In this article, I will discuss deeper blockchain concepts through use cases. As mentioned in my previous article, the intention is to look for examples of blockchain applications outside the world of cryptocurrency. I will be covering the Danish blockchain industry this time.
I am not a native Danish speaker. It took me two years to make up my mind about learning the language, and I am scheduled to attend my first class soon. Therefore, at this moment, I am unable to include local Danish-language sources. Hopefully, next year, I will be writing in Danish. If you know more, please educate me.
The IT University of Copenhagen Report 2019
The CEO of the Danish Industry Foundation, Thomas Hofman-Bang, writes in this report’s preface that it is crucial to ensure the availability of the right competencies for Danish businesses and industries to obtain the knowledge and labor needed to develop a competitive Danish industry around blockchain. The above names (cover image) collaborated to jointly publish this report. This IT University of Copenhagen paper (in English) will be my central tool in writing this article. This article identifies three sectors that could drastically benefit from blockchain innovation:
Side Note: Copenhagen provides ample potential and opportunity for such development. Only in April of this year did The Social Hub rank the Danish capital as the top city among 36 other popular European cities.
“Denmark, as a whole, scores better than any country for happiness, with a score of 7.6 out of a possible ten.”¹ The report includes the results of a survey of Danish blockchain companies in 2019. Below is a contemporary picture of how companies view the use of blockchain and its effectiveness.
1. Food Industry (Supply Chain Management)
Blockchain for Improving Food Security
On Tuesday, May 5, 2023, the well-known German confectionary company Haribo had to pull 21 different product lines from the shelves in Denmark. The Local reported that, according to a statement by the company, the candy producer is recalling these products because of the risk of foreign objects in the packaging. The company added that the contamination source has been identified.
The recall covers specified batch numbers and use-by dates for 21 different products including the popular Matador Mix, Click Mix and Stjerne Mix. All affected products have use-by dates between December 31st 2023 and May 31st 2024.²
One needs to only look back four years to find an incident with drastic results. This incident was referenced in the report on page 41.
Five dead, nearly 200 sick in E. coli outbreak from lettuce. And investigators are stumped.
Gift Article Five people have died and nearly 200 from about three dozen states have been sickened by E. coli in a…www.washingtonpost.com
In both cases, there was a dire need to swiftly identify the source of contamination and immediately pull all the shipments that posed a risk from public access. It took the FDA, an American agency, over two months to identify the source after the first report of the illness. In Denmark, however, the contamination was identified before any reports were made, and the recall of the products is underway. How Haribo identified specific batch numbers as being at risk is unclear.
“The difficulty of guaranteeing the origin of products that enter the supply chain and their proper handling across it represents a huge challenge for the food industry.”³
The design of a blockchain makes it possible to create a network between producers, transporters, distributors, and even regulators and authorities to operate in an environment of high trust.
In 2018, the IBM Food Trust created a tool (a pilot project) that Walmart used to quickly track a shipment of mangoes and find out where the shipment came from within a couple of seconds. Usually, this would take up to six days.⁴ The same tool could have identified the issues in both cases of contamination in America and Denmark within seconds too.
Other examples listed in the report in the supply chain context are:
1. Counterfeit prevention
Everledger was one of the first to offer a method to verify the product’s authenticity. The company uses blockchains to ensure the quality of diamonds by creating digital representations. This also provides a mechanism to combat the illegal diamond trade, according to their website.
Provenance is an organization whose blockchain platform links up manufacturers big and small with logistics providers and others in the supply chain. Tradelens is another blockchain platform created under IBM and Maersk’s leadership. The idea behind the design was to increase the speed of processing in the supply chain.⁵ Unfortunately, the project has been dropped. A lack of cooperation led to the project coming to an end, according to their website.
More than $4 trillion in goods, including 80 percent of consumer goods, are carried by the ocean shipping industry. — Bridget van Kralingen (Senior Vice President, Global Markets, and Senior Executive Sponsor of the LGBT+ community at IBM)⁶
Blockchain for improving data security
A couple of months ago, a story was published in Reuters that caught my attention. 1.6 million people had filed a case against
in a London court. The allegations made against the tech giant accuse it of misusing private and sensitive information. But the companies’ lawyers argue that the case is “bound to fail” and should be thrown out of court.⁷
Google asks London court to throw out lawsuit over medical records
LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - Google (GOOGL.O) asked London's High Court on Tuesday to throw out a lawsuit brought on…
Over the last few months, the 10-year-old Danish system of Nem-ID has been phased out in favour of MitID. MitID is a collaboration between the Digitization Agency, an agency under the Danish state, and Finans Danmark, the interest organization for the banks.⁸A student at Aarhus University has published a security analysis of MitID (in English). In their research, they found that it was highly unlikely that any research concerning cryptography in MitID would be possible without NDAs. You can find the paper here.
