BlockchainTen Important Use Cases of Blockchain:Blockchain-based Voting systemsIn 2015, a new project revolving around a blockchain-based voting system was launched, which “provides even greater transparency into the voting process, with every vote being recorded on the blockchain”.Very relevant in the Indian context, a voter could actually check whether his vote has been cast for the intended party/candidate or not.Building upon the transparency and consensus inherent in blockchain technology, voting systems -wherein every vote would be recorded under a securely and vaidated by the nodes.However, since its initial testing in Denmark, this technology has not enjoyed much progress.Smart ContractsSmart contracts would effectively eliminate the need for middlemen in legal agreements, effectively making each node on the blockchain a notary. Being irreversible and trackable, it would be impossible for any of the concerned parties to backtrack and deny signing the contract. It does not require any third party and can be triggered automatically depending upon certain activation conditions. It is a computer protocol that can digitally enforce the negotiation or performance of a certain action stated in the contract and saves paper, energy and resources, both natural and humanDigital IdentityThese days, identity theft has become a huge problem globally. By implementing blockchain, tracking and verification of identities can become far easier. Be it banking, healthcare, online retail, travel, govt. Services, identity is one aspect which is mixed with all of them. There have also been various instances in the recent past, some of which come into the public eye, of data theft and breaches into databases, compromising identities of millions of people annually. I believe that Blockchain could provide a solution to this menace. It is based on verification through digital signatures and for identity authentication, the only check is that the correct private key should be the signatory and it is inferred that the person with the private key has to be the owner.Distributed Cloud StorageAs of now, cloud storage services are controlled by someone i.e, they are centralised and they control all your online assets. If blockchain is implemented, the whole system can become decentralised. Already there is a company called Storj which is beta-testing blockchain powered cloud storage which can boost security and transparency and reduce dependency. You can store your data in anyone’s machine if he/she has surplus space at a pre-decided rate and anyone else can store theirs in yours. The data is encrypted and completely tamper proof.PropertyWe have all experience in our own context the middlemen involved in property dealing – the property dealers – who charge a fat commission from both ends to facilitate the transaction. What if we could use a completely trustworthy method to do the same and that too, free of additional cost?That is where blockchain comes into the picture. Using the distributed ledger, payments can be validated and any two people can have a transaction without knowing each other and can trust each other blindly, thus eliminating the need for the property dealer.Internet of Things (IoT)And object that we come across can be called a thing, be it a car, an AC, a TV, a door or a shower. If that thing can be connected to the internet and hence to each other, they form what is called the Internet of Things, commonly known as IoT.It is predicted that by 2020, there will be 26 million things connected to the IoT. Internet will not just be a people-people connection but also a people-thing and a thing-thing connector.You can control your devices even when you’re not at home, program them to take a certain decision on their own and much more. Now blockchain in this case helps to encrypt the appliance and protect identity of the owner and enables transferability.Blockchain MusicThere are some huge problems in the music sector as of today. Be it ownership, royalty distribution or transparency. While the industry has focussed on making money, ownership is one aspect often forgotten about and this can lead to scuffles at a later stage. Using blockchain and smart contracts, we could create a distributed and decentralised database of music rights. This would also enable easy and smooth transfer of royalties to the singers and performers and they could be paid in digital currency as stipulated by the smart contract, thus eliminating all ambiguity and payment issues.GovernmentWhile this may come as a surprise, blockchain could also be used to run a government! Let’s see how. The blockchain could help in forming a self management platform that could help companies, govt agencies, NGOs, and academic institutions interact and exchange information on a global and transparent scale.Also, through smart contracts, it can be ensured that the elected candidates function the way they had promised to, and are supposed to. There could be a clause that the payment would only be made once the promises are fulfilled and the public is happy with the performance.Blockchain to counter corruptionContinuing on the previous point, Blockchain can aid in effective governance by curbing corruption as well if the global economy were to move completely towards digital cryptocurrency, which is one of the foremost implementations of blockchain. Since these transactions are 100% trackable, any and every transaction that happens would have to be explained and that simply eliminates corruption.ElectricityWhat if the electricity usage was written directly to the blockchain? Would it not save huge amounts of paperwork and effort? Yes, it would. The electricity sector is mostly based on centralised power plants that transmit energy over massive distances. Nowadays, many distributed power generators and storage systems, like rooftop solar panels and electric-vehicle batteries, have been connecting to the grid. However, most of these systems are very inefficient. Also, it generally takes 60 to 80 days for an electricity producer to get paid. With a blockchain-based system, producers can get paid immediately. Neighbours can also trade and sell electricity to one another rather than selling it to the grid and then the grid selling it forward, thus saving a lot of time and energy.II. Blockchain and the ERPWe have all had our share of struggles with the ERP and always keep wishing that there was a better way of implementation of the same. Right now, the ERP keeps crashing whenever there is heavy traffic at the time of course registration. Since it is a centralised system, it has a single point of failure, something which most definitely needs to be changed.Sometimes a student may try to register and not be able to because the server was down but someone who comes after her may be able to when the server is back. This is where the first come-first serve theory falls flat on its face. I feel blockchain could help sort out both aspects as the system would not crash when the ledger is distributed to everyone on the network.Also, as of now, we really do need a system of smart contracts to be implemented into ERP as, currently, we have to manually add even our core and compulsory course, which makes the task unnecessarily hectic for us when the process could very well be automated. Depending upon the student’s major, he could automatically be enrolled into certain core courses and he should be required to only choose the UWEs and the CCCs.Using blockchain, the nodes could validate that the student who is trying to register should be a student of SNU and the validators should all themselves be students of SNU, and therefore we should be implementing POS algorithm in this case.III. Blockchain and a Water PurifierThe use of blockchain in a water purifier could be the implementation of smart contracts to ensure that the faulty parts are replaced on time and the regular cleaning is carried out. This can be done by programming the RO unit to send a message to the company whenever a certain condition is met. The validators could be using POW algorithm to ensure that the triggered message is a legitimate one and goes to an authorised dealer only. In this way, we would be able to mitigate health hazards that come with using faulty or old parts in the water purifier such as the candle stick or the filter. If the ater level falls below a certain level or the supply is cut off, a notification can be sent to the owner’s phone to remind him to look into the matter and ensure the proper functioning of his device.III. Blockchain for a HitchhikerComing to the last part of this assignment and one which seems highly relevant considering the title of the course, we could implement blockchain. A hitchhiker could send a request for a ride and any user who is going on that particular route could accept the request after it has been duly validated as a genuine one. The payment for the ride could be made in digital currency or the person who gave the ride could get some HH Tokens which would enable him to easily get a ride himself when he wants to, in the future. Also the identity of the person who is hitching the ride should be made available to the person offering the ride and be validated to be authentic. This would enable the offerer to be comfortable and choose whether he wants to offer the ride or not.Also, when he gets to his destination, the hitchhiker might want to get accommodation and the best way to do so would be to be able to get a room at a hotel directly without having to pay a middleman. OR for that matter, he could even ask to stay at someone’s house at the place he is travelling to, after following a similar procedure that was followed for hitching a ride. It seems that such a blockchain application could even replace intermediaries like Uber and Airbnb in the future and is an extremely important of blockchain.