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WHEN BUSINESSES LATCH onto a buzzword, it quickly becomes the solution to everything. Not long ago, in the era of “big data,” companies scrambled to add chief data scientists to their ranks. Before that, vendors of all manner touted their innovative social, local, mobile solutions (or SoLoMo, in industry parlance). Lately, corporations have been talking nonstop—on conference panels, in TED Talks, in pitchdecks—about artificial intelligence.

But in this moment, few business trends can compete with the magic of blockchain technology. Blockchains, which use advanced cryptography to store information across networks of computers, could eliminate the need for trusted third parties, like banks, in transactions, legal agreements, and other contracts. The most ardent blockchain-heads believe it has the power to reshape the global financial system, and possibly even the internet as we know it.

Now, as the technology expands from a fringe hacker toy to legitimate business applications, opportunists have flooded the field. Some of the seekers are mercenaries pitching shady or fraudulent tokens, others are businesses looking to cash in on a hot trend, and still others are true believers in the revolutionary and disruptive powers of distributed networks.

Mentions of blockchains and digital currencies on corporate earnings calls doubled in 2017 over the year prior, according to Fortune. Last week at Consensus, the country’s largest blockchain conference, 100 sponsors, including top corporate consulting firms and law firms, hawked their wares.

Now, seemingly every problem in the world can be solved by applying the blockchain. Poverty! Censorship! Endangered species! The rush of new entrants has spawned skepticism even among crypto enthusiasts. On stage at Consensus, Blockchain Capital partner Jimmy Song made waves declaring that “blockchain is not this magical thing where you sprinkle blockchain dust over a problem.”

Nonetheless, entrepreneurs—and promoters—are sprinkling it widely. Here is a noncomprehensive list of the ways blockchain promoters say they will change the world. They run the spectrum from industry-specific (a blockchain project designed to increase blockchain adoption) to global ambitions (fixing the global supply chain’s apparent $9 trillion cash flow issue). We’ve tried to stick as closely to their pitch language as possible and have linked to some projects, but are not endorsing any.

Things Blockchain Technology Will Fix
Bots with nefarious intent


People not taking their medicine

Device storage that could be used for bitcoin mining

Insurance bureaucracy

Electronic health record accessibility

Health record storage security

Health record portability

Marine insurance risk


Earning money on personal data


The burden of car ownership

Inability to buy anything with cryptocurrency

Better marketplaces for nautical shipping services

Better ways to advertise to your friends

Better ways to trade forex with your friends

Ownership shares in ancient sunken treasures


Complying with Know Your Customer laws

Complying with Anti-Money-Laundering laws

Complying with securities laws in token sales


A use for QR codes

Rewards for buying alcohol by subscription

Tracing water supplies

Dearth of emergency responders

High cost of medical information

Improved digital identity authentication

Managing real estate workflow

International real estate purchases

Physical branches for crypto banking

Physical branches for crypto exchanges

Private equity

Venture capital

AIDS, also online sales of classic Japanese domestic cars

Efficiency and transparency at nonprofits

Incorporating local preferences in decentralized banking options

Boosting sales for local businesses

A digital-only investment bank

Containers to transport sensitive pharmaceuticals and food

Protecting consumer information on mobile

Helping mobile phone users monetize their data

Not enough interconnection in the world

Complexity and risk in the crypto market

Expensive AI research

Counterfeit goods

Connecting “innovation players” and “knowledge holders”

Movie industry’s slow and opaque accounting practices

Global supply chain’s $9 trillion cash flow issue

Trust in the global supply chain

Economic crisis

Cash flow problems at small and medium-sized businesses

Improving the use of data in the transportation and logistics industries

Poverty among African farmers

Transparency in the food supply chain

Ad fraud

Fake news

False news

Settling payments faster

Speeding transactions

The unbanked

The underbanked

The bidding process in art and collectibles markets

Assessing the value of collectibles

Diamond industry’s high banking and forex fees

The illicit diamond trade

Availability of digital games

Currency for eSports

Currency for eSports betting

Currency for sports betting

Storing scholarly articles

Health insurance providers billing processes

Currency for healthcare providers

Shortage of workers with advanced tech skills

Lack of diversity in tech

Elder care

Rights management for photographers

Content rights management

Simplifying the logo copyrighting process

Ticketing industry’s “prevalent issues”

