From our previous article on which sectors of African economies are likely to be disrupted by Web 3.0 tech, we gave background to web 3 and its advantages.
In this second part of the two parts series, we shall explores some sectoral case studies where web3 technology will be instrumental.
Distributed ledger technology possesses the potential to transform health services as stated by semantic scholar . Blockchain can be used for the traceability of drugs and patient data management. Drug counterfeiting is a major problem in the pharmaceutical industry.
Reports from the Health Research Funding organization revealed that 10% to 30% of the drugs sold in developing countries involves counterfeit. It is estimated by the WHO that 16% of counterfeit drugs have the wrong ingredients, while 17% contain an imprecise level of essential ingredients.
Therefore, these drugs can put a patient’s life in danger as they will not treat the diseases, rather can trigger secondary effects that can lead to death.
From an economic point of view, drug counterfeiting is responsible for an annual loss of 10.2 billion euros for European pharmaceutical organizations as stated by Gmp Compliance. Blockchain can be a solution to address this issue because all the transactions added to the distributed ledger are immutable and digitally timestamped, which makes it possible to track a product and make the information tamper-proof. Managing patient data integrity is one of the major concerns for the healthcare industry.
Each patient has unique physical variability, therefore a treatment strategy for a common disease varies depending upon circumstances. Hence, for providing personalized treatment, it is necessary to access the complete medical history of an individual patient.
However, medical data are sensitive and requires a secured sharing platform. The existing system of bookkeeping medical records is lacking privacy as well as interoperability. Currently, blockchain can offer an infrastructure for the integration of medical records among different healthcare facilities as well as data integrity features through its immutable ledger technology.
Blockchain is capable of establishing a robust and secure transparent framework of storing digital medical records that brings quality services for the patients as well as reducing treatment cost.
According to MDPI.com, B Shen and fellow authors., have proposed a permissioned blockchain based framework named MedChain, which is built upon Hyperledger Fabric that provides the patients full control over their own medical records .
The patients have the ability to share access to their health information to doctors or health centers using this distributed storage platform. Deloitte also published a paper (2016) on the opportunities for health care through blockchain based solutions. This paper describes how interoperability in the health care system can be achieved by using smart contracts as well as by eliminating intermediaries to reduce additional costs and make the system more robust.
One of the main uses of blockchain in energy related applications is in microgrids. A microgrid is a localized set of electric power sources and loads integrated and managed with the objective of enhancing energy production and consumption efficiencies and reliabilities as stated by ijrer.org.
The electric power sources can be distributed power generators, renewable energy stations, and energy storage components in facilities created and owned by different organizations or energy providers. One of the main advantages of the microgrid technology is that it does not only allow residents and other electric power consumers such as factories to have access to the needed energy, but they can also produce and sell excess energy to the grid.
Blockchain can be used to facilitate, record, and validate power selling and buying transactions in microgrids . In a similar way, blockchain can be used at larger scales to enable energy trading in smart grids.
According to IEEE Xplore, in smart grids equipped with bidirectional communication flow, blockchain can be used to support secure and privacy maintained consumption monitoring and energy trading without a need for a central intermediary.
Smart contracts can be used to ensure the programmatic descriptions of anticipated power flexibility degrees, the validation and tractability of demand response agreements, and the balance between power needs and generation.
Furthermore, blockchain can be used to enable energy trading in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).Generally, utilizing blockchain for energy-related applications has the potential to reduce energy costs as well as increase resiliency.
Blockchain technology could solve the issues for fragmented market systems, such as interoperability, trust, and transparency.
Due to the role of intermediaries, the regulatory process and operational trade clearance, it takes more than 3 days to complete and finalize all transactions. As a result, the stock market participants, for example, traders, regulators, brokers and the stock exchange, are going through a cumbersome process.
Blockchain may be the solution in this regard. It can make the stock exchange more optimal through decentralization and automation . By eliminating intermediaries and speeding up transaction settlements, blockchain can help reduce cost.
