How Blockchain Adoption is Expanding Beyond Financial Services
As major corporations like Google and Facebook announce their first major forays into the blockchain industry, the continued adoption of blockchain technology appears to be reaching the mainstream. While these announcements differ greatly in their scope and potential consequence, the continued adoption of blockchain technology by traditional industries remains a positive sign for the cryptocurrency industry and future blockchain technologies.
For Google, the partnership with Chainlink enables “on chain and cloud-based interaction with Ethereum decentralized applications and smart contracts.” In the case of Facebook’s Libra, the social media giant has jumped headfirst into the world of cryptocurrency: endeavoring to create its own payment services mechanism that could revolutionize financial services around the world. With 2.4 billion users, Facebook will be introducing the world to the cryptocurrency industry, opening new avenues for the adoption of more innovative blockchain technologies.
“In the medium term, Facebook can further its place as a provider of open-source tools for digital apps, sites, and e-commerce. Libra could spark additional cryptocurrency volume due to increased accessibility from both institutional players and everyday retail users.” — Binance Research
While financial institutions and technology companies have been on the cutting edge of blockchain adoption, more traditional industries have been more patient in their approach. However, there are a number of unique use cases that have shown significant potential, including instances in the data, auto, and art industries.
Data’s Role In Art and Automaking
Like Facebook and Google, automakers have begun to recognize the potential value in the data generated by their customers. As vehicles become more technologically advanced and develop capabilities of tracking, storing, and sharing large amounts of driving data, manufacturers have begun to explore methods of monetizing that information. According to Ford executive director Don Butler, the opportunity to share data between drivers and automakers is a matter of optimization. “The benefit there is hopefully an improved relationship, so we know you better, we understand you better and we’re able to deliver better services to you,” Butler said during an interview in Las Vegas.
In the art industry, developers are beginning to create innovative new ways to compensate creators for their work, enabling new opportunities for art-related commerce, especially in digital form. Last year artist Kevin Abosch sold a digital photo of a red rose, The Forever Rose, to a group of 10 art collectors for the handsome sum of $1-million dollars. While the art itself cannot be touched, the collectors own their own “rose token” which represents their investment in the piece. Although very few people can justify paying such a high price for any piece of art, the sale shows the potential of future blockchain-enabled technologies to create new economic opportunities for artists. In the art industry, where value can be partially subjective, the possibilities are endless.
“People traditionally have valued things they can see and feel. But some of the most valuable things — like love, for example — can be felt but not seen. Art reduced to its core essence is about the idea.”
For MakersPlace co-founder Dannie Chu, the fact consumers are beginning to place significant value in both digital currencies and digital creations shows that there is potential for blockchain technology to play a pivotal role in the future of the art industry. MakersPlace is a platform designed to enable digital artists to monetize their art through blockchain verification, creating an additional revenue stream while preventing theft or misattribution. This allows collectors to browse different categories of art hosted by MakersPlace including animation, photography, drawings, pixel art, and 3D creations. Like CryptoKitties before it, MakersPlace has shown the potential for economic activity when creatives and blockchain technology come together.
Decentralized Systems Revolutionizing Data Storage
Whether hosting driving data or sharing collectible art, blockchain-based solutions like The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) are beginning to revolutionize the ways in which consumers, creatives, and major industries can host and share data. IPFS enables users to host and share cryptographically-protected files using a decentralized peer-to-peer system. In the motor vehicle industry, IPFS has significant potential to shake up the marketplace as automobiles become equipped with more technological capabilities than ever before.
For independent artists and creatives, IPFS offers a potential backbone to provide support for important files regardless of whether they contain first drafts or collectible masterpieces. Through peer-to-peer cryptographic protection, only the owners of these digital creations will be able to control their destiny, whether that be in private storage or on public display. Through IPFS technologies users have the ability to take full autonomy of the data that is most important to their life, creating opportunities for individuals to take part in global communities and marketplaces like never before.
In order to operate decentralized data systems at scale, IPFS solutions like RTrade’s Temporal have been developed to allow integration into any application stack. As files grow larger and data is tracked and compiled at an increasing rate, automakers, retailers, and creatives alike are incentivized to consider decentralized technologies like IPFS and Temporal in order to optimize their operations. With major corporations like Google and Facebook already beginning to embrace blockchain technologies in their own ways, there remains significant potential for other major players to develop their own blockchain-based solutions. A quick glance at the list of partners on the Libra project shows massive companies including Visa, Mastercard, Coinbase, PayPal, eBay, Spotify, and Lyft are all ready to embrace blockchain technology.
For both major industries and savvy individuals, blockchain-based data solutions like IPFS and Temporal offer the potential for businesses and users to take control of their own data with a technology that reduces cost while optimizing both speed and security. At the consumer level, this allows individuals to achieve enterprise-level data storage without the need for a central figure, opening limitless opportunities for the networks and communities that could arise through decentralized cooperation. For major blockchain-friendly corporations like Google, Facebook, and many others, the advent of safe and secure file sharing systems like IPFS creates a new opportunity to lead the way in the adoption of cutting-edge technology.
As protocols like HTTP begin to reveal their shortcomings, innovative web 3.0 solutions like IPFS have the potential to lead the way in a new era of digital file storage. Through IPFS solutions like Temporal, major industries have the ability to embrace decentralized technology at scale, creating the potential to innovate while keeping pace with growth. For individual users, peer-to-peer based technologies like IPFS offer enterprise-level security without the need for a central authority, giving users full autonomy over their digital property whether it be in the form of personal data or fine art.