7 Interesting Ways to Use Blockchain Technology 4 1374

Thanks to increasing coverage in major news outlets around the world, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are having their moment in the sun. What used to be an arcane bit of futurism has suddenly gone mainstream.

But, blockchain technology, despite being the infrastructure that makes cryptocurrency transactions possible, hasn’t received quite the same level of attention–yet.

That’s about to change though, as many experts believe it has the potential to be the most disruptive new technology since the internet itself. Cryptocurrency is only one of many possible uses.

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the many interesting ways we can put blockchain technology to use.

E-commerce

Amazon may not be taking over the world, but they’re certainly taking over retail. While customers appreciate their rock bottom prices and rapid fire processing and delivery infrastructure, signs of discontent are on the horizon. Not only are brick and mortar shops going out of business, but Amazon wields such market dominance that they can strong arm individual sellers any time they wish.

What if there was a way to keep all the positives of online commerce while ditching the despotic corporate overlord? Open source software like Open Bazaar is showing us the way. By shifting transactions to the blockchain, the power rests entirely with individual buyers and sellers. Even better, your data is your own. There’s no need to worry about it being sold to the highest bidder or handed over to the US government.

Global Payments

The economies of the world are becoming more intertwined with each passing year (Brexit notwithstanding). The USA, South Korea, and others are seeing a rise in foreign workers and even greater increases are being floated as one of the solutions to the never ending immigration debate.

Since foreign workers typically come from lower GDP countries, they often send remittances back home. Putting such monetary transfers onto the blockchain would remove the fees, governmental regulation, and corporate incompetence that are bane of those working abroad.

Elections

The debate over the 2016 election in the USA rages on, with allegations of fraud coming from both sides of the political aisle. Regardless of one’s party affiliation, everyone can agree that if there’s a method to guarantee clean elections, it should be adopted as quickly as possible. And for those who live in nascent, struggling democracies, where every election comes with the specter of fraud and violence, it would be a civil service as valuable as electricity and clean water.

Organizations like Follow My Vote are using the blockchain to ensure that every vote cast is permanent. Thanks to the blockchain’s decentralized nature, it would be immeasurably difficult for hackers to break in and change the results. They would have to change every copy of the blockchain at the same time, a feat requiring a mind-boggling amount of resources, far more than it takes to hack a voting machine or forge a paper ballot.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has built up incredible momentum in the last ten years, with Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Patreon leading the charge. But its true potential is only now being unlocked thanks to the blockchain.

By issuing their own crypto coin, creators can receive funding from anyone in the world without the burden of excessive fees or the hassle of corporate guidelines. The blockchain keeps an unalterable record of every investment, ensuring that no one will be left out when it comes to reward time. As an added bonus, if the creator finds success in their venture, their cryptocoin will increase in value, giving everyone who took part in the crowdfunding a bonus return.

Digital Identity

Identity theft has never been more common or more ruinous to the individual. In a wired world where authenticity matters above all else, it’s time we moved past the days of ID numbers and passwords.

And as the Equifax hack proved, there’s no reason to trust a corporation to protect your confidential information. It makes much more sense to encrypt such data on the blockchain where it can neither be altered by hackers nor mismanaged by a third party.

Gaming

While the gaming industry has evolved into a juggernaut rivaling movies and television, that doesn’t mean it’s immune to the transformative power of the blockchain. As reported at The Block Talk, there’s a booming market for digital objects within game worlds, but no reliable hub to trade these items in the real world.

The blockchain is perfectly suited to the task, serving as a platform for transactions allowing gamers to trade their items or sell them for currency. While this might seem trivial to non-gamers, this is no cottage industry. The so called virtual goods economy was worth $15 billion as of 2016.

Cloud Storage

The cloud seems like a miracle at first, until Google Docs mysteriously loses all of your data, or you forget your Apple iCloud password and are permanently locked out of your account. While both of these mega-corporations have backup servers to ensure your data is where it’s supposed to be, they’re necessarily limited by their budgets and the size of their server farms. Startups like Storj, on the other hand, are using the blockchain’s distributed storage and end to end encryption to keep your data safe and accessible.

While many are well versed in cryptocurrencies by now, they tend not to interact directly with blockchain technology, allowing third party sites to do it for them. As more uses for the blockchain break into the mainstream, can we envision a not-so-distant future in which Bitcoin is a mere footnote to the awesome power of the blockchain?

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Christina is a technology and business communicator who has worked with high profile ICOs and blockchain influencers to break industry news.

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Stakester Brings New Experiences and Royalties to Gamers with NFTs Comments Off on Stakester Brings New Experiences and Royalties to Gamers with NFTs 300

A cheat code NFT allows owners to accrue money, prizes and royalties in the context of popular games.

On Tuesday, Stakester announced its intention to launch a VIP pass in the form of NFTs that it says will enhance the experience for users of its popular gaming app. 

The app, which pairs gamers with real-life opponents, allows players to stake real cash and prizes on their competitive skills in popular games like FIFA 21 and Call of Duty: Warzone. It’s seen significant growth since its launch in 2020, and touts 100,000 members across 31 countries. 

With the forthcoming NFT drop, users will now unlock the potential for larger prizes, access to VIP arenas, and 50% of royalties on the secondary market.

