Some people think that the future of blockchain technology is vital for Humanity to take a next step in its technological evolution. They consider it a matter of time until we all use it in some way, shape or form. Others... well, might find it as an overhype.
If we look at its past, however, you might be surprised to learn that as a technology, blockchain is already thirty years old.
A bit of blockchain History.
Before we analyze how blockchain got to where it is, it's important to think about its past. We can do so by looking at some milestones:
- 1991: The first trace of the blockchain technology concept appeared in a paper by Stuart Haber and W Scott Stornetta.
- 2000: Stefan Konst published a theory of cryptographically-secured chains and a framework of ideas for implementing it. This paved the way for Satoshi to develop the first application of the technology as we know it.
- 2008: The Bitcoin whitepaper is launched.
- 2014: For the first time, blockchain technology was is separated from currency. Ethereum allows blockchains to execute computation in the form of transactions. A new Era, called Blockchain 2.0, starts.
Blockchains’ computation features receive the name of “smart contracts” and have been particularly attractive for tech companies to continue to evolve. As you will see within the following use cases list, smart contracts, decentralized computation, enable all kinds of positive use cases for blockchain technology.
What industries will be impacted by blockchain adoption?
We can certainly highlight that blockchain is already making (and will continue to!) waves in the following fields:
Video games (in two ways):
- Blockchain games, which means games that take part exclusively or partly on-chain; and
- Blockchain in gaming: implementing blockchain across the gaming industry.
Josh Chapman, MP of Konvoy Ventures, an esports and gaming company, has said:
“Gaming does not need blockchain; blockchain needs gaming. Blockchain will only see mass adoption and mass application once it provides significant value to the video gaming ecosystem.” One of the very first NFTs and one of the biggest major use cases for Ethereum happened in Cryptokitties, which was a Tamagotchi-like game centered around breedable and collectible creatures. Thanks to blockchain, each kitty is unique, unreplicable and indestructible.
The adoption of blockchains in gaming allows to create financial ecosystems and transactions within videogames and create interoperability with NFTs and elements from other games. Also, blockchains can help create and distribute reward systems for gamers.
Other positive use cases include:
Peer-to-peer energy trading is: “a novel paradigm of power system operation, where sellers can generate their own energy in dwellings, offices and factories, and share it with each other locally.” Blockchain allows for the tokenization of these economies so energy products and other commodities can be exchanged as digital assets, increasing providers and further competition among small players.
Blockchain adoption in this industry would allow for greater supply chain transparency and reduce costs and risks across all steps of this chain. This could lead to optimization for different asset classes (e.g. solar energy) instead of others in the already existing markets. The authentication of products would be easier and more reliable by using blockchains to record transactions and track assets. Some companies that are currently dabbling in this are:
- RENeW Nexus allows consumers with rooftop solar systems to sell their excess electricity to other local consumers across the electricity network in Australia.
- Nike issued a patent for its blockchain-compatible sneakers.
Blockchain adoption is believed to facilitate the secure transfer and use of medical records, manage the drug and medical equipment supply chain and help healthcare researchers in various issues such as unlocking genetic code. Additionally it could reduce payment processing time from insurance companies. In Estonia 95% of health information is now ledger-based, and 99% of all prescription information is digital.
The music industry
The technology can improve royalty payments, allow venues/record labels to track their distributions and settle payments, and even allow micro-contributions. A pioneer in this is Vezt, a market where fans can fund artists directly, ranging from musicians to producers. Thanks to this, supporters can also create revenue streams for themselves.
Users can store data in decentralized systems, renting out space to others. This could take the look of several existing players in the industry, such as 0chain, free, decentralized cloud storage solution for app creators. Another particularly interesting use case is Transcodium, where users can rent unused hardware and use others' computing power to get their job done.