IBREA Is #10 On List: "Ten Companies Using The Blockchain For Non-financial Innovation"

Ten companies using the blockchain for non-financial innovation

By Luke Parker

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.

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.

“Ascribe is for any creator who wants to protect and manage their creative work. ascribe lets you share your work knowing that your authorship claim is secured and enables buyers to collect and truly own your digital work. With ascribe, selling digital property is as easy as selling physical property. ascribe allows you to transfer intellectual property (IP) to someone, anywhere in the world, simply by email. We aim to democratize IP by making it easily accessible to the individual.”


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.


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.

“Now for the first time the photos and videos you take can be proven and relied upon as being authentic... A unique time stamped Key is created from the recording and inserted directly into the Blockchain Ledger. The recording is now locked, change even one pixel and the key will not match. The Key in the ledger is rock solid proof of the integrity of the recording you have made, use it any time.”

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.


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 allows creating a layer of digital assets on top of the internet using the Bitcoin blockchain... developers with little to no Bitcoin knowledge, can issue and manage digital assets for various uses, from financial industry (shares, bonds, stocks), records (certificates, copyrights, documentation) to ownership (event tickets, vouchers, gift cards).”

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.


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.

“Warranteer leads the eWarranty revolution into the digital age and sets the standard for your secure warranty wallet. We believe in your right to be a smart consumer and easily access your products’ information and support. Our warranty platform has got you covered and saves your time safely storing all your eWarranties to the cloud.”


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.

“Everledger is a permanent ledger for diamond certification and related transaction history. Verification for insurance companies, owners, claimants and law enforcement.”


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.

"Filament lets you build a connected business without becoming an expert on security, scalability, or network stacks. Blanket a factory in sensors, or control the streetlights of an entire city - our standalone networks span miles and last for years, all without WiFi or cellular.”


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.

“We help you get your DNA sequenced, and then upload it into the Bitcoin network. This spreads your genetic material to thousands of computers all across the globe.”


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.

“Provenance helps gather and share information and stories behind products. We are also pioneering a new method for ensuring authenticity of information - tracking items and their attributes securely through even the most complex chain of custody.”


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.

"Wave has created a peer-to-peer and completely decentralized network that connects all carriers, banks, forwarders, traders and other parties of the international trading supply chain. Using decentralized technologies, all communication between these parties will be direct and will not pass through a specific central entity. Due to its decentralized nature, the Wave network will not have any single point of failure and will not rely on any single entity."

Honorable mention:


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.

“Performing payment, escrow, and title on the block chain will take real estate from the 17th to the 21st century. By using Bitcoin, we can reduce costs, stamp out fraud, speed up transactions, democratize investing, increase financial privacy, internationalize markets, reemphasize equity, and make real estate a liquid asset.”