“The NFTs embody Stakester’s vision of delivering electrifying gaming experiences through the thrill of competition,” says Tom Fairey, Founder and CEO of Stakester. “NFT holders will help us shape new, undreamt-of entertainment experiences as gaming becomes ever more powerful and immersive.”

Two levels of NFTs will be offered. At .1 and .25 ETH, respectively, the barrier to entry is high, but Stakester is hoping gamers will see the value of layered experiences and unlocking additional incentives with real-world value. 

“The idea of earning rewards, just like a normal reward scheme but built around NFTs, is totally fit for the future,” says Mike White, CEO and Strategist of immersive entertainment marketing agency, Lively.  “The whole idea of royalties is truly exciting.” 

Stakester’s 50% royalty incentive, Fairey believes, will create stakeholders out of the players on his platform.

 “As well as the increase in gaming utility, the NFT drops provide Stakester users with a chance to invest in the future of the company and, for VIP Legendary holders, there’s also an opportunity to benefit from a royalty share from certain competitions and to make a passive income from NFTs, regardless of whether they go up in value or not,” he says. “Stakester is one of the only platforms to offer this kind of bonus.”

White points out that Gala Games is doing something similar with Nodes which allow gamers to receive rewards like NFTs when they contribute meaningfully to the Gala Network.

He predicts that legacy gaming companies will be adopting similar NFT models, but the winners in the NFT gaming race are hard to predict, particularly since there’s so much attention around NFTs that it’s hard to differentiate between hype and long-term value. 

“I’m sure it will be an immediate success,” he says. “Will it be a long-term thing? We can only wait and see.”

Why Is Everyone Talking About NFTs? Comments Off on Why Is Everyone Talking About NFTs? 52043

In this writer’s opinion the NFT hype is warranted — but not for the reason most people are investing. 

For those who’ve been in the space since Bitcoin’s early surge, you’ll remember the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) boom of 2017. The crowdfunding vehicle, which mirrored an IPO on the public market, brought with it massive amounts of investment into the blockchain space that seemed to mirror Bitcoin’s rapidly increasing value. 

In retrospect, none of it made sense. 

With all the hype, the investment in the space didn’t match due diligence. As of August 2018, investors had lost nearly $100M in ICO exit scams, a major reason we no longer hear about ICOs. 

From there, crowdfunding through token sales was rebranded alongside SEC regulation as Security Token Offerings (STOs). Additional fundraising iterations to enter the scene are Initial DEX Offerings (IDOs) and Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs).

NFTs are having a similar moment to the immature and potentially reckless ICO market of 2017. The danger can be credited to a mix of hype and a widely unregulated environment with various points of entry and gatekeepers that are not incentivized to shore up fraud. 

As a result, many purchasers of NFTs are falling victim to a spectrum that spans undeserving projects on the mild end and outright scams at the extreme. Meanwhile, hackers are exploiting the unregulated environment. 

Just yesterday, $3 million in NFTs were stolen via an Instagram phishing scam. 

This writer, however, is still bullish on NFTs — just not the ones that are getting all the attention.

NFTs represent a concrete entry-point into the blockchain with a tangible utility and infinite disruptive implications. 

Here are a few.

Digital Assets as Social Proof 

As a Millennial, I personally have a hard time understanding the notion of owning and assigning value to a digital asset, but my kids don’t. 

I’ve written about how Gen Z has already adopted the concept of social proof in digital environments by assigning socially relevant value to digital assets like video game skins. 

As Gen Z ages and becomes an increasingly powerful consumer population, this experience will matter. Whether or not their purchase behavior translates to adulthood remains to be seen, but our kids are already leveraging digital assets in the metaverse to exhibit their position in the social hierarchy in the same way that my generation assigned value to Jansport-brand backpacks. 

Their concept of digital assets will be fundamentally different from ours, and NFTs are likely to benefit. 

But Why Are NFTs Relevant to Me Now?

Social proof is far from the most interesting use case for NFTs. 

In the near-term, NFTs can be utilized to store sale information of physical goods on the blockchain in order to eliminate nefarious actors in fraud-riddled industries like fine wine and art. 

Moreover, NFTs can disrupt any industry with a substantial secondary market. By coding royalties into the smart contract of NFTs, original sellers of wine, art and other trade-susceptible brands and industries can ensure they’ll capture a fee anytime an item is transferred. 

This solves a major problem for creators like photographers, artists and musicians that are notoriously underpaid in comparison to the value they create for brokers. It also has the potential to cut out middlemen like auction houses, record labels, and galleries to democratize the creator economy. 

Other Innovators Have Introduced Creative Use Cases for NFTs

Gary Vaynerchuk utilizes NFTs as tickets for events and other value-adds to his community. Forbes introduced a series of NFT Billionaires that will update alongside the real-time NYSE to gamify their user’s NFT experience in a way that’s brand-relevant. Foxies.art is using a gamified version of NFTs to fundraise blockchain education for women. 

The utility of NFTs is confined only by the imagination of our innovators. Whether or not NFT headlines today will remain relevant is yet to be seen, but one thing is certain: the disruption is only beginning. 

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