Everyone can grow from learning about the benefits of blockchain, particularly if they want to explore investing in cryptocurrency assets such as Bitcoin.

How Does Blockchain Work?

At its most basic, blockchain is a secure digital record of transactions, according to Deloitte. These records are distributed across a distributed database that is shared among the nodes of a computer network, ensuring transaction security and immutability.

Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger delineating who owns what and who transacts with whom. Each transaction is recorded as a self-contained piece (or “block”) of data that participants across the network can view but cannot alter. New transactions are recorded in separate blocks linked to the original in a “chain.” Hence, the name blockchain. 

The underlying technology of blockchain is more complex, involving hashes, keys and rules established by network participants to authenticate the data. Blockchain transactions must be validated and the participants’ identities must be verified. This process builds a shared trust among network participants. According to the World Economic Forum, the blockchain ledger is “nearly impossible to cheat or hack” because of the verification process.

IBM offers an easy-to-understand guide on how blockchain works. Or, if you’re really interested in learning more and potentially transitioning into a fintech role, Berkeley FinTech Boot Camp teaches the in-demand skills you’ll need to transition into this exciting new field.

Types of Blockchain

IBM classifies four types of blockchain networks

  • Public: These are blockchain networks that anyone can read, transact within and participate in the consensus process. The code is open-sourced and Bitcoin represents the best-known public blockchain.
  • Private: The private blockchain operates similarly to a public network but is limited to a single organization or group. That group determines the participants and maintains the distributed ledger. It also writes the transactions and can restrict read privileges to certain participants.
  • Permissioned: Permissioned blockchain networks require an invitation to join and participate. They can be public or private.
  • Consortium: In a consortium network, multiple companies or organizations collaborate to organize a shared set of transactions. According to IBM, consortium blockchains are “ideal for business when all participants need to be permissioned and have a shared responsibility for the blockchain.”

How Can Blockchain Be Used?

Blockchain is best known as the platform for cryptocurrency, but that only touches the surface of its capabilities. Blockchain can be used to buy, sell or trade any asset — physical or digital. It is becoming a vital technology in the financial services industry to improve trust in transactions.

Healthcare providers are using blockchain to maintain health records (such as vaccine passports) and companies rely on blockchain to keep their supply chains flowing and to correct breakdowns within them.

Further, blockchain benefits more than big business. People worldwide can send money to each other quickly, safely and without using a third party. This is especially important to countries where banks and other financial institutions aren’t easily accessible. Blockchain is likely to be critical to sustainable development worldwide.

With much of the world exploring the benefits of blockchain, it’s important that we all learn more about it and perhaps even start a career in blockchain

What Are the Benefits of Blockchain?

Trust is essential to commerce. Consider your concerns when buying something online. You want to be sure that the seller is trustworthy, will ship the right goods in fair condition and do so at the agreed price. We use trusted third-party vendors for many of these online transactions.

With blockchain technology, that trust is provided through cryptographic proof of transactions. Thus, each transaction is registered and distributed across the network — and participants are verified. You know who you’re dealing with in each transaction, even if you’ve never met the person, and encryption prevents outside influence from hackers. Transactions are transparent and unalterable.

Further, because blockchain platforms are decentralized, no single person controls a specific ledger. Decentralization distributes trust across the blockchain network rather than onto a specific entity.

And as a digital platform, blockchain speeds the processing time of transactions; making them more efficient and often cheaper to perform. It also eliminates the need for redundant ledgers for security purposes since the ledger is already distributed across multiple networks.

As the Association for Computing Machinery site summarizes, “blockchain is technology that builds a trustworthy service in an untrustworthy environment.”

How do we protect blockchain networks in an untrustworthy environment? That’s where cybersecurity becomes important. The techniques and frameworks that cybersecurity experts use are critical to maintaining safe and robust blockchain networks. If you’re interested in becoming an ethical hacker in the blockchain world, learn more about cybersecurity at Berkeley Cybersecurity Boot Camp. 

How to Learn Blockchain

Blockchain offers a fascinating and rewarding career path; blending programming, development, cybersecurity and other technical disciplines into a flourishing field.

According to CareerOneStop, job prospects for blockchain engineers are projected to grow by 9 percent this decade, with more than 37,000 annual openings. Many companies offer remote employment, meaning blockchain developers and engineers can work from anywhere.

An image highlighting the projected job growth of blockchain engineers through 2031.

Learners can approach blockchain from several perspectives, depending on their needs and interests. Here are three pathways to furthering your blockchain education.

Bootcamps

Blockchain development is one of the top 10 jobs to break into the fintech industry, and a bootcamp can serve as your launch pad. For example, Berkeley FinTech Boot Camp devotes a significant part of its curriculum to blockchain and cryptocurrency.

