Design Thinking Workshop: Blockchain-Use Cases

More and more use cases (from the Design Thinking Workshop) for blockchain technology and the Smart Contracts based on it are being tested in pilot projects.

Some of them are summarized below: The Design Thinking Workshop (03.05.2017) for the development of business models based on Blockchain and Smart Contracts of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management forms the basis for this. The fact that more and more workshops/events on the topic of Use Cases are taking place shows how topical the topic is.

Blockchain technology offers the possibility for consumers to obtain their electricity directly from the energy producers. Smart Contracts make it possible to exchange electricity without an energy supplier as an intermediate instance. Consumers can sell their self-generated energy directly to other consumers.

A pilot project already exists in Australia

The aim is to make it possible for homeowners to sell their electricity and process this transaction via the blockchain. The Australian-based startup Power Ledger is the initiator of this pilot project. Customers of the state-owned grid operator Western Power are to be given the opportunity to trade their electricity with each other using blockchain technology. The project is planned for an area the size of Germany. Before the project reaches this scale, a field trial will be carried out on a smaller scale. This field test involves 20 residents of a small housing estate. The sale and purchase will be carried out by blockchain. The households will be equipped with so-called Raspberry Pi minicomputers. This enables them to monitor their own electricity consumption so that they can sell their surplus of electricity. Trading is then stored in the blockchain. Network control and billing processes can potentially be improved by the blockchain.

Another area of application is the insurance industry. In Germany, there is already a pilot project between Allianz Risk Transfer (ART) and Nephila on the use of blockchain. The Allianz Group has several test fields for Blockchain technology, including the Allianz team ‚Disruptive Technologies‘. In cooperation between ART and Nephila, the use of Smart Contract technology was tested. The test series are focused on natural catastrophe swaps. Digital and automated blockchain-based contracts are to be used to accelerate and simplify transaction and payment processes between investors and insurers. The blockchain can also be applied to other insurance transactions. As already reported, Allianz has founded the Blockchain Initiative B3i together with other insurance groups. Aegon, Munich Re, Swiss Re and Zurich are involved. One of the goals of this initiative is to reduce the documentation and administrative costs of insurance contracts.

Changes to business processes

Existing business processes should become more transparent, faster and cheaper. Basically, it can be used in the most diverse areas of companies, e.g. supply chain controls can be carried out for foodstuffs. The application can take place in the supply chain of different industries. The technology can be of great relevance for the pharmaceutical industry. This applies in particular to document management, the logging and tracking of medicines and, above all, authentication.

The US American consultant and author Don Tapscott even speaks of a redistribution of wealth made possible by the blockchain. Markets could be rearranged and existing monopolies broken up. Prosperity could be better distributed by also allowing developing countries to participate in economic events. The development of new trade routes, business partners, suppliers, service providers and customers can thus take place.

Another interesting example is the private University of Nicosia in the Republic of Cyprus. It offers courses as well as a master’s degree in digital currencies. The study and course certificates are certified in the form of transactions in the blockchain.

The various applications are still in their infancy and need to be tested in pilot projects. Whether these blockchain technologies will prevail and, if so, which ones, should therefore be pursued further.