Bitcoin was the financial shot heard ’round the world. Though most people in America still don’t understand cryptocurrency, roughly 60% have heard of it. If you aren’t sure what Bitcoin is, or how it works, the following is a brief synopsis.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency powered by a blockchain. The blockchain (and Bitcoin itself) was created by a still-anonymous individual or group known only by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Visualize a metal chain. Each link in the chain necessarily follows the next and the chain is made of indestructible metal. What’s more, a global group of people must come together and decide if the next link in the chain belongs there, or if it is a fraudulent piece of metal. Finally, imagine that you, or anyone else in the world, can examine this unbreakable chain at any time.
Reeling it in, let’s replace the visual aid with digital transactions. If you send bitcoin to someone, the bitcoin network makes sure this is accurate. You need a majority consensus to prove that the transaction is true, and once the transaction is deemed true, nothing can reverse it. To top it off, you can see this happening in real time.
Obviously there is a lot more to it than that. But for the purpose of this article, let’s just say that the blockchain is a distributed, decentralized ledger that immutably documents and stores transactions.
Bitcoin has been a big deal for a long time, but now there are new and innovative projects vying for public attention. How else can blockchain technology impact the world? Let’s explore.
There are many cryptocurrencies out there that aren’t really currencies at all. One of them is called Bounty 0x. This token is built on the Ethereum network. Utilizing smart contracts to automatically reward people for catching hackers and bugs, this idea might be bigger than it sounds.
Damages from cyber crimes is forecast to hit $6 trillion by 2021. Hackers, crackers, and tech-savvy thieves have made out like bandits in the digital age. Bounty 0x seeks to rectify this through a decentralized network of ethical or ‘white hat’ hackers.
Data centers are booming of late. Amazon is on a not so subtle quest for world domination and data centers are playing a huge role. There are many different services that data centers can provide. First up, cost.
Of responding companies who moved to the cloud, a resounding 82% reported saving money. This is due in no small part to the amount of money invested in making data centers as energy efficient as possible. Cooling costs alone can be astronomical. Then there’s the fact that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy found that data centers are upgrading IT equipment every three to five years, likely just to keep up with the rapidly evolving industry.
These high barriers to entry place smaller businesses in the hands of large data centers due to the comparably lower costs. Storj is a decentralized cloud network. It runs on individually owned computers using blockchain technology.
The goal of this project is to decentralize data. The first reason this is desirable is that it gives people the opportunity to monetize their unused hard drive space. The second reason is that this type of network with sufficient users would be robust enough to (theoretically) never have down time. Since your information is stored on many computers, redundancy is built in. While this will likely never be as efficient as data centers, it doesn’t need to be. It secures your data from a server failure and it only uses excess space on people’s computers.
What are loyalty programs if not one company trying to create their own form of currency that can only be used in their stores? Business can’t print money that competes directly with national tender, but they can reduce the prices of that item. They can also issue credit cards that earn rewards. They can even engage people with fun games that involve buying their product for a chance to win.
Gamification strategies can lead to a drastic jump in customer engagement metrics. Anywhere from 100% to 150% is possible. To drive home the point, SalesForce Marketing Cloud conducted a study that found 83% of customers ‘love’ or ‘like’ when a business account interacts with them on social media.
If you used tokens or cryptocurrencies in place of loyalty programs or company credit cards, a whole new world would open up for marketers. It would be necessary for you to interact with their brand every day, as you must pay with their token.
There are many other projects in the fintech space that could change the way our global economy interacts and behaves. Request Network is developing an incredible automated invoicing and payment system. VeChain is building the first blockchain enterprise solutions system and incorporating immutable supply chain tracking. Other fintech startups are working on autonomous vehicles, instant and feeless transactions, deep learning, and perfect privacy.
It seems that Bitcoin is slacking a bit. That’s okay, though. Look at what Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision has brought the world…