MitID is the digital ID that you will use to access the public self-service solutions. You will use the same log on whether you log on to your online bank or to do your taxes on skat.dk. — mitid.dk
Blockchain also presents a growth opportunity here. They can offer a solution in which patients have complete control over their medical records. Requesting consent for access and modifications is permissible. In addition, hospitals and other health service providers would only need to consult a single, updated, and readily accessible source of information.
Another example cited in the report is pharmaceutical logistics. FarmaTrust and MediLedger have been identified as examples of how blockchain is being used to improve the pharma industry. According to MediLedger’s website, currently, 95% of medication being resold in the US can be verified through the MediLedger Network. Because rapid verification through blockchain can save costs for reprocessing, re-shipment, and counterfeit losses, which could substantially impact the cost of pharmaceuticals. The report also mentions Change Healthcare, which has developed a solution that has reduced the time and effort spent handling claims. Using blockchain, they do this by streamlining the interaction between hospitals, physicians, and payers.⁹
Blockchain for upward mobility
Micropayments are a method of selling digital content where users pay a small amount, typically between one penny and two dollars. One playlist, ringtone, and web page at a time. The hope was that this system would replace the current subscription system. Subscrybe, a management consultancy operating in Denmark and Norway, listed in their forecast report for 2023 the top 5 subscription opportunities in 2023. You can download your copy from their website.
According to the Subscrybe forecast report, Danish Goodiebox grew 359% in Germany last year.¹⁰
In his book ‘The Subscription Movement and How to Succeed in It!" Subscrybe founder and CEO Morten Suhr Hansen writes that Scandinavia’s subscription market is mature. What he means by that is that the industry might have felt a tremor during COVID, but it will soon stabilize. But this does not mean that there is no place for micropayments.
With the number of internationals on the rise, there may be more demand for international money transfers. If you are an ex-pat like I am, you would love the option of sending money with minimal or zero transaction fees. This is even more of a concern when the transfers are for smaller amounts. This can be done by using blockchain-based micropayment systems. There is a socioeconomic benefit to implementing such a system.¹¹
Lightning Network, Raiden, and Stellar are examples of blockchain-based micropayment systems. These networks are being operated under regulations placed on the trade of Bitcoin, and there is limited infrastructure available for the setup of such networks.
Imagine if aid could be decentralized in the form of blockchain-based micropayments. This is, of course, more complicated than it seems. It is worth the effort, as far as I am concerned, when it comes to expanding the scope of bitcoins. This could also provide a lift to the informal sector, where the earnings might not be sufficient if they had to navigate through the traditional money transfer systems in place. With real-time and zero transactional fees, the blockchain model might help create the foundation to build and save capital.
Denmark is second only to the UK in e-commerce, and its digital sector can benefit from faster and cheaper settlement times for transactions into and out of DKK, and blockchain-based micropayments can deliver on this. There are scalability and infrastructure challenges in the blockchain industry at the moment. This could, however, not be a challenge in the future.
As mentioned earlier, I am not a native Danish speaker. It took me a while to find the sources to finish this article. I hope it gave you some insight into the Danish blockchain cluster. There is a lot of potential for things to improve, and there has already been a lot of interesting work done in the past. One of the most exciting events around blockchain is the Nordic Blockchain Conference which is going to be hosted in Copenhagen in September later this year. Early bird tickets (30% off) go live in June!
If you are still reading, thank you. If you like to read more from me, do consider leaving me a comment, clapping, or highlighting text and leaving a personal comment. What should I cover in the next article? Let me know in the comments.
1. Europe’s Best Cities for Mental Wellbeing, 20 Apr 2023
2. Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday, Michael Barrett · 9 May 2023 06:59 GMT+02:00
3. Study on the economic impact of blockchain on the Danish industry and labor market
5. Nærland, Kristoffer; Müller-Bloch, Christoph; Beck, Roman et al. / Blockchain to Rule the Waves — Nascent Design Principles for Reducing Risk and Uncertainty in Decentralized Environments. In: Proceedings / International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). 2017.
6. IBM, Maersk Joint Blockchain Venture to Enhance Global Trade, January 16, 2018, Written by: Bridget van Kralingen
7. Google asks London court to throw out lawsuit over medical records, Reporting by Sam Tobin Editing by Tomasz Janowski
12. See Denmark Statistical Yearbook by Payments Cards and Mobile at www.paymentyearbooks.com