Uses for Blockchain that are NOT Cryptocurrency or NFTs
Disclaimer: My understanding of the technology of blockchain is limited and flawed, so this should all be taken with heaps of salt. My understanding is that blockchain enables a kind of authentication and verification that is decentralized and not owned or controlled by any central authority.
Cryptocurrency seems scary and volatile to the lay-person, and 'owning' a cartoon picture of a cartoon monkey probably won't appeal to that many either - so what else could be done with decentralized authentication and verification?
1. Copy protection for media
Nowadays it's all about streaming, but I think the idea of owning a copy of a piece of work (especially music) is still appealing for when you're offline (out of network coverage, on a plane, etc.) or don't want to use up data against a usage cap you might have on your mobile/internet plan.
I know all the music I bought on Google Play has been migrated to YouTube Music, and right now, if I play a song that I bought while my phone is connected to my car, I have no idea if it's streaming from the internet or running locally. My iTunes library hasn't been successfully migrated to my phone either.
I know there are music NFTs, but I think they are meant to be unique as opposed to a copy of the recording that is both legit purchased and universally useable. That's what I'm after.
2. Social Media 'Currency'
Social Media has introduced an online 'clout' system, where the opinions of someone with a lot of followers mean more than someone more obscure. That's not necessarily bad in and of itself, but bots and fake accounts have led to increased manipulation and misinformation being spread. If an individual's status as a flesh and blood human being with thoughts, emotions and feelings and beliefs could be authenticated by their interactions which are recorded in blockchain, maybe that individual's social media content would be of higher value, because we know it comes from a real person. Blockchain to fight bots. I believe this may have been one of Elon Musk's intentions for Twitter
Similarly, blockchain to fight bots might make it easier to get concert tickets, as right now, popular concerts have their tickets snatched up by bots to feed scalpers instead of going to fans.
4. COVID/Contagion Control
Governments introduced vaccine mandates not only as a means to increase vaccine uptake but also as a proxy for being healthy and not at risk for spreading COVID-19. A better metric for whether you are a potential carrier (though probably not quite as accurate as sticking a swab up your nose) would be wearable technology tracking your behaviours and symptoms. You've been staying home (or going out very little), getting fresh air and exercise, and you haven't shown any fever for the last 24 hours (or whatever interval) - you're good to travel, go to a restaurant, whatever. Obviously, this level of data is a huge privacy concern and keeping it in some database just waiting to be hacked would be bad news. Ensuring the data can't be faked is important too. Enter the blockchain - the values are verified, but not decodable back into information that can be used to track you, in theory.
Verifying an identity online to enable voting from wherever.
6. Cloud Storage - Data Management
I'm getting ads for all kinds of cloud services not dissimilar to NotePD where ideas, plans, and creations are to be stored and their FAQs often have to address what will happen to our data if the company should go belly-up. Blockchain can be used to store personal data securely and privately, without the proprietary walled garden of various services that won't co-operate with each other.
7. Improving healthcare data management: Blockchain can be used to store and share medical records securely and privately.
I use the Timeline on Google Maps for everything from mileage tracking for business to recalling vacation trips for journalling and blogging. I like tracking my location, but if I could be the only one with access to that data rather than giving it to Google (or whoever else), that would be good. Record my location in the blockchain, and I am the sole owner of it.
9. Online reviews
If you've ever tried to research a business or service and not had a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone you trust, you're stuck with online reviews (Yelp, Google Places stars, etc.). These are often subject to manipulation either from bad actors with an axe to grind or the business astroturfing good reviews. Verify the identity of the reviewers using blockchain.
I don't seem to have to worry too much about email spam/phishing as the filters seem to do their job for the most part, but text messages are the new frontier for scammers it seems. Again, some proof that there is a legit person with good intentions at the other end of any correspondence would be good.