At the inception of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency was parroted as a transformative technology ready to change the world for the better. However, in recent years, the dialogue around crypto and blockchain has shifted from radical new applications to the investment characteristics of coins. This means that a lot of interesting projects and applications being launched in the crypto space might be left out of your news feed.
1. AUGMENTED REALITY
Thanks to the Pokemon Go craze and companies like Candy Lab paving the way for location-based AR, a whole new breed of startups has emerged. It’s becoming clear that location-based augmented reality experiences will be the future of experiential marketing.
2. DIGITAL PUBLISHING ENGAGEMENT
The struggles of publishers trying to keep up with online advertising is not a fresh take. This problem has become ubiquitous in recent years, with even big news companies reviewing their archaic advertising models. To tackle the issue, SolidOpinion has introduced a new type of pay-per-article advertising. Advertisers can pay for valuable ad real estate just above a relevant article that a target audience member is getting from a publishing site.
This technology utilizes a proprietary form of cryptocurrency, Engagement Token, to fuel engagement. Both publishers and audience members can get tokens by commenting and publishing original content. Advertisers buy tokens to select their ad placements among relevant articles. In this case, tokens are used to incentivize both the publisher to keep creating quality content and the reader to keep engaging with it.
3. ETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICES
The ability to track large amounts of information while keeping it all transparent is an important characteristic of blockchain networks. This can be employed to track the details of transactions, which can be useful to reign in human rights abuses in corrupt industries. The fishing industry, for example, can be regulated against illegal practices using blockchain.
As the Guardian reports, “[Blockchain] Technology could be used to differentiate fish caught sustainably to those caught illegally, or linked to human rights abuses.” Ultimately, this aspect of blockchain can go beyond just fishing and can help regulate the ethical nature of all the produce on our tables.
4. WEALTH MANAGEMENT
Fintech is the new black. It’s becoming a booming space where giants like Wealthsimple keep getting bigger. Although the Big Data wave is making passive investment strategies more appealing, the centralized nature of these companies bears a similar resemblance to old school bank structures. Some of the problems of this centralized banking framework include high fees, high transaction times, lack of accessibility for everyone and no transparency.
That’s why companies such as SwissBorg, who have created their own tokens for investment solutions, are giving investors some great opportunities to manage their wealth without boundaries or restrictions. According to the SwissBorg website, “Whether you are an individual, a DAO [decentralized autonomous organization] or a financial expert, SwissBorg is a democratic ecosystem where you can manage a portfolio of crypto assets.”
Another application of blockchain that the world has been waiting for is in healthcare. Specifically, the blockchain can be used to maintain and regularly update electronic medical records, so there is one uniform version of the patient’s file.
Not to mention, no matter where a patient is in the world, healthcare practitioners can access the patient’s data and see their medical history. This will reduce erroneous diagnosis and treatment, patients will be in full control of their data by deciding who gains access to it and curbing data theft.
6. DE-CORRUPTING CHARITIES
A major concern for international charities is the disbursement of funds to those in need. Using traditional channels, many of these funds can get lost in the corrupt haze of government bureaucracy in developing countries.
Fortunately, due to its ability to hold different parties along the chain accountable, blockchain can eliminate many problems occurring with charities, such as fund leaks. This is why more and more charities are slowly moving to a blockchain platform for fund disbursement. For example, the World Food Programme (WFP) is using blockchain to securely distribute cash assistance to the hungry.
The looming urgency of climate change can be a dreadful thought. In recent years, companies aligning their profits with sustainable energy sources have surged in popularity. However, at the level of the individual, it can be difficult to directly choose your energy source to ensure it comes from a sustainable source.
Until now that is. The advent of blockchain has helped launch projects like the Brooklyn Microgrid. With this system, people who already have solar panels are able to sell environmental credits through a phone app, to residents who don’t have direct access, which means using less carbon-based power and more solar-based energy.
There is outstanding potential for cryptocurrency to revolutionize the educational industry. As it turns out, more and more schools are accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment for courses. According to Futurism.com, universities in Switzerland, Germany, Cyprus, and the United States have started to accept Bitcoin as payment. This form of payment is bound to grow as this currency tends to incur fewer fees and has been surging in popularity.
Imagine a student wallet deployed on the blockchain which can automatically pay tuition fees and loan payments, accept scholarships and grants, can track the disbursement of bursaries, and have textbooks delivered to your residence before you even arrive. With universities beginning to accept crypto payments, this is a very real possibility.
As the true potential of blockchain technology is realized, its ability to transparently track every transaction is proving to be invaluable for international trade. Using blockchain technology, every step of the supply chain can be monitored digitally from the manufacturer to the consumer. Smart contracts may even be used to automate payments and cut out the inefficiencies usually associated with the supply chain. IBM has launched the project TradeLens, which tracks business transactions across trade routes around the globe.
The IBM website states, “With solutions like TradeLens – the new, open and neutral blockchain-powered platform built to support global trade – major shipping and logistics players are benefitting from a shared ledger that’s updated and validated instantaneously with each network participant. The results are greater collaboration, streamlined inventory management, improved asset utilization and more.”
10. FUND- RAISING
If you are familiar with cryptocurrency, then you might be familiar with the terms “ICO” or “Initial Coin Offering”. Essentially, lots of startups are now using cryptocurrencies to fund their ideas, services, and products. Instead of using traditional VC funding, or using fund-raising platforms such as IndieGoGo or Kickstarter, startup leaders are looking to cryptocurrency as a way to raise money for implementation of their ideas.
Basically, newly emerging ventures can offer a token to interested investors which can either be redeemed for a good/service in the future or directly represents an equity stake in the company. This, in turn, helps the company generate investment capital to fund the next steps of the project. Because it’s easy to track and obtain money this way, it’s revolutionizing the entire fundraising process for start-ups.
All in all, it’s clear that the crypto space is bustling. Newly emerging projects and firms have really piqued the public’s interest in this new tech and the boundaries of blockchain are continuing to expand. With its major characteristics of transparency and security, many industries across the board can be made more efficient, more accessible, and more ethical. This article only scratches the surface of the exciting stuff that crypto can do, so we urge you to keep exploring this electrifying new world!