In the vast majority of cases, the best use for a new technology is only discovered well after the technology has been invented and turned over to the market. The people who figure out how a new technology can benefit society are often different than the ones who built the new technology in the first place.
Different perspectives can offer valuable insight into the best way to adapt a new technology. When the first networks that eventually became the Internet were originally built in universities and military instillations during the mid-20th century, the computer scientists who took the first steps to bring it into existence surely had little conception of the fundamental changes that it would mean for society.
Blockchain technology is currently positioned in this way. Framing blockchain as a developing technology is accurate, because the technology is only a few steps from its infancy, and its best uses are still under consideration. Blockchain is the underlying technology in cryptocurrency, and most of the world was introduced to the concept with Bitcoin, but industry leaders believe that blockchain technology’s versatility holds many more uses that could dwarf Bitcoin in terms of their importance and impact on society.
Optimizing Global Transactions
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology, and it has the potential to reshape the way that world markets connect and interact with one another. At its core, blockchain technology is a new way to secure a transaction between two or more parties, anywhere in the world.
In the past, all remote transactions, financial or otherwise, relied on the governance of a central authority to authenticate both parties’ role in the transaction. But with blockchain, the transaction becomes automated, and it only occurs after both parties have met preexisting conditions defined in the blockchain system.
The term that has been adopted for these automated transactions is “smart contracts.” Ethereum is the cryptocurrency that first popularized the idea of smart contracts based on cryptocurrency. Using smart contracts, multiple parties in separate countries can conduct a transaction without the aid of central governing authority, and there is no fear of fraud or other the complications currently associated with conducting business across country lines.
It should be understood that smart contracts could represent any commodity, not just currency. A smart contract can facilitate the transfer of real estate, trade goods, or anything else that requires the remote transfer of ownership between two parties.
Concerns of Online Identity Verification
Recently, blockchain technology has started to be thought of in terms of the benefits it could provide to online identity verification. This is an exciting notion due to the current issues facing verifying an individual’s identity online.
A byproduct of living in the digital age is the complex online identities that most people must maintain in order to conduct business and personal affairs over the Internet. News stories about data leaks and identity theft are never far from the newsfeed headlines, and addressing these digital threats is an ongoing concern for both the public and private sectors.
Because blockchain technology offers independent verification during transactions that occur over a network of computers, it could become a powerful tool in online identity authentication. A blockchain ledger could be adapted to verify identities when party authentication is required to conduct online business securely.
New uses for blockchain are brainstormed every day, and it’s still too early to tell which ones will hold the most promise once they are actually put into practice. Undoubtedly, blockchain developers are still far away from unlocking all of blockchain’s true potential, but the timeline is speeding up. Large corporations are investing in blockchain research, and the next few years should lead to interesting discoveries in the field.
Author: Manju Mohan has a background in computer science, economics, instructional design, and UX design. She is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ionixx Technologies – a design, web, mobile and blockchain technologies service provider. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics from the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from San Francisco State University.