Blockchain — part 3: real world

From smart contracts to sharing economy apps, here are a few real-world examples of Blockchain technology in use.

Get ready, people. Blockchains aren’t just about Bitcoin. They are here and they are changing everything. We have now taken a look at what blockchains do (Technophilia, September) and how they work (Technophilia, October). This month we’ll look at emerging real-world examples of blockchains in use.

BLOCKCHAIN NATIONS

The government of Estonia has used blockchain technology to launch an e-residency program for anyone, anywhere in the world. Once approved, virtual residents receive a digital ID with a cryptographic key that allows them to open a business, digitally sign documents and declare and pay taxes online under Estonian regulations. No physical presence in the country is required but you can base your digital work/financial life there. This means a non-EU-based entrepreneur can establish a company in an EU country while running it from anywhere in the world. It also means that Estonian-domiciled service providers can offer their services to an expanded population that includes domestic and e-residents, raising government revenue in the process.

Thousands of kilometres away in West Africa, the government of Ghana is using blockchain technology to register land ownership. The move will shut down corrupt officials and local chiefs who regularly change land registry records, causing civil unrest and harming a struggling economy. Ghana is hoping to attract more open foreign investors who can now rely upon the immutable integrity of the blockchain.

Globally, Bitnation Governance 2.0 has introduced the Blockchain Emergency ID to help resolve the current refugee crisis. The governance platform registers undocumented individuals on the blockchain. Bitnation’s site states that “for individuals who cannot obtain other documents of identification, the Blockchain Emergency ID cryptographically proves their existence and their family relations.” This ID also provides refugees with a Bitnation Bitcoin Visa Debit Card, which allows them to receive social assistance, financial services and monies from family, all without having to first establish residency and a local bank account.

SMART CONTRACTS

Since the first contract was made, individuals have required a third party to monitor terms and verify fulfilment prior to payment. Given an agreed-on value outcome and rules for payment, these terms can easily be put on an immutable blockchain to create what is known as a smart contract. On a certain date, the system automatically checks an agreed-upon authority and then pays the correct party. These same principles could apply to loans, purchase orders, wills or even the use of an autonomous driving vehicle.

Look out, iTunes and Spotify. Grammy-award-winning singer Imogen Heap is using blockchain technology to create a fair-trade music ecosystem she’s calling Mycelia. When you buy a song the money goes directly to the singers, producers, writers and engineers. The blockchain records not only who wrote the song and who listened to it, it also tracks where it was played and when. Blockchain provides a new platform for playwrights, film studios, artists, publishers, editors, journalists, photographers and other creators of intellectual property so that they can receive the value they are due.

About the Author

Dwayne Bragonier


Dwayne Bragonier, CPA, CA, CA•IT, is president of BAI Bragonier & Associates Inc. and the founding architect of the BAIWay. He can be reached at dwayne.bragonier@bragonier.com

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