In its early days, discussions around the Blockchain industry bordered mainly around Bitcoin and financial technology (fintech). The debate on Bitcoin as a currency or commodity lingered for some period of time, as did the question of whether Blockchain can become successfully implemented within the fintech ecosystem.
It’s now a few years down the road, and the explosive development of the Blockchain and its increasing role in various industries appears to have answered that question. Yes, Blockchain and Bitcoin are here to stay.
A casual observation of any exchange or crypto listing platform shows a litany of tokens and cryptocurrencies that represent various independent Blockchain-based products. These days, the attention is no longer concentrated on Bitcoin alone, but rather on the entire digital currency ecosystem and Blockchain technology’s encroachment into various major industries. Blockchain has so far found implementation in almost every major industry. Some of them are:
Banking and payments
This industry may be the most disrupted so far. A number of banks are already adopting Blockchain-based technology, an initiative that has proven to be cost effective and secure when compared to traditional methods. Peer-to-peer payment systems continue to grow, enabling individuals to send money across borders instantly at relatively low fees. Startups like Abra and Cashaa already implementing this system to enable remittance services across regions.
Record keeping, bureaucracy, proximity, cost and lack of transparency are some of the issues involved in buying and selling real estate. Using Blockchain-based systems, companies like ATLANT now allow individuals to tokenize their assets and make them tradeable in fractions. This eliminates the aforementioned setbacks and opens up the real estate market on a global level where anyone from any part of the world can identify and purchase even a fraction of an available property without hassles.
The problem that most donors have with charity is that often the monies contributed are diverted and end up being used for different purposes rather than the original mission. Using Blockchain, organisations like Borderless Charity and BitGive have introduced transparent and traceable donation platforms, where donors can actually monitor donations to ensure that the monies get to their designated targets.
Startups like Ujo Music are using the Blockchain to rescue music artists and other entertainers from the setbacks that they have been confronted with since the expansion of the Internet. These days, Internet users rarely pay for music or other entertainment materials since they are readily available for download or streaming online. StreamSpace is offering independent producers a level playing field to compete with their counterparts.
Using the Blockchain, artists can distribute their products directly to their fans in a secure manner, thereby ensuring that they get adequately compensated for their works.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is an attack that is becoming popular with “cyber terrorists” who focus on bringing down websites, sometimes for mischief, other times for political reasons and occasionally for ransom. Last year, an attack on domain name system (DNS) provider Dyn took down some of the Internet’s biggest websites, such as Twitter, Reddit and Amazon. Some startups are already working on Blockchain products that will use the combined unutilised bandwidth of connected computers around the world to make websites run faster and protect them from such attacks. In return, these contributors are paid for their services via a marketplace on the platform.
Educational certificates are verifiable documents that should never be altered or manipulated. Sadly, cases of forgery are common. To prevent this, certain schools and colleges, for example the University of Nicosia, have started publishing students’ certificates on the Blockchain. Because of this, the authenticity of such document is not in doubt as the data represented becomes secure and immutable.
To be continued
The list can continue indefinitely, as almost every industry is experiencing the inevitable encroachment of Blockchain implementation. The influx of products offering various solutions is creating activity within the entire ecosystem.
The current wave of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) throughout the Blockchain industry is a result of the various products that are springing up and need funds to develop. Fortunately for the creators of these products, being able to raise funds from almost anyone in the world in an unregulated environment has turned out to be another way that the Blockchain is enabling the development of its own ecosystem. Apparently, the Blockchain can be referred to as a self-replenishing industry.