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Blockchain: Applications Beyond Digital Currency Include Identity Management and Regulatory Compliance

By Dick Weisinger

Blockchain is an electronic ledger system that was originally created as part of the digital currency Bitcoin, but there are many more applications for blockchain than just digital currency.

Suresh Ramamurthi, the chairman and chief technology officer of CBW Bank in Weir, Kan., said that “We have the basic technology [blockchain]. When you already have a wheel, you can make a wheelbarrow, or a car. People are discovering any number of ways to use blockchain. The technology is not very complicated; this is something we could do now. Banks already have to verify identity for KYC (Know Your Customer); expanding that across the Internet is not a very big leap.”

Potential applications of blockchain technology include:

Identify Management. Many millions of refugees and children in the world are undocumented.  Better methods for identifying identity could help verify identities and secure data.  In the US, the postal service and the Department of Homeland Security are looking at ways that blockchain might help with this.

Community and Citizen Services.  This includes capabilities like voting, tax collections, land registrations, business licenses, and vehicle registrations.  Blockchain identify management helps to reduce fraud and error and also minimizes paper.

Regulatory Compliance. Blockchain produces a ledger that is unalterable and also totally open for all to see. It can potentially reduce the costs and risks involved in enforcing compliance.

Contract Management. Blockchain can manage contract records to ensure that the terms of contracts and their deliverables are correctly met.

Laura Crozier, global industry director at Software AG, said that “2017 is going to be the year when operationalizing of blockchain really starts to move from the hype and the headlines to a real business solution for early adopters in many industries.”

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