“The blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. It provides a way to record and transfer data that is transparent, safe, auditable, and resistant to outages. The blockchain has the ability to make the organizations that use it transparent, democratic, decentralized, efficient, and secure. It’s a technology that holds a lot of promise for the future, and it is already disrupting many industries with numerous innovative applications on the blockchain.” – futurethinkers.org
Blockchain startups and projects featured in this video:
Bitcoin – https://bitcoin.org
Abra – https://www.goabra.com
Provenance – https://www.provenance.org
Fluent (Rebranded to Hijro) – https://hijro.com
SKUChain – https://skuchain.com
Blockverify – http://www.blockverify.io
Augur – https://augur.net
Networking and IoT: Adept
Aeternity – https://www.aeternity.com
Arcade City – https://arcade.city
La’Zooz – http://www.shareable.net
Innogy – https://bitcoinmagazine.com
UBS – https://www.ubs.com
ZF – http://www.econotimes.com
Online Data Storage: Storj – https://storj.io
IPFS – https://ipfs.io
BitGive Foundation – https://bitgivefoundation.org
Democracy Earth – http://democracy.earth
Follow My Vote – https://followmyvote.com
GovCoin – http://www.businesswire.com/news
Dubai Blockchain Strategy – http://www.smartdubai.ae
Circles – aboutcircles.com
Gem – https://gem.co
Tierion – https://tierion.com
TransactiveGrid – http://transactivegrid.net
Mycelia – http://myceliaformusic.org
Ujo Music – https://ujomusic.com
OpenBazaar – https://www.openbazaar.org
OB1 – https://ob1.io
Ubitquity – https://www.ubitquity.io/web/index.html
Consensys – https://consensys.net/about/
Ethereum – https://www.ethereum.org
What is The Blockchain?
The blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that underlies cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and platforms like Ethereum. It provides a way to record and transfer data that is transparent, safe, auditable, and resistant to outages. This technology has the ability to make the organizations that use it transparent, democratic, decentralized, efficient, and secure. It will likely to disrupt many industries in the coming 5 to 10 years. These are some of the industries it’s already disrupting.
1. Banking and Payments
Some say that the blockchain will do to banking what the internet did to media. It can be used to give access to financial services to billions of people around the world, including those in third world countries who don’t have access to traditional banking. Technologies like Bitcoin allow anyone to send money across borders almost instantly and with very low fees. Abra is a startup that is working on a bitcoin-based remittance service. Many banks like Barclays are also working on adopting blockchain technology to make their business operations faster, more efficient and secure. Banks are also increasingly investing in blockchain startups and projects. IBM predicts that 15% of banks will be using the blockchain by the end of 2017.
Currently, these are the open-source blockchain platforms that are leading the way in innovative enterprise level application developments in the finance sector:
2. Cyber Security
Although the blockchain ledger is public, the data is verified and encrypted using advanced cryptography. This way the data is less prone to being hacked or changed without authorization. It eliminates the need for middlemen, making it more efficient than many legacy systems in cyber security.
With increased cyber attacks on companies large and small, consumer’s private information are endangered of being stolen and sold on Darknets to criminals to exploit by way of identity theft.
For example, on July 29, 2017 Equifax discovered a cybersecurity breach/hack incident which “potentially impacted approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited Equifax’s U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files which includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Criminals also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers. As part of our investigation of this application vulnerability, we also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents.”
With blockchain technology, these types of cyber security breaches can be prevented.
While banking, finance and real estate are the so-called usual suspects by being ahead of the curve, even industries like education, social media and security are being disrupted by blockchain-powered startups. Blockchain tech has an inherent connection to cybersecurity. Blockchain technologies are, after all, the culmination of decades of research and breakthroughs in cryptography and security. It offers a totally different approach to storing information, making transactions, performing functions, and establishing trust, which makes it especially suitable for environments with high security requirements and mutually unknown actors.
Companies leading the way in creating robust cyber security applications on the blockchain:
Guardtime, founded by Estonian cryptographer Ahto Buldas, is a data security startup that has been around since 2007. Guardtime detects and mitigates cyberattacks in real-time. It is now placing its bets on blockchain technology to secure sensitive records. The company has already used blockchains to create a Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI), a replacement for the more traditional Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), which uses asymmetric encryption and a cache of public keys maintained by a centralized Certificate Authority (CA). Guardtime has grown into “the world’s largest blockchain company by revenue, headcount, and actual customer deployments.” In 2016 the company reached an incredible milestone as it secured all of Estonia’s 1 million health records with its technology.
