Blockchain technology is everywhere at the moment, primarily because of the roller-coaster price changes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and other crypto-currencies. Blockchain applications are disrupting incumbent institutions, putting the technology into the hands of individuals instead.
Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash
In this post we’ll look at why the blockchain is being devoted so many column inches by examining three great use-cases for the technology.
At its heart a blockchain is a ledger, with each line recording the transfer of value from one account to another:
As the ledger is write-only, protected by cryptographic signatures and hashes and stored in the public domain, it can be used to record the transfers of value in virtual currencies that are not government-backed or subject to regulation, taxation or duties. There are as many cryptocurrencies as the blockchains they run on, and the price of each coin (in relation to the dollar) varies over time with the time-honoured rules of supply vs demand.
Using Bitcoin to transfer the equivalent of $100,000 from one country to another is much cheaper than using traditional banking products that transfer actual dollars.
2. Raising capital
Another disruptive use-case is to use a smart contract platform like Ethereum to launch an ICO (Initial Coin Offerring). In simple terms, a smart contract is set up on the Ethereum blockchain that controls a limited supply of tokens. The tokens are sold in exchange for Ether (the crypto-currency that powers the Ethereum blockchain).
With no infrastructure, an ICO can raise capital to back your idea with the purchasers of the tokens becoming the “shareholders” in your prospective venture. It’s like crowd-funding on steroids!
Each entry on a public blockchain is distributed around the globe so that there are thousands of copies of the data, all in the public domain. Each “row” in the ledger is timestamped and unchangable, a fact used by blockchain notarisation services like Nottario.
Nottario stores the digital fingerprint of your data (not the data itself) in a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain forever: no updates or deletions are possible. As the timestamp of the entry is public knowledge, it is an incontravertable fact that the file you presented existed in known form at a known time and date. This is the very definition of notarisation but without employing the costly services of a human notary public and without your precious data leaving your computer.
Unlike many ICO offerings, Nottario is a real working service, not just a white paper containing an rough idea! Try Nottario for yourself with any file you need to notarise.