Blockchain technology offers advantages such as transparency, data privacy, decentralization, and cost savings. The question is not whether they translate to real-world use cases but how.
The world’s largest corporations have recognized blockchain technology’s inherent benefits. Walmart and IMB partnered to improve food safety, digitize the supply chain process, and enhance transparency. JPMorgan developed the enterprise-grade version of the Ethereum Mainnet, Quorum, to facilitate private transaction smart contracts.
Gucci launched digital collectibles for its AR sneakers to help stop the influx of counterfeits in the market.
Among the surprising blockchain use cases are decentralized EV charging, blockchain weddings, blockchain voting, and preventing medical data theft.
Surprising blockchain use 1: Decentralizing electric vehicle charging
The peaq blockchain for real-world applications expanded its ecosystem by joining PowerPod to decentralize electric vehicle (EV) charging. PowerPod is building a decentralized physical infrastructure network (DePIN) of community-owned EV charging stations. As part of the surprising blockchain use integration, the project will use peaq to store charging session data, handle transactions, and reward the users with tokens for powering a more sustainable future of mobility.
Seen as an eco-friendlier version, EVs are growing more popular by the day. Deterring this growth is the lack of available infrastructure, especially chargers, with about one-third of prospective EV buyers citing such concerns as the reason they didn’t go ahead with the purchase. The hundreds of thousands of private chargers set up by EV owners could be a massive boon to the industry, closing a vital gap while empowering individuals to earn from their energy assets.
PowerPod is building a surprising blockchain use platform that will enable people to do just that —- open up their EV chargers for fellow drivers to use and earn rewards for providing the charging service. Besides its app, which will enable these interactions, PowerPod is also working on a range of hardware devices, including a smart charger adapter, a charger, and a travel adapter that will enable EV owners to charge their vehicles from regular sockets. These devices will make up a DePIN handling charging session data and enabling drivers to pay for the energy.
As part of its surprising blockchain use integration with peaq, PowerPod will outfit these devices with their multi-chain self-sovereign peaq IDs, enabling them to connect with the blockchain. It will also leverage peaq for data storage and eventually launch its token on the peaq mainnet, set to go live in the coming months. It will also use peaq to set up its rewards mechanism, granting users tokens for interacting with the DePIN.
Surprising blockchain use 2: Mobile voting platforms
In 2018, West Virginia deployed the Voatz mobile voting platform for its elections. It saved the state a lot of money from printing physical ballots and also saved voters quite a bit of time. Most crucially, the blockchain ballot box made sure the election process was fully confident. This surprising blockchain use enabled people to vote and complete ID verification via any device. Neither identity theft nor data breach was a concern.
Surprising blockchain use 3: Blockchain weddings
In yet another surprising blockchain use, the blockchain platform Marriage Unblocked let people use the blockchain to propose, exchange vows, and tie the knot. It became the go-to option for same-sex couples who weren’t allowed to get married in their native countries. Superblocks’ operational team enabled the initiative, which Björn Borg introduced.
In 2023, the platform Web3Wed.io came up with an innovative approach to formalize cohabitation. This solution targeted people who wanted to be partners but weren’t ready to get married. They could formalize their relationship without any legal obligations. The platform enters a smart contract on the blockchain and updates it if the couple splits.
Surprising blockchain use 4: Sharing energy from solar panels
Using a blockchain platform to manage energy use, production, and distribution has become a fact. In this surprising blockchain use case, LO3 Energy partnered with Siemens to enable solar panel owners in Brooklyn to share their energy with neighbors using an app. The platform lets them send power via blockchain-based contracts, thus skirting fees as well as go-betweens. This technology revolutionized renewable energy consumption and production with IoT devices.
5. XRP Healthcare merges healthcare institutions in Africa
XRP Healthcare’s African subsidiary announced a surprising blockchain use initiative to acquire and merge privately owned healthcare institutions. XRP Healthcare, founded by father and son Laban and Kain Roomes, is the first healthcare and pharmaceuticals platform running on the XRP Ledger. It facilitates investments for privately owned hospitals, care homes, clinics, and pharmacies in Africa, potentially improving access to medical and health care.
6. Preventing medical data theft
Over 130 million health records were stolen in the US in 2023. Inadequate cybersecurity measures and outdated systems made this possible. In this surprising blockchain use, Verida and Partisia Blockchain introduced a cutting-edge privacy tech stack to respond to the growing crisis of patient data security. It combines Partisia Blockchain’s privacy-preserving, highly secure blockchain and Verida’s decentralized network for storing, processing, and sharing valuable data.
The tech stack aims to enable providers to make better data-based decisions, improve coordination among a patient’s caregivers, and empower patients in general.
7. Improving supply chain transparency
The Provenance project was created to provide a blockchain-based attribution record of transparency within supply chains. Reliance Industries, the biggest industrial conglomerate in India, is working on a blockchain supply chain platform. SKUChain is a blockchain system that lets users trace and track goods as they pass through a supply chain.
Blockverify focuses on blockchain-based anti-counterfeit measures. The platform has been deployed successfully in the luxury goods and pharmaceuticals markets.
Promising blockchain applications
Apart from the surprising blockchain use cases described above, the blockchain shows further promise in shipping, retail, ecommerce, manufacturing, ride-sharing, etc. Here are a few viable future applications.
Delivering exact location details for logistics providers
There are over half a million logistics providers in the US alone, causing all kinds of issues with supply chain and logistics management. Blockchain indicates a single verifiable source to enable data transparency, enhancing the sector’s trust. In this surprising blockchain use case, applications can automate the logistics process, offering the potential of billions of dollars in savings every year.
Most logistics providers only offer main location details, such as city hubs, collection centers, and sorting facilities. They don’t provide the exact live location, with all data being lost when the system fails. The blockchain can collect location data from multiple interlinked systems and deliver exact location details to clients. This can have other surprising blockchain use cases, such as air carriers finding lost luggage and car rental companies tracking rented vehicles.
Ensuring product authenticity
The immutable blockchain prevents manufacturers from substituting orders with a cheaper product and retailers from trying to sell a more expensive one. It also stops clients from returning a fake or damaged product and asking for a replacement.
Every brand product out there has fakes, and sometimes, not even experts can tell the real apart from the counterfeit. Manufacturers can embed a 2D barcode on their products that’s connected to a blockchain system. The buyer can scan the barcode on their smartphone to verify its authenticity.
Blockchain-based ride-sharing will connect customers and drivers directly. Currently, a single entity controls most systems. If a smart contract directly connected the rider and the driver, it would cut out middlemen like Uber. This surprising blockchain use also alleviates privacy concerns stemming from Uber’s centralized personal data storage.
Alleviating real estate transactions
Metaverse real estate may have died down, but one can’t say the same for property-based security tokens, which allow proportional ownership of a building or a plot of land. In this surprising blockchain use case, the blockchain anonymizes data, making investment evaluations safer and more efficient. This use saves money from independent real estate valuations, as all involved parties can access the data on the blockchain. It also ensures a traceable, transparent property history.
Property blockchain apps reduce human error and the need for paper-based communication. They eliminate intermediaries, which benefits borrowers and lenders that can offer more competitively priced loans.