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Blockchain - What It Is and What It Isn't

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a technology platform, the features and how it works varies between platforms.


● Blockchains can be a shared source of information

● There are many different blockchain protocols

● There’s no ‘central authority’ needed

○ Meaning that there is no single party that controls the data unilaterally

● The information can be trusted

○ There’s a consensus/agreement

○ The data can’t be changed

○ Cryptography is built in ensuring privacy

○ Has provision for ‘smart contracts’


What Blockchain is not


● There are a lot of misconceptions around blockchain technology

● What blockchain is not?

○ Bitcoin is an example of a use of a blockchain but bitcoin is not itself ‘blockchain’


Types of Blockchain


● Several types of blockchain platforms

○ Public/Unpermissioned - anyone can join

Decentralised

○ Data can’t be changed

■ Currencies

■ Betting

■ Video gaming

● Supply chain

● Government financial records

● Corporate earning statements

○ Private/Permissioned - restrictions on who is allowed to participate

○ Use of identity management

■ Voting

■ Voting records

■ Whistleblower

● Insurance/reinsurance

● National defence

● Tax returns

● For the purpose of insurance most are using private and permissioned blockchain


Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)


“Is a glorified information messaging system”

● Information drives

○ Trade

○ Commerce

○ Government

● All about streamlining process

● Have to be using DLT for a solution

● Manage expectations


The terms Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology are often used synonymously although they’re not quite the same thing but are intrinsically linked.


Distributed Ledger Technology describes how parties have identical copies of a database of transactions. Blockchain is the software protocol used by the network of computers that ensures that the data is synchronised, secured and immutable.

Examples of it’s uses


● Digital Asset Register

● Microinsurance

● Medical Prescriptions

● Death certificates

● Trade finance

● Supply chain

● Food safety

● Fashion

● Governance

○ Voting systems

○ Land registry

○ Customs control

○ Identity and e-signature

○ Benefit payment

○ Charitable giving

○ Taxation

○ Digital legal advice


It’s all about privacy, transparency, speed, quality and trust.


Examples of live production blockchain implementations in insurance:


1. Blocksure – Renters insurance (Covea) , Indonesia group policy, Japanese property

2. B3I – Reinsurance – Unity – Global Risk Transfer

3. ChainThat – Bermuda Reinsurance

4. Insurewave – MS-Amlin, WTW, XL Catlin – Marine Hull

5. Etherisc – AoN, Flight Delay, Crop Protection

6. Immediate (Singapore) – “Smart Insurance platform”

7. Skyline Partners (London) - index-based parametric insurance

8. iChain (Tokyo) – Risk placement platform

9. Piprate (Ireland) – Insurance data

10. VouchForMe – Motor

11. Teambrella – p2p mutual small item insurance

12. Nexus Mutual – p2p mutual smart contract cover

13. Poleecy (Italy) – micro insurance

14. Medishares/MutualDAO – p2p DAO DeFi insurance

15. Safeshare – sharer insurance

16. Surety Bond (Zurich Insurance) – Benelux

17. Evident - Gig proof of insurance – Marsh

18. Critical Illness – Huatai P+C

19. Xiang Hu Bao – Medical Claims


 

Useful links and resources:


Miro Board on cross-industry DLT projects : https://miro.com/app/board/o9J_kolgjJE=/


Insureblocks podcasts (lots of listening material on DLT use, predominantly in insurance)


Blockchain Explained (CII)





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