REMME is making passwords obsolete
With REMME’s blockchain, businesses can authenticate users and devices without the need for a password. This eliminates the human factor from the authentication process, therefore preventing it from becoming a potential attack vector. Alex Momot, founder and CEO of REMME, says that the use of simple logins and a centralized architecture are a big weakness of traditional systems. “No matter how much money a company spends on security, all these efforts are in vain, if customers and employees use passwords that are easy to crack or steal. Blockchain takes the responsibility for strong authentication, resolving the single point of attack at the same time. In addition, the decentralized network helps us to provide consensus between parties for their identification.”
Obsidian ensures the privacy and security of chats
Messenger services comprise today a big amount of internet usage across the globe, and these apps are already being used for payments and to engage users through chatbots. The integration of messaging and commerce holds that much promise. For example, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp each count for at least 1.2 billion active users, and Chinese messaging service WeChat boasts 2 billion. However, there is an inherent danger of social engineering, hacks, and other security vulnerabilities. Consider, for example, the risk that WhatsApp and Telegram could have faced with a flaw based on image metadata.
Protecting critical infrastructure
Nebulis is a project that is exploring the concept of a distributed DNS (Domain Name Service) system that will never fail under an excess of requests. Nebulis uses the Ethereum blockchain and the Interplanetary Filesystem (IPFS), a distributed alternative to HTTP, to register and resolve domain names. “The killer weakness of the current DNS system is its overreliance on caching,” Nebulis founder Philip Saunders told me. “Caching makes it possible to stage DDoS attacks against DNS servers and allows oppressive regimes to censor social networks and manipulate DNS registries.”
Employing blockchain technology, cyber security breaches can be prevented. 3 Ways Blockchain Is Revolutionizing Cybersecurity. Here’s how Blockchain’s brilliant approach to cybersecurity will be key to safekeeping sensitive consumer informational databases. Are you aware of the top ten Biggest Corporate Hacks in History?
3. Supply Chain Management
With blockchain technology, transactions can be documented in a permanent decentralized record, and monitored securely and transparently. This can greatly reduce time delays and human mistakes. It can also be used to monitor costs, labor, and even waste and emissions at every point of the supply chain. This has serious implications for understanding and controlling the real environmental impact of products. The distributed ledger can also be used to verify the authenticity or fair trade status of products by tracking them from their origin. Some blockchain startups working in this sector are Provenance, Fluent, SKUChain, and Blockverify.
The blockchain is set to change the entire approach to research, consulting, analysis and forecasting. Online platforms like Augur are looking to create global decentralized prediction markets. These technologies can be used to place and monitor bets on anything from sports to stocks to elections in a decentralized way.
5. Networking and the Internet of Things
Samsung and IBM are using blockchain technology for a new concept called ADEPT, which will create a decentralized network of IoT devices. Operating like a public ledger for a large number of devices, it would eliminate the need for a central location to handle communications between them. The devices would be able to communicate to each other directly to update software, manage bugs, and monitor energy usage.
The global insurance market is based on trust management. The blockchain is a new way of managing trust and can be used to verify many types of data in insurance contracts, such as the insured person’s identity. So-called oracles can be used to integrate real-world data with blockchain smart contracts. This technology is very useful for any type of insurance that relies on real-world data, for example crop insurance. Aeternity is one blockchain project that is building tools that are useful in the insurance industry.
7. Private Transport and Ride Sharing
The blockchain can be used to create decentralized versions of peer-to-peer ridesharing apps, allowing both car owners and users to arrange terms and conditions in a secure way without third party providers. Startups working in this area include Arcade City and La’Zooz.
The use of built-in e-wallets can allow car owners to automatically pay for parking, highway tolls, and electricity top-ups for their vehicle. UBS, ZF and Innogy are some of the startups developing blockchain based e-wallets.
8. Cloud Storage
Data on a centralized server is inherently vulnerable to hacking, data loss, or human error. Using blockchain technology allows cloud storage to be more secure and robust against attacks. Storj is one example of a cloud storage network using the technology.
Common complaints in the charity space include inefficiency and corruption, which prevent money from reaching those that are meant to have it. Using blockchain technology to track donations can let you be sure your money is going to end up in the right hands. Bitcoin-based charities like the BitGive Foundation use blockchain’s secure and transparent distributed ledger to let donors see that the intended party has received the funds.
