Regarding public awareness, blockchain has yet to escape the shadow of Bitcoin. While it is understandable that there is such a connection (the first was developed specifically for this last, let's not forget it), more people should know that blockchain technology is not just a tool for Bitcoin, or even for the world of cryptocurrency . It has many more possible uses that will continue to emerge regardless of the fortunes of Bitcoin.
In the coming years, we're likely to see a wide range of systems, methods and companies that adapt blockchain technology for different purposes and in different ways, but we do not really need to look forward to seeing the innovation it can bring, because has been going on for a while.
In this article, we will examine 5 innovative uses of the blockchain technology currently being worked on (and in many cases already implemented). Let's begin.
Scalable cloud processing
One of the ongoing problems with the job proof model used by Bitcoin to verify transactions is the amount of energy needed for processing. In fact, the discharge of electricity is colossal, almost as much as that of an entire country, and will continue to become more severe. And while there are several possible solutions (including completely eliminating the work trial model and finding a suitable substitute), there is at least one that does not plan to eliminate that processing, but rather to propose it again.
To this end, the Golem network was developed. By not using any central processing, it relies entirely on blockchain extraction, taking the assigned tasks and subdividing them into test calculations of the work to be performed all over the world. Consider it a bit like crowdsourcing or sharing P2P files, or – even closer – the [email protected] project. Organizations that need huge amounts of data processing can simply rent the Golem network and scale at any required level.
If all of Bitcoin's mining activity could be levied in this way for practical applications, it would cease to be "wasted" and become perfectly justified. It is a natural case to kill two birds with one stone. Moreover, since blockchain technology is ideal for sensitive data and anything requiring security and anonymity, it is a natural choice to store data once processing is complete.
Security of physical exchange
The remarkable convenience of today's interconnected world is accompanied by strings, because supply chains are now longer and more complex than ever before. Due to convoluted processes, unclear responsibilities and a myriad of expense elimination schemes, some products circumnavigate the globe several times before reaching their destinations. And even if the inefficiency of international trade could also be something that could eventually contribute to blockchain, we are examining another problem: the security of the exchange.
The more expensive the transport of the item, the more vital it is that each step of the chain is considered in order to confirm legitimacy and ensure that no other subject is able to tamper with anything. And it might seem dramatic, but keep in mind that we're not just talking about laptops shipped from abroad – we're also talking about contracts, organs, priceless artifacts and anything else that needs to be shipped with high-level security.
To help with this type of security, companies like Chronicled are working on systems for complete monitoring of shipping trips with an adequate level of reliability and sophistication.
The idea is to make sure that many of the elements involved IoT-functional, then use security measures including biometrics and smart chips to confirm that everything goes as planned. If everything is configured correctly, there will be no point during the shipping process in which someone without the required access is able to interfere – and when the object reaches its destination, the recipient will be able to confirm that it is genuine by reading its tag, then review the entire trip as they please. If something went wrong, they will be able to find out the exact circumstances.
Because something is innovative, it does not need to be particularly creative – just novel. And although the whole point of cryptocurrency (in principle at least) is to allow negotiation without the need to rely on a centralized supervision organization, this was not really the hallmark of what might have been called Bitcoin.
Instead, Bitcoin worked somehow as a general symbol, but mostly as a toy (and a gold mine) for speculative investors. Although it is indisputable that the immense increase in value of Bitcoin has broadened public awareness of the world of cryptocurrency, it has also led many people to consider it simply as another asset.
Sites like OpenBazaar, however, are working to turn that dream of original cryptocurrency into a concrete reality.
Through an unrestricted online market, you can sell products without having to pay any commission or go through conventional banking systems (although problems remain with Bitcoin's B2C profitability). While you have to start from scratch in the current iteration given the freshness of the platform (Shopify natively supports Bitcoin if you are interested in websites for sale), OpenBazaar has a well done builder, so it might be worth a try if you are trying to try online sales with a forward-looking touch.
While Bitcoin has some energy discharge problems, the blockchain has ecological uses that do not involve the amount of energy it uses along the way – and one of these is the backbone of an energy distribution program that encourages people to use the solar panels.
The problem with solar energy is that it is inconsistent and often just as expensive as other forms of energy once the panel production and installation costs are taken into account. For this reason – and the aesthetic consequences of covering a roof in solar panels – most people are not willing to seriously consider the possibility of relying on solar energy to any significant extent.
Companies like Solar Bankers, however, are trying to make solar energy more competitive and economical, and blockchain technology is an essential part of their work.
By providing smart meters that connect solar panels to power grids via blockchain networks, they enable people and communities to sell and buy energy according to their needs moment by moment, and to incentivize the use of meters further through the provision of their cryptocurrency habit in the system (adding extra value).
Make it easier to rent and purchase
The rise of Airbnb has radically changed the way people approach their travel arrangements, taking a sector that has been dominated by hotel companies and which has given it an indispensable boost of flexibility. Today, anyone with a spare room can quickly and easily rent it in the near future – but although agreements can be managed online, there are still practical elements to deal with in person.
Companies like Slock.it are trying to change it using smart blocks and blockchain-protected control systems. They imagine a world in which everything, from property to utilities, can be bought, rented or sold in an instant, all without the need for a central organization.
The Slock.it system is simple. When you want to rent a free room, for example, you find the place and pay the fare using the cryptocurrency on the Ethereum network. As soon as the transaction passes, you gain control over the room's systems, allowing you to lock or unlock at will via your smartphone.
And because of the blockchain model, any company or person can take advantage of this type of system without the need to swear loyalty to any middle management. It is a look at what is surely an inevitable future.