In the last year, there has been a dramatic shift in the way people talk about blockchain. Before, it was all about the opportunities for disruption and the transformation that distributed ledgers would make possible. Everyone had ideas about how to use the technology, but it had only been applied in one significant way: Bitcoin. That is no longer the case, and this fact was palpable at Consensus 2017, the third annual blockchain technology summit that was held in New York City earlier this week. Blockchain networks are already being put into production in diverse industries around the world.
Early blockchain innovation is international
Blockchain innovation is currently international and big in key industries like financial services, energy, supply chain and identity. Several early adopters have developed business networks based on blockchain, and many more are on schedule to implement a commercial solution by the end of the year.
Blockchain and financial services
Announced just last week, Chile’s Santiago Exchange and IBM are partnering to introduce blockchain technology across the country’s financial sector. The solution, which is designed to help reduce the possibility of fraudulent transactions and errors as well as processing times, will be the first time IBM Blockchain technology is applied to securities lending in a Latin American stock market. The system is expected to be able to support multiple parties later this year.
Financial institutions were some of the first to explore ways to disrupt their industry with blockchain, so this is just the latest in a long line of developments. Discover other financial services use cases here.
Blockchain and energy
Earlier this month, TenneT, sonnen, Vandebron and IBM announced a collaboration to develop a blockchain-based distributed database for managing the electricity grid in the Netherlands and Germany. The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, an open source blockchain framework maintained by The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger, will be used to create a permissioned blockchain network that facilitates integration of electric vehicles and household renewable energy with local utility grids.
In China, Energy-Blockchain Labs and IBM have been working on the world’s first management platform for carbon asset trading, which is the process by which major emitters purchase additional emission allowances from those with lower emissions. This orchestrated effort involves multiple parties, and takes at least 10 to 14 months. However, by using blockchain to synchronize the information of all participants in the network, it’s estimated that enterprises can reduce processing time to just three to six months. The platform, which is built on Hyperledger Fabric, is intended to be made commercially available later this year.
Also in China, Walmart, Tsinghua University and IBM are putting pork on blockchain in a pilot program. More specifically, they’re collaborating to improve the way food is tracked throughout the supply chain, including how it is transported and sold to consumers. Enhanced record-keeping can help alleviate issues related to food contamination as well as increase consumer confidence. The plan is to eventually track other food products using blockchain. To learn more about blockchain and food safety, read this blog post.
Of course, along with increased globalization, tracking products across country borders has become more difficult and complicated. And ninety percent of those products are transported by the ocean shipping industry. Thus, Maersk and IBM are collaborating on a blockchain solution to help manage the paper trail of shipping containers around the world. Watch this video to see how it works.
Blockchain and identity
Traditional ways of managing identity are costly, disjointed and difficult to maintain in a digital world. That’s why SecureKey Technologies is working with IBM to enable a new digital identity and attribute sharing network using IBM Blockchain service and built on Hyperledger Fabric. The network will make it easier for consumers to verify and manage their identity as well as share it with designated organizations. Check out these blog posts to learn more.
Companies using blockchain to reimagine their industries are going big and they’re doing it in international spaces. That much was certainly clear at Consensus this year. If you missed the event or want to review a session, check out the live video replays:
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