The Age Of The Blockchain: An Introduction
The age of the blockchain has arrived, like a train through the living room wall. While technology companies like Uber can disrupt the hugely entrenched taxi industry we’re currently witnessing the dawn of a new technology era. It could well be as disruptive as the internet was in the 90s.
When discussing blockchains its important to understand how the blockchain relates to currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. In many ways, we could say that Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin are a lot like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. They are all things that end customers know about, use, enjoy and discuss. In this analogy, blockchain technology is like the internet. Without it, Facebook couldn’t exist, but equally, it’s not required to understand the internet to be able to use Facebook. Which is a good thing! However, those that do understand the underlying technology are the people which are able to build systems which add value to humankind on top of it.
To date, we’ve only really seen the tip of the iceberg of what blockchains can enable and the ways in which they will change all of our lives – whether we’re into cryptocurrencies or not!
In order to look at which industries are likely to be disrupted in the age of the blockchain, it’s important to understand the technologies that cryptocurrencies have brought about.
New Incentive Structures In The Age Of The Blockchain
One of the biggest benefits of digital currency is in its ability to instantly transfer value across the globe, with no threat of government intervention, high fees, or slow transaction times. This creates an entirely new way to bring incentive consumers and businesses in the digital economy. This is something that Satoshi Nakamoto could never have imagined in the Bitcoin white paper. The ability to bring new incentives to the digital economy has brought streamlined solutions to the content industry.
There is a misalignment in the content industry, with centralised third-party services like YouTube taking a lot of fees from content creators who work hard to produce relevant and engaging content for viewers. Blockchain projects are creating decentralised systems of content that benefits both creators and viewers alike, with incentivisation through native cryptocurrency tokens.
Steem allows content creators to retain almost all of their earnings and users to directly give to content creators. Furthermore, its proof-of-brain consensus mechanism encourages content creation growth among its user base. Tron is a completely decentralised, peer-to-peer content sharing network where content is not censored and obtainable in exchange for digital assets. Digital advertising projects like the Brave Browser with its Basic Attention Token are also set to become a new way of driving advertising dollars via web content.
Smart Contracts In The Age Of The Blockchain
Once the success of cryptocurrency for digital payments was obvious, the next technological innovation, smart contracts, amplified use cases for digital currencies across the board. First created by Nick Szabo in 1994, smart contracts did not become well-known until the growth of Ethereum over the past several years. By being able to program stipulations of payments and other processes between multiple parties, smart contracts give flexibility to the digital currency that was not previously seen, especially when it comes to real estate renting, ownership, and transfer of title.
It might be a surprise to people not in the industry, but the real estate business is riddled with inefficiencies. Land registry databases have historically been suboptimal and transfer of land and/or property hard to track, this is why tests to bring property title transfers to the blockchain are already underway in the United States. RexMLS is using the blockchain to change the landscape of real estate market data which up until this point has been inefficient and siloed. Atlant is aimed at creating a more seamless real estate investment and rental ecosystem. There is now even a professional association that has formed to bring together industry leaders ready to change real estate through the use of blockchain technology.