Blockchain Opportunities Beyond Financial Services
What is Blockchain?
The Blockchain is like a spreadsheet that everyone can access, but no one can edit. A spreadsheet works with columns and rows, but the Blockchain uses blocks. Each block is a compilation of data. We add data to the blocks and then connect it to other blocks in chronological order until it creates a chain. Blockchain is a distributed ledger. What does “distributed ledger” mean? It means that it’s spread out among peers in a network. Each peer has a copy.
Blockchain technology has intertwined itself with the world of finance and business. Imagine having the technology to store anything of value in a very secure and private manner — things like money, contracts, titles, and intellectual property. You can store them without the need for intermediaries like banks and governments.
“Why to use blockchain?” some people might ask. It’s simple – this system, being free of pesky intermediaries as it is, is almost impossible to game or cheat.
So, the hype surrounding Blockchain isn’t mere empty chatter. Industry experts and professionals agree that Blockchain will disrupt the financial services industry in more ways than one. Finance isn’t the only field with applications and opportunities for Blockchain. The technology can flourish in other sectors.
Ownership or Authorship of Art and Other Intellectual Property
There are various platforms today for artists, singers, composers, and other creators. Many of the platforms allow them to attribute their digital creations via Blockchain. Ascribe is an example of this kind of platform. Its marketplace will enable users to have digital editions of their work appended. Each has a unique ID and a digital certificate of authenticity. There’s no need to go to dealers and publishers anymore because the transaction forms a direct connection with the creator and the consumer.
The truth about Blockchain is that it’s like one vast global ledger that is open to anyone to contribute. It’s closed enough not to let anyone, or any entity control it. This attribute makes it powerful to use in data management. Many companies use identity ledgers based on Blockchain to support applications. An example would be Factom.
The most common use of Blockchain is to store funds and financial transactions. We can also use it to store all kinds of digital data in a very secure way, including personal information.
Some companies provide identity management services that are wholly-blockchain based. Examples are Civic, Identifi, and UniquID Wallet. Civic allows users to regulate their identity online. They can lock down their identity if needed to stave off identity theft. They can also use it to fend off fraudulent credit card activity.
Since Blockchain is transparent and secure, e-voting is a logical application. A company called Follow My Vote is currently developing a radical online platform. It will promote transparency in elections. How? By allowing voters to audit the results themselves.
The Republic of Estonia has used e-voting for its stock market. With the help of Nasdaq, it set up the system to allow shareholders to vote. Today, it’s used at meetings of companies listed on Nasdaq’s Tallinn Stock Exchange.
Gambling and Gaming
It’s not unheard of to use Blockchain in gaming. It is one of the most popular non-finance-related blockchain applications. A game called Etheria is wholly dependent on the Ethereum blockchain. Every digital item owned by the player in-game is stored on this Blockchain. FirstBlood is another smart-contract Blockchain gaming platform. Players can challenge one other and win rewards.
Shared ledgers and cryptographic keys are incentives for users to secure digital relationships. It has imaginations running wild, and everyone is seeking to build this transaction layer. Digital transactions rely on authentication and authorization. The configuration of Blockchain technology establishes both. We can apply Blockchain to any need for a trustworthy system of record.