Blockchain hasn’t been with us that long. True ease of obtaining a piece of this pie and the standard introduction to the product and service of blockchain have only recently become common. But blockchain has already brought a tremendous change in multiple industries. There are at least three nonobvious industries blockchain is likely to affect.
Trust in the blockchain is increasing through a diverse set of businesses and organizations.
Gratefully the technology and implementation of blockchain are finding more significant areas for growth and gaining traction. Cyber-security will always need help from now until the end of time. But, blockchain solutions development is becoming multidirectional and is undoubtedly on its way to revolutionizing all business sectors, yet, there are several less apparent industries for blockchain to disrupt.
Three industries have already started moving to transparency and increased efficiency with the blockchain’s help.
1. Wills and Inheritance
Crypto-wills are being created and documented on Blockchain. These wills represent an alternative to both the traditionally written will and the electronic will. A will created and kept on Blockchain represents greater efficiency and a much higher level of safety.
There are two sides to a blockchain will.
- On the one hand, a will crafted on blockchain is public, and it’s impossible to misplace or lose the document.
- It would also be impossible for someone to change the will — against your – will – (so to speak).
The other side of that issue is that the will is also private — in that it can be accessed only by the parties that have a crypto-address.
The legal industry has been slow in adopting the blockchain technology.
The blockchain, out of necessity, takes money out of the pockets of the legal system. But skipping the expense and control of the legal system can also make something harder to get to the general public. When there is not even the capability to have a changeable, (bribeable?), document source, there will be significantly lower legal costs. Cutting the middleman out of any process will save money, and it’s no different in the legal system nor the business sector.
Conflict among heirs will be less because out of necessity, there will be no, “grandfather told me this.” Grandfather’s words will be right there in the will — in blockchain — where the words are indisputable and unchangeable. The result is that crypto-wills are bound to bring more effectiveness to the process of inheritance control.
Distributed and decentralized software stands behind the end-to-end process of crypto-will administration. Automatic execution is yet another benefit of blockchain-driven wills, that runs parallel to the reduced legal costs.
The blockchain angle is an idyllic picture — and not reality, yet. The significant questions the legal industry has regarding smart contracts and blockchain — are “how to interpret” such wills in legal terms (of course), and how to enforce the agreement. Some countries already consider electronic wills legal; however, in many cases, the contract is still insufficient as a single reliable record of a decedent’s last wishes.
Current laws on a will say that they must be in writing, have witnesses, signatures, and other attributes.
When I did my will, the lawyer had me bring in a list of specific “stuff” and then just asked a bunch of questions and checked boxes. His secretary then typed it up, and I was supposed to go back into his office to sign the doc. Didn’t have time to get down there to sign — so he sent a DocuSign. Surely if that is legal — then why not a blockchain? Could the legal-eez-speak merely be mudding the waters? Inheritance tax will be another issue to resolve — and can be addressed through the blockchain.
Despite the challenges and industry complexity, some projects are moving ahead to try to match wills and blockchain. One such example is the Heir platform. Heir uses “proof of life” wearable technology and enables the distribution of assets in a provable event-of-death. Heirs inheritance and estate planning solutions sound great.
However, judging by their scarce online presence during this last year, its popularization will take time. Still, having companies making these types of projects a priority — and launching — is exciting and bodes well for the blockchain industry and all of us rooting for its success.
2. The Cannabis Industry
The cannabis industry has been here for ages; yet, its mass legalization in the U.S. is something new. Rarely is there a state election without the issues of cannabis being mentioned. Marijuana for recreational purposes is legal in eleven states, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the District of Columbia. Thirty-four states either allow medical marijuana use for treatments or are in the process of its legalization.
In this respect, there is no surprise that the cannabis industry will soon turn to the blockchain in need to scale and optimize.
Tracking down the product’s origin and legality has always been a task with strings attached. The complexity of the cannabis supply chain has always presented an issue, as well. The number of manufacturers is uncountable, and their products require testing to be trusted. Gaining the FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) approval is another problem. To be safe and maintain quality controls, these type of products likely need to be overseen by the government.
In respect to maintaining safe and quality controlled issues, the supply chain platforms based on the blockchain provide transparency for everyone. Transparency can be provided for the sellers, legal jurisdiction, and customers. Blockchain can solve the problems of trust. It’s worth considering that this issue should be applied for all ingested items.
While marijuana has become legal at the state level at large, but, at the federal level — it has not. Hence, blockchain technology can serve as a means for government agencies, especially law enforcement agencies, to have direct access to all cannabis data. The direct access of all agencies and persons to the data would not only make the product safer, but the taxation processes would also be simplified.
MassRoots is a project where a cannabis-related industry implemented blockchain-based solutions to understand how the latter could benefit from blockchain. Launched in 2017, MassRoots Blockchain Technologies is a technology platform customized for the U.S. medical cannabis community. They have helped the industry with an offer providing seed-to-sale tracking software, smart contracts, corporate governance, intermediaries elimination, and identity management.
The platform also helps users share information and experience of usage, providing valuable knowledge to all concerned. Perhaps this is not the most successful example judging by the company’s recent adverse market reports. However, this is the direction that a tech company with seriously disruptive notions could make a difference.
The success, if not the talk it has engendered, has shown more investors the potential about the combination of blockchain and cannabis, especially after the Canadian Shoppers Drug Mart decided that there was one. Canadian Shoppers Drug Mart was able to sign a medical pot license from Health Canada last year.
Crypto-philanthropy represents yet another blockchain technology solutions possibility. The decentralized nature of the blockchain brings unique transparency and allows for more efficient donation tracking and management. Charitable organizations can both facilitate contributions and gain credibility and trust. The donor can track individual donations — and they can know where their funds have gone.
Undoubtedly, the industry has had its problems. The foremost challenge has been to address the fraudulent issues surrounding poor donation handling. Also, for the charity to be based on the blockchain and work effectively, a non-profit organization ought to have the resources to implement the new technology.
The additional complications stem from the unwillingness of some governments to accept the blockchain technology in the first place. The government will have to have their own trusted individuals learn about and use blockchain to understand the beneficial properties. But, a lack of understanding of the benefits of usage often stops blockchain-powered charities from providing help where its services are needed most.
There are non-profit charity organizations that try to make a change in processes by using blockchain. Alice Funding Platform is one of them. This social funding platform uses a specific approach to funding where financing correlates with the results achieved. What sets the Alice platform apart is the funding is divided into small parts. Alice issues all accepted donations to the charity only when each small step is accomplished.
The platform uses blockchain smart contracts to “freeze” funds. If a charitable organization fails to do as promised — and keep their commitments, the donator can get the money back. Hence, full publicity, transparency, and accountability are achieved.
St. Mungo’s Homeless Charity ran the first project launched on the platform. Its goal was to help 15 people living on the streets to change their lives. Alice has several other projects on their website apart from St. Mungo’s pilot. The Alice platform has started listing a, “Coming Soon” state of charities as they come to the platform and begin the steps of getting clearance to move ahead.
Changes are in the wind for the industries blockchain is likely to affect.
The Alice Funding Platform has a goal to encourage transparent donations by implementing blockchain. Using blockchain is a brave move, and this example is worth mentioning.
David Tolioupov, CEO of Zensoft, said, “It is obvious that changes are on the way. Blockchain is likely to develop faster than any other software development industry soon. It is not omnipresent. Neither is it the answer to all the problems faced by industries. Yet, the distributed ledger technology holds great potential for many areas because of the traceability and transparency it brings.”
As we can see, such unexpected domains as inheritance, charity and cannabis manufacturing can benefit from blockchain, too.