Blockchain Means So Much More Than Crypto

While the financial industry’s eyes are on crypto, blockchains are already making major changes.

AccessTimeIconAug 25, 2022 at 12:50 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:08 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconAug 25, 2022 at 12:50 p.m. UTCUpdated May 11, 2023 at 6:08 p.m. UTCLayer 2
AccessTimeIconAug 25, 2022 at 12:50 p.m. UTCUpdated May 11, 2023 at 6:08 p.m. UTCLayer 2

Use the word “blockchain” in a conversation and the topic will likely gravitate to one of a handful of topics prominent in the news, like cryptocurrencies, the metaverse and Web3.

Theoretical, next-generation technology trends tend to dominate technology discussions. Blockchains have spawned entirely new asset classes for investors in cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFT), and they will power a new generation of innovations built on nebulous concepts like metaverse and Web3.

But the real power of blockchain will first be felt in more conventional areas, according to Kieran James-Lubin, CEO of BlockApps. BlockApps is a blockchain technology firm focused on real-world implementations of the technology to help businesses run more efficient and secure processes.

“You hear something different from most blockchain people. Maybe it’s a personality thing, but I think the greatest promise for blockchain technology is in improving the world as it is today,” said James-Lubin. “It’s less about creating a whole new world on a blockchain for all of us to inhabit, or all of these interesting new asset classes.”

You're reading Crypto for Advisors, a weekly look at digital assets and the future of finance for financial advisors. Subscribe here to receive the mailing every Thursday.

Practical applications of blockchain already

BlockApps looks for transactions where there is insufficient trust and transparency. To start, James-Lubin has found particular opportunity in the food industry, where there’s increased focus among consumers and restaurants on knowing where food comes from.

Using a blockchain, BlockApps can help food producers and consumers track where their food has been and what processes it has undergone, from seed to table.

“We’re starting to see more demand from the consumer side for transparency into what’s happening in supply chains, and this phenomenon started with food,” James-Lubin said. “In the grocery store, you may see labels saying things like product from Argentina or Australia, or organic, and people used to take the retailer’s word for it. Now they want to know what it actually means – which farms did the food come from, what has happened to these products along the way.”

BlockApps provides similar services for environmental and social governance (ESG), offering a blockchain application that helps track carbon footprints and offsets throughout a value or supply chain.

In yet another application, BlockApps uses blockchain to help the city of Reno, Nevada, track and maintain information on historic properties.

“In some cases, they had been using sort of an all-email system to keep track of all of this, but now they’ve digitized all of their information and on the blockchain the record is immutable,” James-Lubin said. “It’s an interesting use case that impacts their day-to-day operations.”

James-Lubin points out that there are a couple of trillion blockchain-native assets in the crypto space, but over $500 trillion in traditional assets are still waiting to be tokenized.

Future applications of blockchain in crypto

James-Lubin knows cryptocurrencies are an important innovation of blockchain technology.

“They’re amazing,” he said. “One slightly cynical way to look at it, though, is that if you remove regulation as a barrier, even for a few years, and allow programmable financial services, you end up seeing a lot of rapid innovation – some of it unsavory, some of it fascinating.”

NFTs, though not precisely an asset class, are another useful blockchain innovation, according to James-Lubin, as they may allow for new business models involving long-running residuals to artists, creators and publishers.

Near-term applications of blockchain

Eventually, much of the world’s wealth will reside on, or be tracked by, blockchains, but one of the first areas to be impacted will be real property, according to James-Lubin.

“Most of that wealth will be land, land titles and real property,” he said. “If you think about the experience of purchasing and owning a home, the way we manage those records on a municipal and state level is archaic. There’s a sense of urgency to apply a more transparent, real-time system to these assets, and blockchain solves a lot of those problems.”

Blockchain also creates a useful settlement layer on which to trade traditional assets more efficiently. While publicly traded stocks and some bonds are already easily and efficiently traded, other assets such as private securities and other forms of debt are often traded in opaque and inefficient manners.

Furthermore, the process to invest in private funds and securities is often time and resource consuming, a process blockchains can help facilitate via automation.

“Right now, public markets work pretty well. In the long term, blockchain will be applied to them. But in the nearer term, there are certain niches where there isn’t good market infrastructure, and that’s where the technology will take hold first,” said James-Lubin.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Christopher Robbins

Christopher Robbins is a nationally recognized journalist who has been featured as a speaker and panelist on topics including investing, personal finance and wealth management. He is a contributing writer for CoinDesk’s Crypto for Advisors newsletter.