Entrepreneurs

Fighting Art Fraud And Tracking Cheese: 4 Surprising Sectors Being Disrupted By Blockchain

While bitcoin still hasn’t gone mainstream, its foundational technology, blockchain, has unleashed a wave of innovation. Gartner predicts that by 2025 blockchain will add $176 billion in business value. By 2030, that number could exceed $3.1 trillion.

Entrepreneurs looking to get their slice of the pie need to leverage the technology’s distributed, immutable nature. By tokenizing ownership and decentralizing authentication, blockchain can make everything from supply chains to music licensing more transparent, cost-effective and secure. 

Funding for blockchain startups is up 79%, with many big banks among the investors. This may seem obvious, since the financial sector is ripe for disruption by blockchain, but it isn’t the only one. 

Here are four more surprising industries being transformed by blockchain entrepreneurs:

1. Trading Cards

Trading cards are collectible for three reasons: limited volume, verifiable authenticity and active fandoms. Blockchain tracks digital assets to ensure they can’t be replicated or faked. 

One series that checks the “fandom” box is a collection of digital superheroes. Blockchain Heroes celebrates blockchain entrepreneurs who are fighting for internet freedom, decentralization and privacy. The cards were created by Joel Comm and Travis Wright, hosts of the Bad Crypto Podcast, and their sons. The first set of Blockchain Heroes sold out in just 20 minutes, and a second is in the works.

Blockchain Heroes isn’t the only series of trading cards to use blockchain technology. CryptoKitties is a line of one-of-a-kind digital cats that can be adopted and bred by users. Over a million virtual cats have been bred, and some have sold for as much as $200,000. Dapper Labs, the company that owns CryptoKitties, just secured $12 million in funding.

Even Topps Company, which manufactures baseball cards, has gotten into the blockchain card game. All 110,000 of its Garbage Pail Kids cards sold out in 28 hours. The digital cards have been resold for as much as $2,400 a piece.

2. Fine Art

One of the most exciting and unlikely industries being disrupted by blockchain is art. The technology is poised to solve some of the biggest issues in the industry, including fraud. 

According to one report, roughly 50% of art circulating on the market today is either fake or attributed to the wrong artist. Verifying the authenticity and provenance of a piece of art can cost thousands of dollars. Blockchain uses a distributed authentication protocol to verify transactions and discourage fakes.

Blockchain is also creating new models for investing in art and supporting artists. Maecenas is a blockchain-based platform that allows investors to buy tokens — essentially shares — in valuable pieces. Blockchain also allows artists to create digital scarcity. By making their own non-fungible tokens (NFTs), artists can limit the number of copies sold and provide proof of authenticity.

3. Shipping and Logistics

In an era when you can track a package from warehouse to doorstep, it’s hard to imagine that logistics technology has room to improve. Yet the shipping industry still lags in its ability to track handoffs and deliveries.

For companies that do business on a global scale, shipping is a nightmare. There is still a great deal of physical paperwork involved, including sales contracts, port documents and bills of lading. All this paperwork must pass through many hands before cargo arrives at its destination. Blockchain could reduce or eliminate that paperwork while tracking an item’s chain of custody. This would make shipping faster, cheaper and more secure.

4. Gourmet Food

Consumers have long been frustrated by the lack of transparency in agribusiness. To meet shoppers’ expectations, many grocers and producers are making their food more traceable. Now, thanks to blockchain, conscientious eaters will be able to track their fare from farm to table. 

Last year, Nestle launched Chain of Origin, a coffee brand that brings complete transparency to the java supply chain. In Europe, Nestle allows customers to track organic baby food and infant formula via a QR code. The company is also working to bring blockchain to New Zealand dairy and South American palm oil.

In a surprising twist, Mastercard is partnering with Topco to show shoppers where their food comes from. Olive oil company CHO is using blockchain to track its olives from orchard to bottle. 

One of blockchain’s most innovative adopters, however, is a company most American foodies have probably never heard of. French grocer Carrefour S.A. is using blockchain to track free-range chickens, organic orange juice, tomatoes and gourmet cheese. 

This is a big deal in France, whose dairy industry has been struggling since the beginning of the pandemic. (Things were so bad this spring that the dairy industry started the hashtag #Fromagissons, meaning “act for cheese.”) The blockchain cheeses have QR codes that give details about the cheese and its origins. 

While you might not be paying your rent in bitcoin anytime soon, blockchain enthusiasts can rejoice. Transparency and security are top of mind for consumers. Blockchain provides an elegant solution that could solve many businesses’ most pervasive problems. The next time you buy a pound of coffee or fancy cheese, it might just be on a blockchain.

 

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