In 2017, the word ‘blockchain’ appears more frequently on our screens. However, most people still know very little about what blockchain really is and what it can achieve apart from serving as a supportive technology of Bitcoin.

Blockchain has successfully been applied to various business areas such as the Internet of Things, finance, the Internet of Energy, notarization, smart city construction, sharing economy and supply chain management etc. It accelerates the digitization process of society and starts a brand new stage of technological innovation and industrial revolution.

On 25th November, Blockchain Centre and Zhangjiang Incubator held a knowledge sharing session called “Blockchain +” in Shanghai. The two speakers of the event were Miss Xiaomin Wang, General Manager of the DECENT company in China region and Tamar Menteshashvili, the founder of blockchain centre in Shanghai Jiao Tong University. More than 100 people attended and had a discussion with the speakers regarding the prospect of blockchain use cases in various industries.

Xiaomin Wang Blockchain + Content Distribution

  • The creators around the world are losing their control over their intellectual property.

Take musicians for example, 12,000 downloads of one of their songs on iTunes brings them only less than 150 CDs worth of profits. The number indicates the huge gap on profit distribution between creators and content distribution platforms.  

For example, if someone purchases a song from iTunes at a price of $0.99, the musician might only have $0.09 in the pocket eventually.

However, blockchain could be a solution to this dilemma.

  • Blockchain distributed network can be used to help creator to establish a P2P trading platform.

With the help of blockchain distributed network, the creators can trade with customers directly without involving any intermediaries. All the income will belong to the creators themselves and they will have the right to set the price on their intellectual creations.

  • Blockchain can allow the payment to arrive instantly.

In the past, it takes at least one month to transfer the monetary benefit of the copyright from the dealer to the creator. Now with the help of blockchain, once the song has been downloaded on the distributed network, creators can receive the full amount of payment within 5 seconds.

  • Blockchain can smartly distribute the profit.

If you’re a member of a band instead of a creator, you can still set up your own ledger account on a distributed network to receive the profit based on an agreement of a profit distribution rate. When someone purchases a song, the payment will be automatically distributed to every member’s account, which improves the payment efficiency.

  • Blockchain can improve advertising

She shared a thought about a mechanism on tokens rewards for advertisement campaigns. The viewer can receive a certain amount of token each time they watch an ad. These tokens can be used as vouchers to stimulate consumption of the product which could effectively convert the commercial exposure to consumptions.

Tamar Menteshashvili—Blockchain + Finance/Government

Even though Blockchain is still in the infant period of the technology lifecycle, Tamar claimed that she has great confidence in the potential of the blockchain development. She gave a detailed speech regarding how the blockchain will be used in the financial and public areas in the future.

When it comes to finance, Tamar stated that the blockchain will absolutely lead to a revolution, and every financial institution will be impacted.

  • What can blockchain technology do for financial institutions?

Tamar mentions that cross-border transfers require a lot of formalities in most of the current bank systems. Acquiring blockchain technology can accelerate the transfer speed as fast as we scan payment code. It will also become more transparent and trustworthy.

Citibank recently began to use blockchain technology in transfers and Visa, saying it was a successful attempt to change the traditional financial enterprise.

Tamar has decided to cooperate with Caribbean countries, where their exchange rates are very volatile with very low exchange rate. By adopting the technology, these countries’ banks can share and exchange information with each other, accelerate the speed of money transference and increase currency circulation rate. As a result, their monetary conditions can be stabilised.

Lastly, Tamar noted that blockchain provides the possibility of rebuilding the economic model. Nevertheless, she warned that even though traditional financial institutions may try to adopt blockchain into part of their business, more communication and cooperation among other participants like regulators are still necessary to cultivate the innovation of distributed ledger.

Blockchain Reshaping the Role of government

In this section, Tamar mainly presented the potential impact of blockchain on three major aspects: G2C, G2G, G2V.

  • G2C (Government to Citizen)

Blockchain technology could be used in electronic voting, patient’s electronic health records (EHR) and digital property title to increase safety.

  • G2G (Government to Government)

Blockchain can provide the possibility for efficient information sharing between governments in business processing. For example, more time can be freed from formality communication in the deployment of goods and labours while doing international trading.

  • G2V (Government to Supplier)

In international logistics, the custom agencies around the world can reduce the delay of recognition, making international logistics faster.

In the end, Tamar also stated that the strategic adoption of blockchain will definitely become a competitive advantage for all countries because choosing to adopt blockchain will transform the government’s business model and process, and redefine stakeholders and their roles. For blockchain to fully achieve its potential,  it must be supported by national regulators to create an innovation-friendly environment for this technology to thrive.