As time moves on and the blockchain evolves the [tie_tooltip text=”A use case is a software and system engineering term that describes how a user uses a system to accomplish a particular goal.” gravity=”n”]use cases[/tie_tooltip] become clearer and clearer. Before I jump into the growing list of use cases I really want to take a small side-step into the thing humans seem to always forget.
It takes time for technology and almost every other thing in life to come to full fruition. As time moves on we start to get a better understanding of the possibilities the technology brings with it. I’m pretty sure it would be hard for you to imagine yourself reading this text on this old piece of I-don’t-even-know-what-to-call-it.
Whichever device you are reading this piece of text on right now has had a long history of evolution. The use cases kept and will keep on growing as more minds enter the market. Eventually, you’ll end up with something that’s simple enough to be used by the masses.
Use cases for the blockchain
We’ve already talked about what the blockchain is in a previous post. One notable thing you’ll see when you’re trying to explain the blockchain to people is a face of utter confusion. It just makes no sense to them. I’d imagine it to be like watching a flat-earther being sent into space to see the world with their own eyes.
The first barrier most people need to overcome in order to understand something they think they already know is their own preconceived notion. Sometimes we need to unlearn what we thought was right. Other times we need to let down the barrier of being overly skeptical. These things can and will blind us towards our journey to accept (new) evidence-based truths.
One of the easiest ways to make people understand something is to show them what it does, how it can be used and how it changes their life.
That’s why we don’t spend all of our energy trying to explain electricity. We flipped on a light switch and billions of people were sold.
You don’t need to explain the internet. Show us a hilarious cat video and unlimited access to naked people and we’re sold.
You don’t need to explain ATM’s, planes, toilets, cameras or any of the billions of objects surrounding you. As soon as we can use it, we’re sold.
Go ahead and try to explain immutability, ledgers, hashes and the blockchain and see how many people care. One of the only important questions is: How can we use this?
Because we found something difficult to understand, or are unaware of how it works, we made out like it’s probably not true. Personal incredulity
A quick google image search for the keywords: “use cases blockchain”, gives you this as the first image result:
This picture does a great job of showing us virtually every market the blockchain could tackle. This is of course besides the question, if every market is in need of a blockchain revolution. We also don’t need million dollar cars, but the possibility to make one that some people will use is out there.
1. Transfer of money
The first and probably most talked about use-case for the blockchain is by far the transfer of wealth. This is particularly the case for international money transfers. The process of sending money from one party to the next would be instantaneous and would remove the need to pay transfer fees to every intermediary.
In a digitalized world where we already make digital payments, it’s not so strange to expect a form of usable digital cash.
2. Distributed Storage
A lot of us use services like Google Drive, Dropbox to store our files. The files are stored on their servers and databases. Like our money is stored in the bank. We have to trust them to not look into or alter it those files. Trust multimillion-dollar companies that make money from our data to not look into and use our data. There would be no reason at all for them to look into our data because it’s just way to useful. The over usefulness of our data would be like locking a small child in their favorite candy shop and telling them not to touch anything. We all know they wouldn’t dare touch it.
We all know that to some extent they look at and harvest our data. Besides governments can force them to disclose data if required.
On a distributed storage blockchain each file is encrypted, broken up into pieces and distributed across the network. The nature of the platform prevents anyone from having any control over what is stored or shared by users. Bits and pieces are stored on different computers on the network with high encryption.
3. Smart Contracts
As of today, one of the most promising applications of blockchain technology is the smart contract. It can execute commercial transactions and agreements automatically. It also enforces the obligations of all parties in a contract – without the added expense of a middleman.
Smart contracts are simple to understand, but their implications could be huge. A smart contract is a code that executes an action via blockchain. The most obvious example would be a payment transfer that automatically occurs when a condition is met. The enforcement mechanism of the contract is the decentralized, open and immutable nature of the blockchain itself. Given the historical assumption that agreements between individuals are impossible to enforce outside of a governmental or judicial framework, the potential impact of smart contracts is massive.
“The program runs this code and at some point it automatically validates a condition and it automatically determines whether the asset should go to one person or back to the other person, or whether it should be immediately refunded to the person who sent it or some combination thereof.” Vitalik Buterin
4. Supply Chain
The [tie_tooltip text=”A supply chain is a network between a company and its suppliers to produce and distribute a specific product, and the supply chain represents the steps it takes to get the product or service to the customer. ” gravity=”n”]suply chain[/tie_tooltip] is in for a major shift. In every industry, it’s imperative to have solid records to trace each product to its source. So, for example, a supermarket would use the blockchain to keep track of the food it sources from companies. The blockchain would record where each product came from, who processed and stored it and its sell-by-date. Ultimately, blockchain can increase the efficiency and transparency of supply chains and positively impact everything from warehousing to delivery to payment. Chain of command is essential for many things, and blockchain has the chain of command built in.
A bit of rambling
Blockchain will go mainstream the day people start using it without realizing they are using it. The younger generations growing up right now have never known a world without the internet. The next generations won’t know a world without the blockchain. The blockchain, just like the internet, will take off when you no longer need to explain it.
I’ll keep updating this piece as time goes on and the blockchain space evolves more and more.