The Potential of Blockchain
The technology has a significant impact on our lives from all points of view. From a few years this new technology that started to take over the mainstream attention is the blockchain, the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum.
Technically speaking is not a great invention because the resources behind it could have built the blockchain right when we connected two computers. In other words, blockchain could have started right at the moment when the internet was “given” to masses. However, the idea behind the blockchain is starting to gain more and more attention. It holds promises for every business, society and to all of us, individually.
It all started in 2008 when the financial industry crashed. An anonymous person named Satoshi Nakamoto developed a protocol for a digital cash that used an underlying cryptocurrency called Bitcoin. For the first time in human history, people can transact with each other anywhere in the world, in a few seconds with insignificant fees. For the first time, the trust is given by collaboration, cryptography and a smart computing code.
We must mention that Bitcoin is a digital asset. Most of the times digital assets are not stored by a central authority, they are distributed globally through the internet, of course, using cryptography. In Bitcoins case, when a transfer occurs, the detail of the transfer is introduced in a public ledger. The ledger is built and maintained by all the computers that are connected between them (which is the most powerful computer networks in the world). These computers are called “miners”.
The Bitcoin’s blockchain is not the only one. There are many other digital assets that are created with the blockchain technology: Ethereum - smart contracts. Monero - anonymous transactions and many more. For example, on the Ethereum blockchain is a project going on that the purpose is to create a new stock market, to bring the democracy to a new level.
Let’s describe only three ways that blockchain technology can change our lives:
1. Land titles
People who have land have a fragile title to it. For example, you own a farm inherited from your parents. The state is coming to you saying that “we know you’ve got a paper that says you own this land, but the government computer says it is not your property”.
It might look like from book stories, but unfortunately happened many times, affecting the lives of millions of people worldwide. On the other hand, governments started to work with companies building a blockchain so they can put the land titles there. The good part is, blockchain can’t be hacked.
2. Money transfer
One of the biggest flow of fund are remittances. This is the global diaspora. People that left their lands and now they are sending money back to their families. For every person who sends money is a real adventure. First they have to go to a bank to send the money back home plus the fees that are about 10-30%. The other part is that depending on where the person sends the money, the receiver has to wait between 1-7 days. The blockchain is the solution to this issues that are frustrating for everyone who sends or receives money across borders.
3. The virtual you
A very powerful asset is data. Today by simply using the internet we create and introduce new data. We leave trails of digital data everything we do. Imagine all the likes you gave, or the posts you’ve made, the pictures you upload, or even how many times you shopped online. All of these actions are there. The collectors have information about you that can create a “virtual you”. And the virtual you is not owned by you.
Of course, there are lots of other examples of how the blockchain can solve many problems from our daily lives. Problems like voting and legislation, cloud storage, ridesharing, crowd-funding, passports, criminal records, health inspections, signatures, grades, movie/books/music licenses and so on.
Once again, the technology proved us how useful can be, but we have to keep in mind that technology does not create prosperity. People do.