From multi-billion dollar financial institutions—including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Citibank—to retail giants such as Overstock, global industry leaders have examined the unique applications of the blockchain technology, also known as a distributed ledger technology.
A few months ago, Overstock CEO Patrick Bryne, for example, launched a blockchain-based asset and securities settlement system called Medici, as an alternative to traditional stock markets and exchanges. Today, Commonwealth Bank of Australia launched a blockchain network of their own to support their customers, institutional clients, and other banks in the country.
As Chain Inc. co-founder Adam Ludwin explains, Bitcoin is one example of a digitized asset on the blockchain network. Any unique assets such as gift cards, minutes on a mobile network, or shares in a company could replace Bitcoin as the medium of exchange.
“You may want Bitcoin as a currency and a token in a particular use case. When it comes to Bitcoin itself, it doesn’t work without the entire solution which includes the blockchain, decentralization and miners,” said Adam.
“However, how might we digitize a gift card? a security? a minute on a mobile network? Then the question becomes, ‘If thats the asset, assuming we don’t need Bitcoin as the asset, what type of network do we need to deploy?’”
An increasing number of software firms and startups such as Edgelogic are starting to offer blockchain-based home automation systems. Using the transparent and decentralized nature of the blockchain technology, users can easily track alerts of various sensors and triggers around the house.
For example, if a sensor detects a movement or triggers a fire alarm, it would record an unalterable message on the blockchain network. The system can also work as an automated deposit distribution system. When a repair needs to be done, the blockchain-based system asks the user for a confirmation and releases funds automatically.
Another interesting application is decentralized voting or transparent governance. Startups such as Blockchain Tech Ltd and BitNation have developed Bitcoin-based funding distribution systems and decentralized voting methods to create fairer and more justified governance.
While many believe that Bitcoin and the blockchain network are limited to financial applications, an increasing number of startups have already taken the initiative to develop unique technologies, taking advantage of the decentralized and transparent nature of Bitcoin.