Despite our focus on a genius or two, and the amazing teams working on core and cash, and the clever people pulling financial stunts to get rich, and the media jumping on the bandwagon (apologies, Crypto Briefing)… the fact is, the blockchain is so much more than Bitcoin.
I’ve been watching the crypto industry since first hearing about Bitcoin in 2010. I kinda laugh thinking about those early days because of how casually I took everything. By the time a friend in Serbia told me about Ethereum at the end of 2013, I was already burnt out on altcoins. I passed on investing or learning more about it back then.
It wasn’t until the end of 2017 that crypto and blockchain came back in my focus. By the fourth quarter, a ton of tech money and investment returns started trickling into my corner of the industry. More and more outlets around the world were hiring writers with knowledge in cryptocurrency. As I built my ghostwriting portfolio from a handful of B2B clients, I started noticing the deluge of crypto and cannabis listings.
The deeper I dove back into crypto, the more I realized what was happening beyond the financial markets. I’m no developer nor computer engineer, but I do understand business, computers, and technology enough to understand the range of benefits of P2P, Tor, torrents, encryption, cloud, and the internet.
Some people spent their money on luxuries both digital and analog like Crypto Kitties and Lambos. Others started businesses and spent the money on freelancers like me. Still more invested in communities and creation.
I’ve invested my time and energy in research.
Since I’m not a genius programmer, or a star developer, or a financial wizkid, or a business guru, I have to take extra time to really understand any project when I’m looking into it for an assignment.
When I research a new blockchain project, I use this five-step checklist to help determine its sustainability and value. (My Coin Guides are here, by the way, if you’d like to see what I end up with.)
1. Tracking and Distribution on the Blockchain
People typically judge a business by marketing and sales, but operations is where the real work is done. Tracking, shipping, storing, and other logistical operational tasks are part of supply chain blockchain is disrupting in every industry.
Companies with a focus on integrating with AI, data storage and retention, QR codes, beacons, and other IoT technologies have B2B value, which is one of the most financially successful plays in blockchain technology. The Logistics Bureau has a great article on the types of technologies to look for and how they’re optimizing businesses from Amazon and Walmart to Etsy, eBay, and Craigslist resellers.
Blockchains are revolutionizing back-end operations and developers will secure multi-year contracts with guaranteed pay or buyouts from large enterprises. Google, Facebook, and Amazon are just a few of the tech giants investing in blockchain’s logistical future.
2. Blockchain-Based Licensing and Watermarks
Licensing, storage, and tracking are important for both businesses and consumers. When I was younger, nobody understood computers because only the smarter people had them. Thirty years later, everyone has computers in the palms of their hands, and still only the tech savvy understands them.
As a content creator, licensing, tracking, and storage are as important to me as they are to Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and even the music industry. Every artist and creative professional knows how important licensing can be because it directly impacts our bottom lines. For example, at Crypto Briefing, we’re careful about what images we use to ensure artists are paid.
The RIAA estimates the US economy loses $12.5 billion a year to piracy, and it’s not just consumers. Bethesda, for example, is currently suing Warner Bros and Behavior Studios over a supposed copyright infringement. Not only was blockchain a prominent topic on the E3 floor, digital currencies and microtransactions are fundamental to every creative industry. Blockchain provides this.
3. Self-Executing Contracts
Speaking of lawsuits, the legal system and government itself is proof of how contracts run our lives. Your birth certificate is a contract, as are your death certificate and the laws supporting them. Smart contracts are the building block of blockchain 2.0 and form the foundation of even the coding of modern crypto platforms.
AI, big data, and machine learning are automating 5 percent of current human jobs, and nearly a billion people will be displaced by this. They’ll be depending on employment contracts to make a lateral move or transfer to a new position. Change is good for progress, but contracts are how they’re recorded and enforced.
Blockchain technology is evolving the contract – and you need look no further than the research team that tracked illicit Silk Road transactions using Bitcoin’s distributed ledger.
4. Sustainable Cross-Border Communication
In 2010, the Arab Spring highlighted how important communication is. When the Egyptian government cut off communications to its people, activist and humanitarian groups around the world scrambled to translate phone-line hardwire internet manuals into open communication lines and keep the resistance in touch with each other.
Not long after, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed training and procedure manuals to show how the US government’s digital monitoring platforms work. Secure communication is difficult to achieve even domestically in a world filled with cameras and microphones, but modern blockchain 3.0 projects enable secure communications.
5. Secure Borderless Value Transfers
If you’ve ever tried to carry money across international borders, you know you’re going to get a lot of questions. Exchange rates, taxes, payment networks, and more have delays that can see you losing a lot of money converting between currencies. Everyone from banks to retailers needs a safe, secure, fast, and cheap way to exchange value.
Cryptocurrencies provide this, and the blockchain is a platform for these exchanges. Anything of value, whether financial or otherwise, can be tracked and traded in a much more optimized system than the current ones based on convoluted bureaucracies and oligarchies.
The blockchain is revolutionizing the world. My initial fascination with Bitcoin was how governments could no longer print their faces on our money. I visited East Berlin when the wall came down. Here’s a picture of me chiseling at the Berlin Wall as a kid.
My parents went into East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and other Eastern European countries during their economic collapse, and exchanged American dollars for a lot of expensive goods at slashed prices because their currencies collapsed and became worthless.
Even if our economy collapses, cryptocurrencies will retain value and can be used to start anew in a foreign country.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain aren’t going anywhere. The walls are down.