Crowdsourcing for legal dispute resolution

Securing financial contracts



Control of personal data

Control of personal credit data

No way to spend crypto

Advertising for extended reality environments

Human suffering

Security for luxury watches

Authenticity in cannabis sales

Crypto rewards for cannabis-focused social media site

Crypto payments for rating cryptoassets

Crypto payments for taking surveys, watching videos and clicking links

Crypto rewards for video game skills

Crypto rewards for time spent playing video games

Buying, selling and trading your social media friends

Crypto rewards for social media sharing

Free mobile data for watching ads

Crypto rewards for watching entertainment content

Gold-backed cryptocurrency

Crypto-backed gold

Metals-backed cryptocurrency

Precious metals-based cryptocurrency

“Tokenizing” real world items

Nashville apartment buildings

Monaco real estate

Financial infrastructure for trading within video games

Checking ID for purchases like alcohol

“Uber for alcohol” on blockchain

Inefficiencies in cargo delivery

Branded tokens for merchants to reward customers

Fraud and corruption among non-profits

Better transparency at non-profits

Better transparency around impact investing

Bitcoin mining uses too much energy

Home appliances mining for bitcoin while not in use

Bitcoin mining using hydropower

Large corporations’ carbon footprints

“Decarbonizing” electricity grids

Climate change

Trust in governments

Trust in corporations

Trust in social networks

Trust in media

Universal billing system for travel industry

Decentralized Uber and Lyft

Online gambling not fair

Online gambling sites take commission

Helping retailers hurt by Amazon

Online retail fraud

Paying for things with your face

Streamlining interactions among shoppers, retailers and brands

Linking content across computers, tablets and phones

Ranking apps by their value

Aligning creativity and recognition for content creators

Improving payments for artists on Spotify and Pandora

Online piracy

Improving the technology of the Russian gas industry

A blockchain equivalent of Amazon, Groupon and Craigslist

Too many non-value-added costs

Unregulated prison economies

Standardizing the value of advertisements

Advertising not transparent enough

Old real estate practices

Free public information from silos

Speeding the rendering of animated movies

Selling items for crypto instead of regular money


Man-in-the-middle hacks

Security sacrifices that come with innovation

Scams, fraud and counterfeits

Tools to build decentralized apps

Blockchain infrastructure

Removing barriers separating blockchains

Safety in buying and selling blockchain tokens

Improving privacy in online file storage

ICO projects could benefit from the “wisdom of the crowd”

Improving privacy of blockchain

Decentralized database for decentralized technologies

Improving trust and confidence in blockchain system

More cohesive user experiences across blockchain and the cloud

Democratizing gold trading

Giving investors more control of their assets

Simplifying the cryptocurrency transaction process

Trading indexes as tokens

Improving crypto safekeeping solutions

Simplifying ICO investment, trading and cryptocurrency

Improving institutional-grade crypto asset management

“Painstakingly slow” manual crypto wallet process

More open global markets

Easier way to invest in real estate

Easier way to invest in Swiss real estate

Easier way to combine smart contracts with crowdfunded home loans

Easier way to borrow against crypto holdings

Faster porn industry payment options

Lower porn industry payment fees

Identifying and verifying users in online dating

Improving traditional banking services for crypto world

Cryptocurrency based on Game Theory, IBM’s Watson, and other theories

Better social network + blockchain + AI + human touch

Improving content streaming on the blockchain

Supply chain transparency

Increasing public sector trust of cryptocurrencies

Education around blockchain technology

Blockchain not mainstream enough

Source: Wired

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