Furthermore, the technology can provide viable use in transaction clearing and settlement while easing the monotonous paperwork of the trade and legal ownership transfer along with the secured post-trade process. By introducing smart contracts, blockchain is mitigating the need of a third party regulator by acting as a regulator for all transactions.
Blockchain can be utilized in different fields as a solution to the problems that a standard database might have. One such problem can be seen in voting.
Recently, it was revealed that a major U.S. voting machine manufacturer had installed remote access software on some systems. This software allowed for the alteration of votes when counting the total.
Instances such as this create a lack of trust in America’s voting system, as seen in a recent poll: ‘‘Exclusive poll: Majority expects foreign meddling in midterms’’. This poll suggests that only approximately a quarter of Americans feel confident that their vote is being counted.
Blockchain would solve this issue by providing a distributed ledger that would ensure votes are counted since the ledger a voter owns is the same as the one counting the total.
Blockchain can be used to support the insurance marketplace transactions between different clients, policyholders, and insurance companies.
Blockchain can be used to negotiate, buy and register insurance policies, submit and process claims, and support reinsurance activities among insurance companies. Different insurance policies can be automated using smart contracts, which can significantly reduce administration costs as stated by research gate.
For example, there is a high administration cost associated with processing insurance claims. In many cases, the administration of claims can be very complex processes due to disagreements and misinterpretations of the terms.
Smart contracts can evade these problems by structuring insurance policies in more precise if-then relationships. These policies allows for the automation of executing the terms by digital protocols that exactly implement the agreed upon insurance policies, thus reducing the effort needed and the costs of execution.
With this reduction, insurance companies can also reduce the cost of their insurance products and be more competitive to attract more customers. At the same time, it allows insurance companies to launch new automated insurance products for their clients without worrying too much about their administrative overhead and costs. Furthermore, blockchain enables insurance companies to be expanded globally.
In the real world, personal identity can be verified using identity documents such as a driver’s license, national ID card, and passport. However, there is hardly any effective equivalent system for securing online identities.
Blockchain may render an approach to circumvent this concern. This technology can be used to create a platform to protect an individual’s identity from being theft or reduces fraudulent activities. Blockchain may allow individuals to create an encrypted identity that does not require any username or password while offering more security features and control over accessing their personal information. By comprising identity verification with that decentralized blockchain principle, a digital ID can be generated.
This ID can be assigned to every online transaction similar to a watermark. Hence, it will aid organizations to detect and eliminate the possibility of fraud by checking identity on every real-time transaction.
Blockchain-based solutions on identity management could enable the consumer to access and verify online payments by simply using an app for authentication instead of using a username and password or biometric methods.
According to IEEE Xplore, Paul Dunphy et al., proposed a scheme for identity management, leveraging distributed ledger technology to enhance decentralization, transparency and user control.
Djuri Baars et al., suggested an innovative architecture of self-sovereign decentralized identity management using blockchain technology. An individual identity that is fully controlled by an individual is called self-sovereign identity.
The author believes that deploying blockchain with self-sovereign identity management eliminates the issue of identity theft to be a great extent as no central authority or third party can be inferred without the user’s consent.
Banks facilitate trade finance process using a letter of credit (LC) as a payment settlement method, which has been proven effective for risk mitigation. However, due to the process complexities, high cost and contractual delays, it still does not account for less than one-fifth of international trade.
With the increased time and cost for issuing LC, it becomes less attractive to the trading parties regarding low-value transactions.
This incident disintermediates banks as well as contribute to the rise of open trade. Blockchain may possess the potential of addressing these issues by automating LC that will provide reduced transaction costs and operational complexity.
Blockchain’s smart contract can be modeled in compliance with all specified conditions mentioned in LC between the supplier and client, which can guarantee payment once the trade merchandise is delivered to the buyer.
This solution may mitigate the contractual ambiguities and discrepancies of information that leads to reduced time and cost of LC amendments . Although the ICC survey showed that approximately 80% of respondents expressed their concern regarding traditional trade finance, in that it might not see any growth or decline in the near future, blockchain can become the solution to speed up the documentation process ensuring the security.