Beyond disrupting the world of finance, the most mind-bending, earth-rocking uses of blockchain technology has nothing to do with money specifically.
The following four areas are examples of potential areas that blockchain could transform business in the coming years.
The future of democracy? Over at Horizon State, we’re using this same shared record book technology for voting. The same benefits we see with digital coins apply to these votes: their authenticity and legitimacy is validated by many people’s computers, and the record book of votes can never be tampered with. It exists to be recounted with the same result, forever.
The future of music? What if when you opened up an app kind of like Spotify, that instead of Spotify charging you a subscription, and paying royalties to artists, you paid the artist directly? As an example, once you’re 35 seconds into the length of a song, a cent or two was paid directly from your wallet to the artist’s. The record of what you’ve listened to and what you’ve paid is verified by many other computers, and the record is set in stone. Ujo Music and VOISE are working on ideas like this right now.
The future of file storage? Rather than store your files on Dropbox or OneDrive cloud servers, what if your files could be split up into tiny chunks and stored on thousands or millions of people’s computers around the world? The record of what parts of files you own and where they are cannot be changed – only you have the key to view the pieces as a whole, and no organisation owns your data. This is the sort of thing that Storj and Sia.Tech are working on as I write this.
The future of energy? Imagine a country filled with Tesla Powerwall equipped houses. Instead of being “off grid”, they’re very much on it – but they’re not paying an energy provider for their kWh. In fact, in this future there’s no need for traditional energy providers at all anymore. Instead, houses automatically generate, store, and trade electricity between themselves based on which neighbours need extra, and which have lots of excess in their batteries. Thanks to blockchain, this is no longer science fiction – it’s being worked on everywhere from Australia to New York City.
A large majority of blockchain projects announced are not yet released, while the ones that have been kind of feel as a premature and experimental as many of the world’s first websites did. I do foresee that blockchain based technologies will underpin a good chunk of the Internet that you use in the next 10-15 years, but like today’s Internet, you shouldn’t and wouldn’t have to understand how a blockchain enabled internet works – it just will.
By Jamie Skella, Horizon State