Blockchain: Beyond Cryptocurrency

Blockchain’s 4 Biggest Applications

In a perfect world blockchain technology can be applied to just about everything possible, from pornography to finance and everywhere else in between. After all, with the blockchain present in every aspect of an economy, we can extract value from abstract and arbitrary concepts, and monetizing them for distributing that value more equally throughout society (done so in the form of cryptocurrency).

But, we are still a while away from living in this “perfect world”; and besides why store your porno on a blockchain if it could be done much more efficiently in a different format (plus, you might have some storage that needs to be deleted).

Blockchain is an informational construct which dictates how data gets stored. Before blockchain, Data could generally only be operated on in a CRUD format.

CRUD = Create → Read → Update → Delete.

With blockchain, it’s open, sequenced, immutable, append-only format, it no longer becomes possible to delete, and we are left with a system that only does RU = Read → Update.

The novelty of such a construct lies in its decentralized ownership. Because a blockchain should be publicly accessible it must also be publicly owned. It creates the ability to verify the validity of statements against a third party that is owned by “the people” and controlled by no one entity. Due to these unique properties, it comes as no surprise, that blockchain was fertile ground for developing cryptocurrencies. But what else is a blockchain good for? What are Blockchains biggest and most prominent applications?


Not everything needs to be stored on a blockchain. Some things are better left in that paradigm of non-traceable, not-publicly accessible (such as your fetish). Turning towards what can & should be put on a blockchain, 4 applications come to mind:

  1. Decentralized ID / Universal Reputation System

Decentralized ID / Universal Reputation System

Wherever we go, we are forced to carry some kind of proof of identity. Be it a passport or a drivers license, we prove our identities by showing some form of issued confirmation. If we are looking to partake in global & economic activities, that proof of identity is issued by our governments or their subsidiaries. The issuance tends to exist on their private ledgers that only they can access, while we just get a piece of paper that we must try not to lose or forget anywhere. What’s worse, is that in some jurisdictions around the world, innocent people can get penalized for not carrying a government-issued ID with them at all times.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist and do not expect governments to be wiping people off of their ledgers, hence leaving them legally “Identityless” (even though from a technical standpoint, they can). I do however see the burden of having a severely sub-optimal system, like the one we have today.

Identity is such a delicate and multi-faceted concept, that it & its record should be able to exist in some medium that is omnipresent and tamper proof. By hosting a repository of identities on a blockchain that, in theory, exists everywhere and is owned by everyone, we remove all of the discomforts involved with having a physical ID.

Blockchain-based Identity systems can:
– Remove Fraudulent Identities
– Remove any legal stipulation of not having a valid ID
– Store identities that are not susceptible to manipulation by any parties
– Streamline all economic activity that needs ID down to a matter of a quick cross reference

If nothing else, having an Identity that exists in an omnipresent ether of sorts, makes the transportation of the identity as easy as breathing.

Granted, to actually be able to design a system complicated enough to sustain the human population with all the new births and deaths that cycle on a daily basis, is no trivial task. Moreover, it is very likely that some kind of technological synthesis must take place. A true Universal Identity system can only exist alongside adequate Bio-metric technology.


Healthcare

This is one highly argued application of blockchain. Many people argue that sensitive medical data should not be publicly accessible. Others argue that is done right, having medical data exist on some universal ledger (blockchain) can save and enhance millions of lives.

Both are absolutely right.

Imagine this for one second;
You are on vacation in Bora-Bora with your best friends. You guys get together and head out to the village to party at night. At the village party, you are sipping on your tropical drink chatting, when suddenly a beautiful dark-haired, caramel skinned waitress walks up to you. You guys hit it off and are getting ready to head back to the hotel. Getting back to the Hotel, you hop into the bathroom and it hits you… Is this waitress disease-free? Getting out you slide into Bed and ask her permission to check her sexual-history. If she says yes, you can now check *{insert app}* and make your decision accordingly. If no, well then we lose nothing by having the opportunity.

What’s more is that, across the world, healthcare databases are not unified. The worlds health records are privately segmented. Your health records from Dubai would not exist in Shanghai and vice-versa. So, let’s say that somebody from America, who is deathly allergic to penicillin is traveling abroad. During their time in Singapore, they decide to party and drank themselves into a stomach ache. Being a rational human, they go into a doctor to see what they can do and the doctor gives them some medication with penicillin. Sure, the doctor did not mean to hurt anybody, he was just doing his job. But the linguistic barriers and lack of a universal Health Ledger just cost somebody their life and somebody else their career.

