Blockchain technology is definitely gaining ground in insurance. In June, Allianz Risk Transfer and Nephila Capital announced they had successfully piloted a catastrophe swap using blockchain smart contract technology. In the case of cat swaps, and potentially cat bonds, when a triggering event occurs that meets the agreed conditions, the smart contract, which holds the collateral funds from both parties, would automatically activate and determine the payouts to or from the contract parties. Allianz is also looking into extending the use of blockchain into contracts with B2B partners and potentially policies for retail customers.
John Hancock is studying the use of blockchain technology to enhance client experience with new wealth management customers in a collaboration between its Lab of Forward Thinking and separate companies ConsenSys and BlockApps. PwC is launching a research project with London think-tank Z/Yen to study the potential of blockchain in wholesale insurance. According to a Z/Yen report, blockchain technology could help reduce identity and claim fraud and speed adjustments in coverage and pricing locally and globally. Blockchain could also encourage peer-to-peer and “mini-mutual” insurance platforms.
For now, the most common use of blockchain technology remains digital currencies, such as bitcoin. To spend, save and receive those bitcoins, however, you will need a digital wallet, which comes as a mobile app. The app lets you make secure transactions with bitcoins.
Blockchain bills itself as the world’s most popular bitcoin wallet and allows you to send and receive bitcoins from anyone anywhere. With more than 3.5 million users, Coinbase is a very popular choice and lets you buy bitcoins with your credit card. Other apps include Airbitz and Breadwallet, which has an Android version coming, and Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet for Android.