We’re living in the information age, but it turns out not all that information is really secure. As we saw in the Cambridge Analytica scandal recently, there are massive amounts of consumer data being mined every time you visit any website or social media app, and it’s not always being used the way you intended for it to be used. When you allow yourself to be tracked via cookies or you sign away your privacy to figure out which Ancient Egyptian ruler you would have been that information becomes more valuable than gold in the wrong hands. Fortunately there are technologies being developed to combat this problem, and those technologies are being built using blockchain technology.
What is blockchain technology, anyway? It is not cryptocurrency or Bitcoin, but rather it is the technology on which cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are built. It is a ledger connected in the form of a chain that embeds part of the information from the previous link into the new link to ensure accuracy and make tampering immediately evident. While cryptocurrency is built on this technology that’s not the only application and more applications are being discovered every day.
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Public blockchains are being used to allow people to make peer-to-peer payments without the need for a middleman like a bank. It allows people to make peer-to-peer contracts without the need for lawyers and notaries. Landlords and tenants can make a rental agreement on the blockchain, outlining terms and penalties, and then use that same blockchain to track payments made with cryptocurrency, keeping everything on the up and up. Most importantly, though, blockchain technology has the ability to save us time, money, and privacy.
Figuring out new things to put on the blockchain has become a multi-million dollar industry, and it is projected to be a $7.7 billion industry by 2022. There are currently more than 86,000 blockchain projects on Github, and while only a small percentage of those projects survive to become real world applications the popularity of this new technology is apparent. Cryptocurrency is the most well-known application of blockchain technology, but it may not end up being the best one discovered when all is said and done.
Blockchain technology may not save the world, but it definitely gives us a new avenue for preventing many of the problems that seem unsolvable today. Learn more about potential applications for blockchain technology from this infographic.