From Maersk to Codex: Four unencrypted blockchain opportunities

According to Custom Market Insights, the blockchain market is currently valued at $5 billion and is expected to grow to $69 billion by 2030. Not all of this growth will come from areas typically associated with blockchain, such as digital finance. Instead, a slew of non-crypto businesses have started using the technology to secure valuable data and assets.

Strong blockchain technology applications have a key similarity, according to The blockchain strategy of the Saïd Business School of Oxford program. The data they secure and calculate has real economic value. In other words, network participants save or earn money, which means they are willing to pay minor transaction fees to operate the platform.

To spark ideas for blockchain use cases in your industry, here’s a quick sample of four companies pioneering value-driven applications: Maersk, Figure, Scribbles, and Codex.

Maersk: Optimizing supply chains

Controlling over 20% of the goods shipped worldwide, Maersk is one of the largest container shipping companies in the world. But after a host of logistical issues – poor communication, limited visibility, and inefficient paper-based systems – Maersk recognized it could use blockchain to reduce administrative costs.

In 2018, IBM (IBM) and Maersk launched a proprietary blockchain platform, TradeLens, to record Supply Chain transactions. Now, Maersk’s supply chain managers use TradeLens’ distributed ledger to work with shipping companies, importers, suppliers and agencies around the world, automating filings, accelerating document approvals and sharing shipment data.

Figure: Finalizing mortgages

Another industry with a history of complex transactions? Immovable. Just as commodities move through supply chains, mortgages change hands faster than you might think. In fact, 70% of all mortgages will change hands, some within days of a bank finalizing the transaction, others multiple times during a mortgage’s decades-long lifecycle. These frequent transfers can trigger errors, and unfortunately borrowers are most often the losers.

To solve this problem, mortgage creator Figure has launched blockchain-based mortgages that work much like NFTs, unique digital identifiers that prove ownership and authenticity. Figure’s system records the origin of a mortgage and allows individuals to track the history of ownership and transfers of a mortgage. As a result, the system speeds up transfers, saving time and value for borrowers and lenders.

Scribbles: providing digital credentials

According to the New York Times, more than 50,000 doctorates are purchased each year from degree mills. To combat fraud and ensure that digital learning experiences are just as recognized and accredited as their in-person counterparts, universities and e-learning providers have started experimenting with blockchain-based certificates.

Scribbles, for example, provides blockchain-secured transcripts to ensure the authenticity of K-12 records. Similarly, Credly offers digital badges that learners can share with employers or their networks. Either way, network participants get a tangible benefit: learners hold a certificate of trust and employers confirm that the wages they pay employees are well spent.

Codex: Checking Art Collectibles

Finally, the blockchain offers the art world a new way to protect art experts against the purchase of counterfeit objects. Previously, prolific forgers evaded discovery by skillfully falsifying artwork provenance papers, which trace a painting’s origin, lineage and authenticity. One of the most prominent forgers of the 20th century, British artist John Myatt, used forged papers to deceive two of London’s finest art houses.

Codex registers artworks and collectibles on a blockchain to eliminate paper loopholes. If art dealers want to be sure that a work is authentic and trustworthy, they consult the Codex register, which collects detailed data on all registered works of art. The process is relatively simple. After entering the title, creator, or registry number of an artwork, a collector can view documentation, scroll through digital photos, and confirm their identity. As a result, art houses regain confidence in the origin of their objects and collectors ensure that they are buying the right work of art.

In each of these four use cases, the blockchain application provides its participants with real economic value. Maersk has reduced administrative costs for the shipping industry. Figure reduces losses in real estate. And Codex has enhanced the integrity, security and trust of the art market, mitigating costly mistakes.

Therefore, when considering your own blockchain use case, ask yourself: if you build a blockchain application, will participants pay to access its benefits?

To learn more about how to identify a suitable blockchain use case, see Oxford’s Blockchain Strategy program – a six-week masterclass designed for executives, entrepreneurs and innovative professionals.

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