Our very own Don Burks, Head Instructor legend at Lighthouse Labs Vancouver, has provided us with a list of some interesting ways blockchain is currently being utilized, outside of cryptocurrency. Don has been coding since the dawn of time (well, the dawn of the Commodore 64), and is as passionate about teaching as he is technology - including the latest technologies like blockchain.
If you have been watching the tech news over the past two years, you cannot escape references to the emergence and prevalence of the technology called blockchain. Originally developed in 2008 by the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, it is an amazingly useful technique which many developers and entrepreneurs are starting to explore for use outside of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. While most references to blockchain in the tech news are related to Bitcoin, there are many exciting implementations of blockchain which are helping to mature this technology and bring it into the mainstream. Let's look at a few examples of how government and industry are exploring blockchain to make our everyday lives better.
The Republic of Georgia announced in 2016 that they were implementing a system for managing land titles that was based on a blockchain. Instead of using a blockchain to buy, sell, and trade an arbitrary 'token' with monetary value, this implementation is going to be used to allow residents of Georgia to buy and sell land. Highlighting that a blockchain cannot be corrupted, that it is transparent and auditable, and that it will reduce the friction in registration in land registration and transactions, the government is excited about the possibilities of this implementation as it will significantly reduce cost of managing land registrations and transactions. Theoretically, it opens the door for the purchase and transfer of land to be handled through an app on a smartphone, instead of being a heavily-bureaucratic process with reams of paperwork and human interaction.
Fighting Fake News
There is a non-profit organization called PUBLIQ, which is implementing blockchain to verify the authenticity of news pieces submitted by authors. Following the spirit of blockchain being immutable, once a piece is submitted it can develop a “reputation score” which will allow those who read the news piece to vote on its legitimacy, since they know it cannot be changed.
Anyone familiar with the music industry knows that between the sale of an album and the money being deposited in the artist’s bank account, there are many hands which dip into the pile and take a share. And, unfortunately, the artist is not always aware of everyone who is taking a slice of their revenues before the money reaches them. Many artists, including Imogen Heap, Pink Floyd, and 22Hertz are investing time and effort into looking at music distribution platforms where artists are able to transparently track all revenue. This method of music distribution is also far less expensive and prohibitive than more traditional methods.
There are a wealth of other experiments going on including: bringing blockchain into social networking, voting, and even tracking the chain of custody of evidence with law enforcement and forensics. Recently at the large Collision Conference in 2018, there were several hundred startups exhibiting their products which were underpinned by blockchain. A wide array of implementations were demonstrated, including booking medical appointments, tracking ethical breeding of animals, and ordering food delivery.
While conflated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain is a vibrant and interesting technology which is finding its way into many different businesses. Companies are seeing the value of the security, transparency, and immutability of this technology as virtues worth investing time and money into.
Have you checked out our Blockchain for Developers program yet? For more information, check out our course page.