In addition, in the blockchain module, learners explore transactions, consensus algorithms, validation processes, mining and other vital processes. They develop experience using Solidity, a popular blockchain programming language, and smart contracts.

Your fintech education is then rounded out with modules covering financial programming (including Python) and machine learning. Upon completing the 24-week program, students demonstrate real-world fintech skills, including how to build an Ethereum blockchain. This is one of many projects that they can place in their professional portfolios to share with potential employers.

College Degrees

Colleges and universities are incorporating more blockchain courses into their computer science and business programs. These courses cover emerging blockchain technology and usage, as well as its business and societal impacts.

According to CareerOneStop, 65 percent of blockchain engineers have a college degree. Some degree programs include accounting and computer science, bioinformatics and computational science. CoinDesk recently ranked the world’s top universities for blockchain based on the courses they offer, the research they conduct and their job-placement statistics.

Independent Learning Resources

Blockchain education can benefit everyone, particularly those interested in investing in crypto assets. You can get started with a beginner’s guide to fintech and this Ted Talk by blockchain expert Bettina Warburg

Online courses and videos introduce a variety of blockchain worlds to explore as well. For example, BerkeleyX, delivered through edX, offers free courses about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, as well as a professional certificate. 

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers maintains a wide catalog of blockchain courses and Unicef has created a thorough blockchain learning hub. These resources approach blockchain through a variety of lenses and at a pace suitable for independent study. To learn more about blockchain and Bitcoin, you can also visit Bitcoin.org.

Consider starting your career as a blockchain developer or engineer at Berkeley FinTech Boot Camp.

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When to Use Blockchain

Blockchain’s potential is substantial, but it “cannot solve all data exchange and product needs,” according to a 2020 IEEE report. Companies must understand their needs and costs before employing blockchain technology. 

Sometimes a traditional database works just fine, especially for organizations that require faster transaction processing or a truly private network. In addition, blockchain’s energy usage, particularly regarding crypto assets, has raised questions regarding sustainability.

Organizations looking for increased transparency and accurate tracking of their transactions, the creation of an immutable ledger and the efficiency of that ledger being decentralized should consider blockchain. The National Archives explored the uses and implications of blockchain, particularly in records management, in a 2019 white paper. 

Six Blockchain Applications

Global spending on blockchain solutions reached $6.6 billion in 2021 and could rise to $19 billion by 2024, according to Statista. In addition, governments, businesses of all sizes and educational organizations are investing in blockchain technology. Here’s a look at some uses of blockchain across several industries.

A bar graph that highlights projected worldwide spending on blockchain solutions through 2024.

Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare

Healthcare providers are using blockchain technology to make trusted information quicker to access, enabling better sharing of information and increasing transparency. This is particularly notable in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Providers are investing resources into using blockchain for medical records which, according to the National Conference of Health Information Technology, promotes better communication between systems, which has long been a concern in healthcare. Specifically, they state that “Blockchain would allow patients, the health care community and researchers to access one shared data source to obtain timely, accurate and comprehensive patient health data.”

Blockchain is also becoming a bigger component of the drug supply chain and is considered a “practical solution” for vaccine verification systems.

Blockchain Use Cases in Banking

Blockchain will disrupt banking, according to technology analysis firm CB Insights, as its decentralized, peer-to-peer platform has changed the way people raise and transfer money. As a result, banking institutions are transitioning to blockchain technology to manage payments and loans, administer smart contracts and sell crypto assets.

Bank of America is getting into digital assets, which represents a $2 trillion market. The company also offers a global payments platform based on blockchain. JP Morgan Chase has created the blockchain-based platform Onyx, which provides access to new payment methods, a digital coin and the ability to trade other digital assets.

Banks that write letters of guarantee are using blockchain technology to automate them, eliminating the potential for fraud and creating a digitally secured document that all parties can trust.

Blockchain Use Cases in Agriculture

The Agricultural Marketing Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, envisions blockchain technology becoming essential to the food supply chain. The AMS said that digital ledger technology “will play an essential role in supply chain traceability.” They go on to say that DLT (distributed ledger technology), e.g. blockchain, provides secure, verifiable, transparent and instant tracking of items in complex supply chains.

Many companies use blockchain to trace and protect their food supply. Walmart, for instance, entered into a blockchain partnership with Dole, Kroger, Nestlé, IBM and others to improve food traceability.

Bumble Bee Foods employed blockchain to trace yellowfin tuna from ocean to consumer. Now, consumers can scan a QR code to view the origin of a tuna product they purchased which enhances consumer confidence in the product.

Similarly, Nestlé uses blockchain to track milk sources, as part of a larger goal to provide “full supply chain transparency” in its products.

Blockchain Use Cases in Retail

Retailers are applying blockchain to keep their supply chains working smoothly, assure products reach stores and maintain consumer trust. Blockchain, according to IBM, increases consumer confidence by verifying products’ authenticity and safety, ensuring products are ethically sourced and, as a result, generating more revenue opportunities.

