Public knowledge of blockchain technology is still largely limited to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. But 2018 needs to be the year blockchain grows up.

Kodak has embraced the blockchain and is planning on using it for digital copyright management and leasing mining rigs with shareholders being handsomely rewarded.

Curiously, this application is far nearer to the technologies initial proposed purchase. Back in 1991, blockchain was initially proposed as a registry of intellectual property for digital assets.

The blockchain serves as a replacement for traditional ledgers and databases, offering increased scrutiny and transparency.

The industries ripest for blockchain-based innovation will be those with growing data demands. Its transparency also supports analysis of return on investment and fraud prevention.

The smart contracts which form the interface with the blockchain’s users have applications within multi-partner transactions.

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By GlobalData

Utilities and insurance companies which integrate the blockchain fastest are sure to be rewarded: Not only in share-price, but also consumer trust and efficiency savings.

MetaX is an advertising company which is looking to use blockchain tech to track digital impressions. This would mean that advertising commissioners would be able to see the reach and influence of campaigns they purchase.

Social media can do this within its own eco-system but MetaX would carry this analysis beyond a portal’s walled garden.

Beyond advertising, the media industry can use blockchain to support digital rights management — as Kodak has demonstrated.

Blockchain’s potential is also crucial to deliver the Internet of Things (IoT). GlobalData’s research into IoT regularly highlights the same barrier: Trust.

For IoT to grow beyond the 80 percent of deployment’s which are currently geographically limited and used by individual companies something needs to validate data across vast distances and many stakeholders.

Blockchain offers this mechanism. There are already companies which are using the technology to design smart cities and other Internet of Things platforms.

The soaring price of bitcoin is a distraction and blockchain will benefit should the bubble burst.

For as long as cryptocurrencies and asset prices dominate the headlines, more useful blockchain innovations will be overshadowed.