Smart contracts are already changing the way agreements are made in the digital world. Built on the Ethereum platform, they take out the middleman and execute on contract terms automatically, based on rules put in place. This technology has the potential to shake up a wide variety of industries from finance to healthcare.
Learn a little more about the companies already using smart contracts because those who are evolving and innovating now will be leading as adoption goes mainstream.
Slock.It is changing the way the sharing economy works thanks to smart contracts. Businesses use Slock.It to automate sharing, payments and rentals. Their most recent work with Share&Charge is a great example of how Slock.It works: Share&Charge uses their smart contract technology to automate the process of paying to rent electric vehicle charging stations.
Slock.It is also developing a Universal Sharing Network (USN), which will be an open-source network where blockchain application modules can be deployed. When complete, it will facilitate the sharing, allowing 3rd parties to add any object (service, product, etc.) to the network. When complete, the process is simple for users. According to their website:
- Open the app > Find object > Pay for it > Use it
- Use only one key (your smartphone) for everything
- No need to register or login for the service
The French airline, AXA, is taking flight insurance to the blockchain. The idea is simple: it can be challenging working with airlines to get compensated for late flights, even if you have travel insurance — and even then, it can be a headache depending on why the flight was delayed.
With Fizzy, if your flight is more than two hours late, and your airline details are loaded into the app, you’ll get automatically notified with compensation options. Once you make your compensation choice, the money is sent directly to your credit card.
This use of smart contracts is based on parametric insurance, in which users are not compensated for total loss, but rather, loss outside the traditional rules of insurance. This insurance is based on a triggering event. With Fizzy, that event is the flight being more than two hours late.
Right now, this product is only available for flights between the U.S. and Paris, with plans to expand in 2018, and you do need to pay a subscription fee.
This Vancouver startup calls themselves, “The smart contract creator,” and allows users to build their own smart contracts. They launched their “contract wizard” with 500 pre-registered users, who can access pre-made templates in their beta product.
The best part is you don’t need any prior smart contract or programming knowledge to create a number of contract types, including “create peer-to-peer escrow contracts, wagering, token creation, supply chain management, real estate agreements, contractor agreements and more.” This product allows companies to adopt the technology quickly and easily, streamlining processes, mitigating risk, and more.
Buying and selling real estate is a commonly discussed use-case for smart contracts and Propy is one of the first companies to actually make it happen. They had their first transaction in September of 2017, when someone purchased a $60,000 apartment in Ukraine.
This “across-borders” real estate marketplace allows owners and brokers to list properties, where buyers can also search and negotiate the sale. Both parties participate in the smart contract together and specific steps are taken throughout the process to ensure fair and legal play.
For example, an interested buyer can reserve a property by paying $5K to the escrow company currently holding it — thanks to terms of the smart contract, the buyer will get that money back if the seller refuses to sell the property. All paperwork and signatures are facilitated remote, through the app, making it easy to buy and sell property, regardless of where you live.
Other players, like licensed money transmitter companies, are involved to legitimize the process and verify transactions. Titles are still sent through local authorities as well, ensuring that every piece of the process follows necessary and legal protocol.
Invoice financing is a way for business owners to get their money from unpaid invoices. Invoice buyers pay up front to takeover the invoice for the business and then gets paid the original amount when the debtor pays the invoice. Populous is taking this process, which is currently localized and represents a small space in the market, global, making it easy for anyone to buy and sell outstanding invoices on the blockchain using smart contracts.
The benefit of removing the middle-man, and using smart contracts, is the speed at which the process can move while mitigating the risks, including manual human error and duplication of invoice financing. Within Populous, once the invoice seller uploads the invoice and terms, buyers simply choose to finance the money and all transactions are automatically facilitated via smart contract terms.
PolySwarm’s decentralized threat intelligence marketplace, the first of its kind, will run seamlessly thanks to smart contracts. When enterprises and ambassadors post their bounty, they’ll specify a reward (in Nectar, our utility token) for the person who submits the correct assertion. When the security expert does so, and their assertion is determined to be accurate, the funds are automatically released to the expert.
This allows us to incentivize innovation within cyber security, providing more accurate and effective threat protection.