Technological adoption in various industries is not a new thing and nowadays no business can sustain and grow without using the latest digital technologies. From having online presence and connecting to the buyers through social media platforms and incorporating numerous cashless payment measures, businesses need to use technologies in each and every step! However, some emerging technologies are not adopted by the businesses so quickly. One such example is blockchain. The absence of regulation and lack of clear perception on this tech has hindered its widespread adoption in various sectors, so far. However, in the last few years several MNCs and big brands have been warming up to it. Interestingly, a number of startups are also experimenting with blockchain tech.
How using blockchain tech can benefit the SMBs and startups
Using blockchain technology can bring multiple benefits to the small and midsized businesses.
- Blockchain technology aids the startups in experimenting with relatively less explored business ideas and models. Decentralization is its USP and that helps the SMBs to address consumer needs better.
- Any business owner is concerned about integrity of data, nowadays. In blockchain, data once created cannot be tampered artificially. This can be absolutely beneficial for the SMBs or any business- for that matter.
- By deploying blockchain tech, many SMBs are able to address operational efficiency related issues. Managing aspects like CRM, communication, accounting becomes simpler when blockchain technology is deployed in the workflow. They can handle these operations without investing heavily in manpower and resources.
- Blockchain technology-when properly used ensures security and it operates in a transparent way. These two aspects are vital for the SMBs to survive. Data access and handling become safer and smoother.
How the startups are utilizing blockchain technology in various sectors
In the recent years, blockchain adoption among the startups has grown considerably. As a matter of fact, SMBs belonging to diverse sectors are embracing blockchain technology in various ways. These include companies hailing from sectors like retail, healthcare, cloud services, energy management, and many more. Listed below are some such prominent examples of startups using blockchain:
- Retail sector-As of now, the online retail sector is dominated by giants like ebay and Amazon. They need not use blockchain to instill faith in the customers. However, the newbie retail companies can adopt blockchain to keep things transparent and convenient for the buyers. One notable example is OpenBazaar that lets people connect to each other and facilitates free trading of goods. As it is c2c in nature, no commission or fee is involved. The trading is typically decentralized and there is no censorship. This is how they offer the end users absolute autonomy.
- Online advertising- Booking online advertising is seldom simple! It can prove to be really chaotic at times. The users are annoyed with unwanted ads that gobble up mobile data. Some SMBs are taking initiatives in this regard. One example is Brave Software- based in San Francisco. Their ad free browser speeds up browsing experience to a large extent. The browser targets ads better and so people paying for them get clearer ideas on ad performance.
- Ride sharing-Ride sharing sector is witnessing massive growth globally and players like Uber and Ola have become household names. While these MNC ride sharing services offer multiple choices to the consumers- the cab drivers have to cope with several limitations including staying limited to a centralized app. The startups in this sector are using blockchain to offer the drivers more liberty and choices.
Arcade City is one such startup offering peer-to-peer services for many things including ride sharing services. The drivers of course need to use the app to connect with potential users but they enjoy a lot of flexibilities. From rates to range of services, they enjoy better flexibility. They can also develop a network of customers.
- Healthcare –Gradually, the healthcare sector is warming up to blockchain technology and the medical startups are getting onto the bandwagon. In this sector, a massive amount of data is generated and stored and this includes patient record, medical history, diagnosis and medical reports etc. Sharing of such information however remains restricted owing to legacy medical laws and privacy clauses used by healthcare entities. It is being used in this sector to facilitate free flow of information. This makes things easier and better for both the doctors and patients in the long run.
One example is Gem, a cryptocurrency platform that has joined hands with Philips to develop customized treatment plan for patients.
- Cloud storage and services- In the last decade, the popularity and usage of cloud storage and services has gone up significantly. From cloud based antivirus software to storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive –the examples of such cloud based apps and services are aplenty. While cloud storage is convenient- it is not exactly fail proof. The companies store data in a few centralized servers which can fail or be hacked.
Startups like Protocol Labs are finding ways to overcome this limitation of cloud storage through blockchain tech. They have a project called Filecoin that decentralizes storing process using blockchain tech. This makes the cloud storage almost hacking proof.
- Energy Management- In most countries, energy production and distribution is handled by a handful of govt owned entities though private energy companies are no longer uncommon. It is a monopolized sector-more or less. However, a handful of startups are causing disruption in this sector too. One such instance is a Brooklyn based venture named LO3 Energy –which is made up of some private investors and companies including Siemens. It vouches for the potential of using Ethereum-based blockchain technology. The end users may use cryptocurrencies to generate, trade and buy power while not quitting the existing legacy grid. It functions locally now but the potential has been observed by the experts.
- Real estate- Even though it is a thriving and billion dollar industry, the real estate sector suffers from legacy issues and a few inherent drawbacks. While the realtors operate online and they have adopted technology a lot, some loopholes remains. The massive amount of paperwork required for buying and selling properties is something that paves way for errors. This also leads to delays. Instances of frauds in this sector are also quite common. This is where using Blockchain can help and the risks of errors and frauds will come down substantially.
A Delaware based startup named Ubitquity has come up with a tailor made platform for realtors and their customers.
- Entertainment and music industry- It is not without reasons that a number of rappers, singers and celebs are endorsing crypto currencies these days! The inherent problem affecting the music and entertainment sector is the artists and performers do not always get their share of profits from sales and shows etc. Blockchain technology can come to the rescue and it can be deployed to craft smart contracts. These can be used to track revenue based on buying.
Startups have started utilizing this concept already, JAAK, a London based startup has come up with a platform and OS aimed at creative content. They let the content creators convert their content into smart content. This in turn can be traded using Ethereum. This helps deploy automatization to the music and entertainment sector in an unprecedented manner.
- Charitable sector-Donating to NGOs and groups dealing with charitable causes seems a nice idea. You may have felt the urge to help the poor, street kids, animals in distress etc. However, a section of the charitable organizations are accused of frauds and funds related malpractices. When such news hit the headlines, people become skeptical of all such organizations. Blockchain technology can be used to restore faith in the charitable entities. Every aspect of crypto transactions is transparent and there is no room for hiding or altering facts. So, the fraud risks will go down.
Bitcoin has a charity foundation named BitGive and it operates from California’s Sacramento. The real-time financial transparency has helped this entity earn the trust of millions.
Summing it up
These are just some of the sectors that are embracing blockchain deployment and startups are showing ways to the big players! Blockchain and crypto technology usage can be beneficial in many other sectors that involve large amounts of paperwork, data exchange between various departments and dependence on the already established players. It will not be very long before the stratups in more industries start using blockchain in a big way.