Blockchain evolution over the past few years has been steady and solid, relying on a general consensus that it is bound to evolve further. With transparency, reliability and security of data at the core of its offer, governments and companies alike are already exploring and utilizing the technology for the benefit of the masses. Liechtenstein is only the last of multiple administrations that have officially embraced blockchain within their organisational systems. The little principality went even further than other governments by adopting “The Law on Tokens and TT Service Providers” -where TT stands for Trustworthy Technology- allowing businesses rights and assets to become tokenized. 

In addition to this, with companies like Walmart, IBM and Amazon recently entering the blockchain scene, development of the technology is increasingly encouraged by big market players. It’s becoming clear they are granting large investments in what is believed to be the most disruptive of recent technologies, and whose application will place them in the forefront of future innovations. By many considered as the Web 3.0 (with 1.0 and 2.0 requiring centralised servers) blockchain technology advocates a decentralized, transparent, and more democratic version of the Internet. It finds applications in fields as varied as the energy sector, healthcare, shipping and insurance, to name a few, due to the high level of security it offers while storing critical information. 

Hybrid or federated blockchains will shape the future of insurance and financial systems while Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) stands out as the most promising use of the technology and one that can benefit people and organisations of all sectors. Blockchain allows users to seamlessly create networks for applications, smart contracts, and for other storage purposes. Instead of creating their own basic blockchain infrastructure, major enterprises and tech giants have shown a tendency to hire developers to build applications on existing blockchain platforms to avoid the hassle and the costs of creating their own ecosystem.

Application of blockchain in different industries has sparked debate about whether the technology is really needed and if it contributes to cost cutting and more efficiencies or it’s only an unnecessary hype. Following, are the fields we believe will get actual benefits from its adoption and where, powered by the University of Nicosia, can assist.

We discussed in a previous blog how important blockchain is in the Public Sector, focusing on key organisations requiring trust-less transactions and securing record keeping. With Dubai and Estonia setting themselves up to become the world’s first blockchain-powered states, the future of public administration is therefore becoming more transparent and increasingly connected to the disrupting technology.

In Educational Institutions MIT and the University of Nicosia are leaders in blockchain-based credentialing, having developed an open standard for verifiable digital records. Future real innovation is expected to emerge with blockchain-based badges currently explored by the Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque in an attempt to prepare badge earners to easily enter employment opportunities. 

In 2011 Mozilla was the first to aspire in creating an open digital framework that was transparent and that could be shared through social networks across the web. Currently a Badgechain project is underway for user direct access, retrieval and verification. The project draws on both the MIT Blockcerts technology and Smart contract functionality of Ethereum and appears as a necessary step because without independent verification, the badges carry no worth. This is because when badges are not supported by networks of trust (that a sustainable credentialing system requires), both learners and employers lack confidence in them if decisions are based on the badge merit.

In Shipping — and shipping insurance — what the industry needs is something to facilitate the collection and exchange of information in a global ecosystem. Currently, cargo theft is a major concern for the Shipping and Logistics industry. In 2017 alone, the industry lost over $39 Million due to cargo thefts and incidents. It is estimated that $1B to $2B could easily be claimed in insurance in case of a large container ship accident. In the meantime, last year, $50M to $100M were claimed for fires occurred in two large warehouses. Technology has helped the industry with digital navigation tools and sensors to help avoid incidents but it’s not immune to faults and increasing cyber security risks that pose a big threat to the security and reliability of data. Companies and maritime associations are working together to provide a more secure environment and the adoption of blockchain technology appears to be their best available option overall.

EY has been working with Guardtime, Microsoft and Acord, along with other key industry participants like Maersk and AXA XL to produce the world’s first maritime blockchain backed insurance platform, Insurwave. Time will tell how the supportive association mechanisms such as the P&I will react to this initiative. Research also shows that shipping companies use more than 40 different certificates to verify information in their daily operations and as a result maritime fraud is becoming more common. The burdensome and intricate network of organisations and legacy systems can facilitate fraudulent transactions due to their centralized paper based document exchange process. tackles these issues by challenging long-standing bureaucratic procedures, providing automation of processes and an immutable verification of digital files that are issued.

Insurance is another field we are focused on helping. Albeit insurance policy certificate issuance, claim certificates, cover notes, recognizes the need for authenticating such important documentsIt is believed that the market for Blockchain in insurance will increase from $65M in 2018 to $1.4B by 2023 and as a result, demand for Blockchain development services in the insurance industry is increasing. Multinational companies like Accenture have already started to invest in the field. With goals to boost efficiency and productivity within the insurance industry, it is building blockchain solutions for its clients by translating key industry processes into blockchain-ready procedures that embed trust into the system.

In 2017, global blockchain technology in the Healthcare market was valued at just over $35M and at its current growth pace, the value is expected to increase a staggering 65% by 2026. While the industry is still relying on dated legacy systems and technologies, Blockchain will provide a solution and will be used for medical record management by enabling real-time updates of patient data across multiple departments and locations; for medical product trace-ability (by tracking down every step of the supply chain); for regulatory compliance; clinical trial records; and fraud prevention. also uses blockchain technology to securely authenticate and provide secure access to verifiable health records to help saving on data management costs, providing speedy access to the point that it will even be saving lives. It’s safe to say that within the next 2 to 5 years, decentralization of product and service identity and interactions will be key in the blockchain evolution, by providing greater transparency and visibility between customers, partners, third parties and machine to machine payments. The technology is expected to help lower fraud issues, tampering and counterfeiting with consequent reduction in reconciliation costs. It is also expected that tokenization of assets and services will be adopted to expand beyond the typical legal processes, ultimately prompting the monetization of transparent, accurate and reliable data.

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