Every time a doctor has a new patient wanting to come to see him, the doctor must create a profile for that patient. That is a process which consumes half an hour on the patient’s end to fill out paperwork and another half an hour which the doctor spends questioning the patient. This process must be done almost every single time that you must go to a new doctor. The XRAY doctor does not know what your immunologist might which wouldn’t know what your psychologist would know. With the existence of a single fabric in which all ID & Medical Records can access by “authorized” entities only upon intent and willingness of the patient (biometrically for example).

Of course, there still looms the question of security and stability of such sensitive information.

Could one perhaps opt out of them being recorded on the blockchain?


Gaming

With the newfound ability to extract value from seemingly abstract digital constructs, Gaming is an industry primed for blockchain integration.

Gamers spend countless hours of their lives in search of digital goods to help them rank higher in their games. Whether it be some weapon to kill faster or just some random novel wardrobe, there exists a demand for the object. Perhaps some users lead lives that cannot sustain them playing for long hours searching for these items; why not create an environment where users can monetize their efforts?

Say that Alice and Bob play the same Zombie game. Alice plays 40 hours a week, Bob plays 15. In order for Bob to advance in the game, he needs certain items, items that Alice has long been acquired. Bob is willing to pay 1 ethereum for the item, in order to save himself the 25 hours of effort.

This is where the Blockchain comes in. First, are foremost, it gives the digital asset with which the transaction will take place. Secondly, It allows for the creation of a Game market.

The Game market would be some Interface where users can gather and exchange in-game assets as elegantly & Fluidly and the stock markets seem to. People would be able to create supply-demand economics that would not allow for central control. A Central controller would be trapping that value within their own ecosystems and revoking the users right to capitalize.

Moreover, companies are exploring a new concept called Multiverse Gaming. The purpose of multi-verse gaming is to create an inter-operable fabric which can host all in-game objects as unique collectibles, in order to allow players to transfer them across platforms.

Say that all the digital games are built on Ethereum. All of the games tokenize their in-game objects as ERC-721 (non-fungibles). These items (in the form of a digital-non-fungible token) can be extracted from one game and implemented into the other [given the games parameters would allow for it].

Imagine playing Warcraft and finding some incredible “Dark Naga Trident”. Considering that there are 1,000,000 players and only 10 Tridents, you do not want to sell your item but want to showcase it. You would be able to lift out that Dark Naga Trident from Warcraft into your Ethereum Wallet, and then simply integrate it into your League of Legends Teemo skin. The possibilities of cross-platform economies are staggering.


A.I.

Artificial Intelligence is still only exploring its bounds with blockchain.

On a theoretic level, blockchain can be used in the deployment of actual artificially intelligent agents. Blockchain can be implemented as an AI’s cerebral cortex. A public ledger of the A.I. thoughts thereby creating an environment where the Artificial agents

But aside from the mystical and magical of blockchain and AI,

Blockchain’s data structure can be used in order to optimize AI functionality in appropriate spheres. What’s more, is that Blockchain can serve as a host for Data Markets. In essence, these markets would be platforms for independent A.I. agents to exchange their insights and update others concurrent A.I.’s Markets that are curated for A.I. systems by A.I. systems.

Rather than seeing what blockchain can do for A.I., let’s see what A.I. can do for blockchain. At a high level, Artificial Intelligence can be integrated into the governing parameters of a blockchain, in order to allow the blockchain ecosystem higher levels of security and randomness.

for example:

Current blockchain ecosystems are governed by a consensus mechanism that is predictable and pre-defined; by parameters such as time to consensus, block size, consensus, etc. If we can hand over control of those pre-defined parameters to some independent intelligent agent [whose theoretic purpose for existence is maximizing human satisfaction & minimizing pain], then we can create a truly decentralized, open, fair environment in which no malicious actor, in the form of a human, would be able to intervene and subvert the network.


Wrapping It Up

Blockchain has brought about quite some hype with its cryptocurrency applications. But it’s biggest applications are possibly yet to come.

Whenever we think blockchain we need to think immutable public ledger. Where is there a use case for things being recorded? Where is there a use case for things being easily publicly accessible? Where is there a need for chronic non-manipulable data?

There is your blockchain application.

P.S.

If there are any prominent applications that were not mentioned please let us know!

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