The Many Uses of Blockchain Today.
More than just currencies: Some of blockchain’s more interesting uses.
While most people think of BitCoin when they hear blockchain, the paradigm can be used for many more things. Here we take a look at some of the most exciting up-and-coming uses for it.
Blockchain, the backbone behind bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, is experiencing a boom. While some analysts dismissed it initially, and some consider it a fad even today, certain markets are listening. These markets aren’t worrying so much about cryptocurrencies or banking uses for blockchain. Instead, they are thinking of groundbreaking ways to use the technology.
It’s not an uncommon situation. Many of the things we use daily were originally created for something else. Particularly in the pharmacy field, medications originally created to deal with an ailment end up being used for something else. In technology, the same can happen, and several entrepreneurs are betting on blockchain for this.
New ideas for old markets
Blockchain is, in essence, a permanent ledger where transactions are stored. While engineered to handle BitCoin, there’s nothing tying the technology to banking. This is why, although created with an intention, there are proposals – and actual projects – attempting to give it new uses.
One of the details one needs to understand about Blockchain is that it isn’t a software. Instead, it’s a paradigm, or a model. As a result, it is completely open and anyone with enough knowledge can create their own blockchain. Many of the existing blockchains even allow for developers to work on them.
This openness is important, because it leads to a second point: Not all blockchains are equal. The paradigm establishes a base, but each implementation can change things to better suit its goals. Every blockchain out there has been optimized for its specific goals. And, more importantly, any new blockchains
can be changed to better suit any purposes.
These modified blockchains are the ones that might revolutionize our world. And while not all of them will see the light of the day, or gain success, they all hold promise.
EOS, a step beyond Ethereum
An implementation of blockchain 3.0, EOS aims to take the Ethereum blockchain and fixing some of its flaws. However, calling EOS a cryptocurrency would be doing it a disservice. Just like Ethereum, which runs hundreds of blockchain-based projects, EOS plans on serving as a blockchain platform.
It’s not a surprise that such projects exist. After all, Ethereum is the most widely used blockchain in the world. While BitCoin is the most common buzzword tied to blockchain, Ethereum is the one implementation taking over. This is mostly because, while BitCoin focus on payments, Ethereum focuses on application development.
This separate focus has actually created problems for the blockchain. While it is potent, it is also almost prohibitively expensive, requiring an absurd amount of processing to run each day. As if that wasn’t enough, it has a massive scalability problem, allowing it to process only 20 transactions per second.
Scalability is, therefore, a problem. To put it in context, VISA can process 24000 transactions per second, and PayPal 200. If Ethereum, or any current blockchain, wants to become a main player, they will have to scale.
EOS is aiming precisely towards that, stating the full network should handle 50,000 transactions per second. It attains this using parallel processing, allowing the blockchain to process both apps and transactions at the same time.
Some players in the market have doubts that EOS will actually attain this. Just as well, many others believe in its promise and expect it to become the new big blockchain. In a tech market where scalability is a problem, EOS promises a fix that might force existing players to upgrade.
Invading the sharing economy and more
Another of the emerging economic models, the sharing economy, is also seeing a boon thanks to blockchain. This portion of the economy, based on renting instead of buying, includes lucrative businesses like Uber and AirBnB.
More specifically, blockchain could take over the real estate part of the sharing economy, if not the market itself. Blockchain-based businesses like Rentberry are currently leading the charge, by offering quick and easy ways to rent and find rentals.
Unlike AirBnB, which works with occasional rentals and operates in an often-gray area, all RentBerry transactions are transparent. As a side effect of sorts, RentBerry only operates with mid-to-long term rentals, foregoing the vacation aspect of AirBnB. This gives them a smaller market but also allows them to focus on a specific problem: renting can be a huge hassle.
The process of finding a place to live in, or finding tenants for your rental, is long and complex. There’s a lot of paperwork and background checks involved, and deals can fall through at the eleventh hour. Rentberry aims to fix this by keeping all data, both from tenants and landlords, on the blockchain. With this, it expects to create a blockchain-based database where each user’s reputation follows them around.
On top of easing all background checks, renting agreements are greatly sped up. By using smart contracts, rental agreements can be drafted and signed within minutes. This cuts off many of the middlemen, resulting in a quicker, simpler, and cheaper process for everyone involved.
Cozying up with the music industry and streaming
One of the most common complaints artists have about the current music industry is streaming. The issue isn’t streaming itself, but the payouts artists receive from sites such as Apple Music and Spotify. Taylor Swift’s longstanding vendetta against Spotify a couple years ago was based on that, payments. And while some platforms, like Tidal, have tried to fix existing issues, none has offered a fair deal for both parties.
Enter blockchain, and Choon.
Just as with other blockchain-based enterprises, Choon attempts to revolutionize the streaming market by cutting out the middleman. This means it deals with artists directly, instead of record labels, allowing them to earn better money.
This means that, for now, Choon mostly deals with independent artists. However, it’s difficult to think no big names will feel attracted to this model soon enough. After all, a portion of the industry has been fighting to own the rights to their songs. Famously, Prince never allowed for his albums to be available on streaming during his lifetime due to the required deals. While nobody can be sure, if a platform might have attracted the songwriter’s attention, that would be Choon.
The bottom line is always money, and Choon is offering hute payouts. Reports say Choon pays up to $1.63 per stream, more than a hundred times what Spotify or Apple offer. As with many blockchain-based companies, killing the middleman allows Choon to put the money where the talent is.
There’s more. The blockchain allows for a ledger of every single song played in the platform to become available. This means artists can always know exactly how much they are owed – eliminating the secrecy most streaming services swear by.
It’s this lack of data obfuscation what might give Choon’s model the upper hand in other markets. Over the last decade, streaming movies or tv series via Netflix and a handful other platforms has become mainstream. However, payments are an issue for the market. Streaming platforms refuse to publish data on viewership, negating providers information of how much they really are owed.
It’s a confidence-based market, and blockchain could well revolutionize it. While still far from happening, there’s a good chance soon enough we’ll see a spinoff of Choon’s model attempting to take on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Disney.
The bottom line
While blockchain is known in the mainstream for being the paradigm behind cryptocurrencies, its uses extend far beyond. Every day new companies are announced using the technology. Even when many won’t necessarily flourish, blockchain’s versatility has been more than proven by now. The only thing we wonder now is how many markets will be changed by it, and in which ways.