Understanding The Blockchain Technology Beyond Cryptocurrency
In November of 2015, a couple, Kim Jackson and Zach LeBeau, were married on the blockchain. Most people only think of blockchain as something to do with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and nothing more. But a blockchain can store more than just currency units and be put into other uses. Essentially, the blockchain offers a distributed means to verify and guarantee transactions which ultimately gives you the chance to cut out middlemen.
According to Gartner, the blockchain technology will in the long term lead to reformation of entire industries. Already, major companies are adopting blockchain as a means to simplify and strengthen their supply chains. Blockchain could be used to record each product step and guarantee the origin of items like food.
One pioneering advancement brought about by blockchain is a lock that is opened by money. You just need to pay through a blockchain transaction to close and open the smart lock with your smart devices. Slock is the company that’s come up with this ingenious lock by taking advantage of another of blockchain’s uses; automated security. Blockchain assures your security by using code embedded on it to grant or deny access depending on who is requesting.
The blockchain can also be used for peer-to-peer exchanges or sale. If you have an unused item like a laptop charger or something else that your peer may need, you can rent it out and get paid in bitcoins through a blockchain smart contract.
Since blockchain is a ledger that is incorruptible and enhances transparency, it has a huge potential to create social change. One of the areas this has manifested itself is in the protection of human rights of every individual. In 2017, the UNWFP sent more than 10,000 Syrian refugees cryptocurrency based vouchers. An ambitious project that offers refugees blockchain IDs and bitcoin credit cards is known as Bitnation. This enables them to have emergency identification as well as receive funds without the necessity for a bank account.
Other examples of how blockchain protects our human rights are:
- Creating financial avenues for the most impoverished-acts like a bank for those without bank accounts. You don’t get charged to transfer money and as long as you have access to a smartphone, you can conveniently access money.
- Preventing voter fraud-blockchain technology can provide an unhackable electronic vote-counting system.
- Improve government efficiency by accelerating their capabilities and ensuring security as most processes are susceptible to corruption.
Blockchain automation is another emerging trend. For example in home automation, a sensor could report a damp to the blockchain. This triggers instructions for repair funds to be transferred from an insurer to a claimant’s account even before you notice anything wrong. A digital currency automated with your walking has been launched which pays you to walk. According to the creators, it offers an added incentive to keep fit and the coins you earn can be spent at your local store.
Some ideas may look like solutions anticipating problems but some are linked to real needs. The cryptocurrency craze just goes to show that the genie is already out of the bag and even though it won’t be here tomorrow, it’s coming. Blockchain has and will go beyond bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. However, as it’s set to disrupt quite a lot, we’ll wait and see the direction it will take.
What uses do you see blockchain being put to? Let us know in the comments below.