Do you need a Blockchain?

Blockchain technology has the potential to profoundly change all areas of our society. As a construct of the concepts of the digital signature, proof of work or proof of stake and the consensus algorithm, it combines previously incompatible concepts:

Do you need a Blockchain?

  • Decentralisation,
  • security and
  • trust.

In order to get a better overview of the different areas of application, the categories to which most use cases can be assigned, regardless of the industry, are listed below:

Digital Identity Management: Many people have certainly come up with the idea of managing digital identities. Not least Facebook and Google, which are integrated as registration services in many online services. From the user’s point of view, this is both convenient and questionable, as it is not always obvious when which data is passed on to third parties and for what purpose. The decisive factor in this category is the purpose, namely the storage of personal data that can be validated and thus used for authentication for other services.

Market creation and digital currencies: This category refers to the creation of new markets. Usually, this is a blockchain-based market on which goods or services can be traded. All cryptocurrency applications are examples of this category. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in which investor funds are collected in an initial funding phase are also examples of market development.

Origin and tokenisation: In tokenisation, a real object that represents an asset is converted into a digital asset. The value is transferred to tokens and uniquely assigned to an owner. The tracking mechanism can be used to prove the origin and ownership of an object at any time (provenance).

Meta-consensus: Meta-consensus is one of the fundamental paradigms of the blockchain, as all participants must agree on a “chain”. This use case category is about finding and reaching consensus on a specific issue without being able to manipulate the outcome of the election. Examples are parliamentary elections, referendums or the votes of shareholders or contracts between several parties.

Tracking. Tracking is about the transparent, permanent storage and traceability of information that is relevant for several organisations. A good example is use cases from supply chain management, as data on transport goods is necessary both for individual suppliers and for checking adherence to laws and guidelines (compliance).

IoT – Internet of Things: Machines that interact on the blockchain like we humans do in real life and exchange goods and services via a wallet are part of the IoT category. An example is the automatic payment of tolls or parking fees, which can be paid by the car, which has a unique ID. Smart contracts, which are executed automatically without external intervention, also belong to this category.

Intermediary trust: Due to the characteristics outlined at the beginning, the blockchain has the potential to reduce the participants in a value chain to those that are really necessary, i.e. only those that actually contribute to an increase in value. Services and goods can thus be offered much more cheaply. One example is the energy sector, where it is possible to directly connect producers and consumers thanks to the blockchain.

We don't need a Blockchain!

The use of a blockchain solution should be viewed critically if it involves the storage of large amounts of data, there are many write accesses and a real-time data set is necessary or only a few participants are involved.


The applications of blockchain are as diverse as our lives. Nevertheless, it is often difficult to judge when its use really makes sense. “If trust or robustness are not important, then there is nothing which a blockchain offers that can’t be done with a regular database.” Gideon Greenspan – Founder of Coin Science.

Quellen: Ulrich Gallersdörfer Masterthesis: Analysis of Use Cases of Blockchain Technology in Legal Transactions, zuletzt geprüft am: 05.02.2020

Cathy Mulligan (April 2018) These 11 questions will help you decide if blockchain is right for your Business, zuletzt geprüft am 05.02.2020

T. Koens & E. Poll 2018 What Blockchain Alternative Do You Need?, zuzletzt geprüft am: 05.02.2020

DHS model (~end 2017) Dylan Yaga Peter Mell Nik Roby Karen Scarfone Blockchain Technology Overview , zuletzt geprüft am: 05.02.2020