Home Depot is applying blockchain to its shipping and receiving processes to help reduce vendor disputes. In addition, Target began using blockchain technology several years ago to track its supply chain, as well as listing job openings on what it calls the “blockchain team.” 

And LVMH, whose brands include Louis Vuitton, Parfums Christian Dior, Tag Heuer and Tiffany & Co., is part of a blockchain consortium called Aura that allows consumers to track product history and proof of authenticity. Aura is based on the Ethereum blockchain and is open to any luxury brand.

Blockchain Use Cases in the Supply Chain

Companies use blockchain not only to track goods through the supply chain, but also to trace components through processing and production. This can help prevent foodborne illnesses in the food supply, fix gaps and errors in the chain and support sustainability.

According to the Blockchain Council, Ford uses blockchain to trace its cobalt supply, while UPS and FedEx apply blockchain to package tracking. Diamond producer De Beers uses blockchain to verify that its diamond supply doesn’t contain conflict diamonds (a.k.a., blood diamonds).

Blockchain Use Cases in Media and Entertainment

Media and entertainment companies will derive significant benefits from blockchain, according to IBM. It can provide speed, transparency and scale for the delivery and consumption of content while reducing instances of fraud and copyright infringement.

In addition, blockchain can facilitate micropayments for customers who don’t want to subscribe to a news service or content provider. Consider the possibility of making a digital micropayment to read one article behind a paywall or watch one episode of a streaming-service series. Smart contracts built on blockchain could smooth the complicated process of paying creators for their content.

Companies That Use Blockchain

Forbes publishes an annual Blockchain 50 list of companies that lead in employing distributed ledger technology and have revenue or a valuation of at least $1 billion. The list includes banks, tech companies, crypto-asset exchanges, agricultural concerns and supermarket chains. However, there are many other heavy blockchain users as well, such as:

Amazon

The online shopping giant’s web services arm runs a managed blockchain that supports the Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum platforms. It’s a hosted service used by Accenture, AT&T and Guardian, among other companies.

Coinbase

More than 70 million customers use the Coinbase platform to manage crypto assets, including Bitcoin, Ethererum and many others.

Honeywell

Honeywell operates GoDirect Trade, an eCommerce marketplace for used aviation parts that relies on blockchain technology. 

MediLedger

MediLedger uses blockchain to provide healthcare and pharmaceutical companies with a unified view of their customers, products and pricing, as well as verification of medicine authenticity.

OpenSea

OpenSea bills itself as the world’s first and largest marketplace for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. These digital assets span art, music, sports and even virtual worlds, which OpenSea describes as “blockchain-fueled alternative realities.”

Samsung

Samsung offers Blockchain Keystone and Wallet apps that store and protect virtual assets, as well as a selection of decentralized apps (known as DApps) built around health, fintech, social media and more.

Financial institutions are investing heavily into their blockchain future. Consider investing in your future at the Berkeley FinTech Boot Camp, which delivers the skills you’ll need to implement blockchain technology in your company. 

Applications of Blockchain: Frequently Asked Questions

Blockchain is a type of distributed digital ledger that can store various information related to assets and transactions. Because its records are transparent, unchangeable and secure, blockchain is an emerging method for exchanging things of value. And, because blockchain records are decentralized, no single person or entity controls them; ensuring trust between all parties.

Distributed ledgers, such as blockchain, are useful for financial transactions because they are tamper-resistant, protected by cryptography and transparent to all network participants. Blockchain technology also provides operational efficiency for recording transactions, eliminating the need for redundant records, which reduces the time and costs needed to administer them. 

Here are some questions organizations should ask before implementing blockchain technology, according to the IEEE: Does the data need to be kept private? Is verification required? Is the data likely to be hacked? Who should have access to the data? How organizations answer those questions will determine whether blockchain or a traditional database fits their needs.

Blockchain is best known as the platform for crypto assets. But companies and governments worldwide employ blockchain to buy and sell assets, manage transactions, conduct payments and track goods. According to Blockdata, 81 of the world’s top 100 public companies use blockchain.

The majority of cryptocurrencies are built on blockchain technology, including the best known, Bitcoin and Ethereum. Cryptocurrencies are considered digital assets that are stored and exchanged on particular blockchains. According to PwC, crypto on blockchain “disrupts traditional business models by removing the need for trusted intermediaries.”

Apply the Blockchain Use Cases in Your Company 

Blockchain is transforming how financial services are conducted, how assets are exchanged and how companies track their products. As organizations continue investing in the technology, they’re looking to employ more blockchain experts. 

To be part of this exciting new frontier and to bring blockchain to your company, consider enrolling in Berkeley FinTech Boot Camp.

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