The last decade brought a lot of terms to the online space. These terms are constantly buzzing around – cryptocurrency, blockchain, bitcoin, initial coin offering. But what does it all really mean? In this article, we are going to be discussing blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology offers a way for different people who do not really trust each other to come together and reach a common consensus on a digital transaction and history. A common history is important because a digital transaction can easily be duplicated and/or faked. Blockchain solves this biting problem without the use of a middle man.
Blockchain has many uses and this has made its use and acceptance to be growing daily by individuals and businesses. Apart from removing the issue of intermediary between transactions, it saves a lot of costs. The money that would have gone to the middlemen like banks and other financial institutions is saved. Let’s explore some of its other uses.
- It can be used to establish ownership over a number of physical assets. These physicals assets could be cars, lands, musical instruments, artwork, and others. In normal circumstances, a record of title on paper is prone to degradation physically and also a forgery. Even centralized databases are prone to human error, hacking, and/or tampering. But using a blockchain means there is no longer a single entity that will control the ledger. In other words, when you record physical assets on a blockchain, you are simply using this technology to track ownership with a neutral and resilient system.
- It can also be used in virtual reality. If a virtual world is created for gaming for instance, or for any number of other reasons blockchain technology allows users to purchase and own pieces of the virtual world, just like they would buy a plot of land. To some people this may seem extreme but a company Decentraland is already working on it.
- It presents a better way of establishing identity. Blockchain technology represent a better means of establishing identity. The identity of anyone could be verified on an open, global blockchain controlled by nobody and trusted by everybody instead of a state or government issuing it. Therefore, users control their own identity. The Equifax hack which happened in 2017 exposed the social security numbers of more than 143m Americans. Blockchain could prevent this.
Blockchain also helps in building a decentralised internet. A company Blockstack, which uses blockchain technology, hopes to build a new decentralized internet where users own their data and apps run locally. If this works, the company Blockstack could disrupt many of the internet giants that act as middlemen today like Google and Facebook.