Ten companies using the blockchain for non-financial innovation

Banks and the bitcoin faithful alike often find themselves in agreement that the Blockchain is one of the most important discoveries of our age. The ability for all kinds of data to be stored and timestamped on it, in a way that no one can delete, censor, nor edit, is far more useful than many can imagine.

We are used to the way computer data can always be copied, edited, censored, and deleted too, depending on your permission settings. The blockchain changes those preconceptions drastically, allowing the creation of the first digital assets. Such a fundamental change in how data itself works is, to this day, simply foreign and hard to grasp for much of the world.

That's probably why we've had the blockchain up and running for almost seven whole years, but the number of truly innovative companies using it for something other than banking and financial services is still relatively small.

Here are ten very innovative, and likely disruptive, companies today that use the blockchain outside the banking and financial industry.

Ascribe


Ascribe
Status: Open for business
Industry: Art

Ascribe allows artists to claim ownership and issue numbered, limited-edition prints of all kinds of artwork in their digital form using the Blockchain. It even includes a marketplace and assists in buying and selling art through their website, removing the need for escrow.

- Ascribebitproof


BitProof
Status: Open for business
Industry: Legal

BitProof is the most advanced of the many document timestamping apps that have popped up in recent years, making notaries obsolete. Although free versions like Blocksign and OriginStamp exist, BitProof offers more services, including one that targets intellectual property protection. Interestingly, BitProof has recently partnered with San Francisco's Holberton School to put their student academic certificates on the blockchain, totally re-engineering how diplomas and student certificates are handled and used.

uproov


UProov
Status: Open for Business
Industry: Legal, Media

What BitProof does for documents, UProov does for photos and video. Easily the most advanced of all the timestamping applications to date, this smartphone app might turn out to be the most useful blockchain application of them all since there is no limit to the situations you can find yourself in needing to prove something that happened around you.

All your data can be set as either public or private on the blockchain, allowing for uses like recording indisputable insurance claims or police brutality equally as easy.

Colu


Colu
Status: Open for business
Industry: Development

Colu is the first business allowing other businesses to issue digital assets, and the variety of these assets they can 'tokenize' is pretty impressive. Although the free bitcoin wallet Counterparty already allowed simple tokens to be issued and traded between other holders of that wallet, Colu's tokens can come in all shapes and sizes, leave and re-enter their system, and even store data on the BitTorrent network when it's too large to be put on the blockchain.

Colu is off to an excellent start, already securing a partnership with Deloitte and claiming “over 20 integrations” on their blog back in October. Warranteer is one of their first integrations.

warranteer


Warranteer
Status: Open for Business
Industry: Retail, Insurance

Warranteer uses Colu to move your product warranties from paper onto the blockchain, keeping them up-to-date and easily transferable. Their customers already include LG and GoPro.

Everledger


Everledger
Status: Open for Business
Industry: Insurance, Diamonds

Everledger uses the blockchain to track individual diamonds, from the mine to the consumer and beyond. This solves a couple of long standing problems in the insurance industry that would save insurers over 300 Million pounds every year; Conflict diamond detection and insurance fraud.

filament


Filament
Status: Taking customer applications
Industry: Large-scale IoT

Perhaps the most ambitious entry on our list, Filament uses small, advanced hardware devices to put all kinds of electronics, especially appliances, on the blockchain, creating an Internet of Things for your local area.

Genecoin


Genecoin
Status: Alpha Stage
Industry: Medical, Genealogy

Genecoin is not a cryptocurrency, but a novel service that “backs up your DNA” by placing a copy of your genome on the blockchain. Besides the Sci-fi connotations of making a copy of yourself, there are medical uses for keeping your DNA profile handy and accessible too.

Provenance


Provenance
Status: Open for Business
Industry: Retail

Provenance seeks to record every last thing that happens in the global retail supply chain on the blockchain, and make all of that data searchable in real time for consumers. Imagine scanning a QR code on a can of tuna in the supermarket and knowing exactly where the fish inside it was caught, who certified it, where it was canned, etc., all timestamped at each step.

wavebl


Wave
Status: Funded, still in Alpha
Industry: Import/Export

Wave has targeted the global supply chain and specifically the incredibly wasteful problem with import documents known as Bills of Lading to be modernized with the blockchain. They connect all members of a supply chain to the decentralized blockchain, which allows for a direct exchange of documents between them, solving the shipping industry's largest problem. WAVE's application manages ownership of documents on the blockchain eliminating disputes, forgeries, and unnecessary risks.

Honorable mention:

ibrea


IBREA
Status: Has a large Linkedin community
Industry: Real Estate

The International Bitcoin Real Estate Association (IBREA) is not a company, but more of an advocacy group. We felt they needed a mention because they are a large group of real estate professionals looking to educate and promote the uses of the blockchain and bitcoin in real estate. Eventually, it is their plan to help modernize the entire process, solving problems everyone has with real estate globally including the title process, land registries, and even escrow.