Before we dive into the question, it is important to understand the concept of blockchain and how it works. Essentially, blockchain architecture allows for data structure that is fully decentralized and immutable. New information can be added in “blocks” which explains why it’s called “blockchain”. This technology could be used to create pretty much anything (even cryptocurrencies).
Initially, at least – blockchain was created to support the Bitcoin ecosystem, and vice versa. Networks running on proof of stake (POS) and proof of work (POW) mechanisms specifically require tokens, to reward its network supporters; i.e. miners.
However, in recent years, governments around the world have developed a negative perception towards the idea of tokens, i.e. cryptocurrencies. As such, huge corporations who were interested in the benefits of blockchain technology decided to do away with the “token” part of the technology bringing about protocols such as IBM’s Fabric and Corda.
So, to answer the question – YES. It is possible to allow the users to deploy networks on protocols which do not have a “token” attached to its infrastructure. Its exact benefits of course, would be different; as some even compare them to being a faster, more efficient database and nothing more. Since our purpose today is not to debate on the benefits and drawbacks of “token-less blockchains”, let’s dive right away into the applications of such protocols.
Airlines and travel
No one has doubts that there is an array of challenges when it comes to the airline industry; encompassing travelers and suppliers, and many more. Lufthansa, one of the biggest airlines, has decided to shift its infrastructure onto the blockchain to make it immutable, decentralized and more efficient. Admitting that it’s still the early days, Lufthansa entered a partnership with SAP, one of the biggest player in enterprise resource planning software or ERP. Together, they organize events and competition to engage the blockchain and developer community, and work with these communities to develop solutions for the airline and travel industry.
The final aim is to rid the infrastructure of potential human errors, discrepancies, and inconsistency in records and to make the information accessible by all stakeholders. Eventually the benefits can be extended directly towards customers; where they can access refunds, accurate pricing and flight information all at their fingertips.
Supply chain management
Yes, it truly is. There are numerous phases and intermediaries involved from when a product is packaged in a warehouse towards being delivered. Often, packages cannot be found even in the very same warehouse, due to incompetence or human error during the scanning process.
However, the rising popularity of ecommerce and the rise of automated warehousing is also giving rise to the need for a more effective platform to track l issues (or errors) in day to day operations. This has forced many logistics companies to modernize (and even incorporating blockchain), for it is no longer acceptable to lose packages, only to be found a few weeks later. Customers also expect to receive packages even on the same day of purchase. So, when it comes to the tracking and record management, the importance grows exponentially.
In the area of product authenticity, De Beers – one of the biggest players in the diamond market has opted to adopt blockchain technology to ensure that none of the diamonds it purchases are “blood diamonds” or from origins of countries in conflict. Such levels of transparency not only set buyers at ease, but helps root out the illegal sellers and markets, who often use the proceeds from the sales of diamonds to fund more conflict and even terrorism.
Cover photo by: Mike Cummings