Probably one of the most important areas of society that the blockchain will disrupt is voting. The 2016 US election is not the first time certain parties were accused of rigging election results. Blockchain technology can be used for voter registration and identity verification, and electronic vote counting to ensure that only legitimate votes are counted, and no votes are changed or removed. Creating an immutable, publicly-viewable ledger of recorded votes would be a massive step toward making elections more fair and democratic. Democracy Earth and Follow My Vote are two startups aiming to disrupt democracy itself through creating blockchain-based online voting systems for governments.
Government systems are often slow, opaque, and prone to corruption. Implementing blockchain-based systems can significantly reduce bureaucracy and increase security, efficiency, and transparency of government operations. Dubai, for example, is aiming to put all its government documents on the blockchain by 2020.
12. Public Benefits
The public benefits system is another sector that suffers from slowness and bureaucracy. Blockchain technology can help assess, verify, and distribute welfare or unemployment benefits in a much more streamlined and secure way. GovCoin is a UK-based company that is helping the government to distribute public benefits using blockchain technology. The blockchain is also a good contender for implementing a basic income. Circles is a project working on developing a blockchain-based technology for implementing a universal basic income.
Another industry that relies on many legacy systems and is ripe for disruption is healthcare. One of the challenges hospitals face is the lack of a secure platform to store and share data, and they are often victims of hacking because of outdated infrastructure. Blockchain technology can allow hospitals to safely store data like medical records and share it with authorized professionals or patients. This can improve data security and can even help with accuracy and speed of diagnosis. Gem and Tierion are two startups that are working on disrupting the current healthcare data space.
14. Energy Management
Energy management has been a highly centralized industry for a long time. Energy producers and users cannot buy it directly from each other and have to go through the public grid or a trusted private intermediary. TransactiveGrid is a startup using Ethereum that allows customers to buy and sell energy from each other in a peer-to-peer way.
15. Online Music
Several startups are coming up with ways for musicians to get paid directly from their fans, without giving up large percentages of sales to platforms or record companies. Smart contracts can also be used to automatically solve licensing issues and better catalog songs with their respective creators. Mycelia and Ujo Music are two startups creating blockchain-based solutions in the music industry.
When you shop, your trust of the retail system is tied to the trust of the store or marketplace. Decentralized blockchain-based retail utilities work differently: they connect buyers and sellers without a middle man and associated fees. In these cases, trust comes from smart contract systems, the security of exchanges, and built-in reputation management systems. Two startups disrupting the retail space are OpenBazaar and OB1.
17. Real Estate
Some of the issues in buying and selling real estate are bureaucracy, lack of transparency, fraud, and mistakes in public records. Using blockchain technology can speed up transactions by reducing the need for paper-based record keeping. It can also help with tracking, verifying ownership, ensuring the accuracy of documents, and transferring property deeds. Ubitquity, is a blockchain-secured platform for real estate record-keeping that is an alternative for legacy paper based systems.
Crowdfunding has become a popular method of fundraising for new start-ups and projects in recent years. Crowdfunding platforms exist to create trust between project creators and supporters, but they also charge high fees. In blockchain-based crowd funding, trust is instead created through smart contracts and online reputation systems, which removes the need for a middle-man. New projects can raise funds by releasing their own tokens that represent value and can later be exchanged for products, services, or cash. Many blockchain start-ups have now raised millions of dollars through such token sales. Although it’s still early days and the regulatory future or blockchain-based crowdfunding is uncertain, it’s an area that holds a lot of promise.
19. Your Industry
If your industry deals with data or transactions of any kind, it is a field that can likely be disrupted by blockchain technology. The space is wide open and the opportunities are many as industries are racing to be the first to come to market with robust blockchain applications for everyday use. *Source: futurethinkers.org
- Growing trend of venture capital investments in crypto currencies
- Enterprise Ethereum Alliance
- Bank of America is betting big on blockchain with its filing of 20 blockchain patents
- Criticisms of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cryptocurrency, ICOs and the new Blockchain Technology
About the Author:
A former EPA member, Tim is currently teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area. With his experience in computer engineering Tim tracks emerging blockchain technology developments in the crypto currency space. He became a digital cash enthusiast after seeing the rapid growth of the Ethereum blockchain enterprise in banking and trade. Tim has a successful record of selecting digital assets for exceptional return on investment.
During the winter months, you will likely find Tim skiing down the slopes of Squaw Alpine ski resort in Tahoe. If you are a skier or rider, you should check out SnowPals.org and join his San Francisco Bay Area based club to socialize and network with skiers and boarders who want to find like minded folks for ski trips to Lake Tahoe and to other popular ski destinations. Submit a question, suggestion or comment.