Blockchain is blowing up our news feeds, and there’s good reason why: its ability to record and protect digital data will change the way we live in most facets of our life.
While the newest technology may sound intimidating, the reality is the concept is pretty straightforward. Simply put blockchain is basically a completely transparent ledger. It records every transaction in existence for a certain coin, and anyone can look at those transactions.
When you hear references of “a certain coin,” that is called cryptocurrency. It’s a type of digital currency, like Bitcoin, Ethereum or a company-made coin (like Spectiv’s Signal Tokens). A cryptocurrency is the only type of cash that can be recorded on the blockchain.
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Now that we’ve got the lingo out of the way, here a few examples of the technology’s capabilities and how Senter sees them changing the way we live:
One of the core functions of blockchain technology is the ability to autonomously record every transaction—without the need for human intervention. Each blockchain will store unique data, depending on its use. For example, the Bitcoin blockchain will automatically record data like the sender, receiver and the amount of coins.
In the financial sector, we can see how this would be useful for ensuring good accounting practices. Companies that use blockchain can have every transaction automatically go on the ledger without depending on an accountant to correctly record transactions.
This is already happening in the gas and oil industry. They’re setting up systems where all of the energy trading is happening on the blockchain, so all of the trades are automatically put on ledgers. This way every trade is recorded autonomously without having an additional employee whose job it is to scour order books and put the trades in order. It just happens automatically.
Another blockchain advantage is the ability to exchange value without needing to trust the recipient or require a central entity, like a bank, credit card or other type of middleman. In the Ethereum platform, these are called smart contracts.
According to Ethereum, smart contracts are self-executing contractual states, stored on the blockchain, which nobody controls and therefore everyone can trust.
How does this happen? Using a real-life example, it’s like hiring a plumber: People who do housework have a reputation for not doing the best job possible, identifying problems that don’t exist, or overcharging you for parts. If all of that existed on the blockchain, a plumber’s charges for a new toilet would be visible to you. And if the plumber didn’t actually fix your toilet, the smart contract would refund you back. But if he did a good job, the tokens automatically get released to the plumber, and he doesn’t have to fear getting a bounced check.
Smart contracts not only create a trustless relationship between vendors, they also cut out any systematic fees since there’s no middleman. A win for both sides of the financial agreement.
Real World Data
Blockchain can host more than just financial transactions. It can also store real world data, like your driver’s license, passport or credit card information. That is why it is revolutionary, “The purpose is for a company like Civic that’s trying to create an ecosystem where you have your personal information on the blockchain. It’s secure so the public can’t see it, but you’ll have a single [application] that represents your driver’s license, credit cards and passport.
The ability to host real world data is also being used in countries like Africa to represent identities of people, which is critical in a place where little to no standards of documentation exist, and as a solution to combat child trafficking in Moldova.
The Best Is Yet To Come
The space is still is in infant stages. Autonomous entries, trustless contractual relationships and real-world data hosting is just the tip of the iceberg. As the industry spends more time in development, we will surely see more incredible applications in the future.
Article by Dylan Senter, CEO and co-founder of Spectiv
About the Author
Dylan Senter is the CEO of Spectiv VR, a decentralized platform that enables users and organizations to stream their unique virtual reality experiences to the world. In addition, to his role at Spectiv VR, Dylan is currently a co-founder with Sensytec, a smart materials technology startup that has received over $3M in R&D funding to date. He is also an experienced e-commerce expert, operating his own Amazon storefront (SuperSenter) that generated >$500,000 in sales for 2016. His entrepreneurial achievements earned him honors and scholarship from the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2015. His specialties are in business development, marketing, and growth strategies.