In 2017 and into 2018, blockchain technology has grabbed headlines around the world as the implications of distributed ledger technology became apparent across many industries and sectors. Now, it seems as though everyone wants to build on the blockchain or is at least interested in learning more about how to harness the technology's potential, and some financial gurus have been calling this the dot-com boom, all over again. For example, when Kodak launched KodakCoin (a cryptocurrency for photographers), its stock price rose by 60%, which led to questions surrounding whether it was an artificial boost or something to be taken seriously.
With all of the hype around blockchain technology, industry experts are looking to disrupt even the most specialized fields. Large companies like IBM and Walmart are working to track shipments of pork in China more effectively on the blockchain, and other more traditional applications include financial services, gaming, and cloud computing.
Here are a few ways blockchain technology may help disrupt not only the behemoths like IBM and Walmart, but even mom-and-pop shops, and how you can be prepared for what's to come:
1. How blockchain intends to optimize revenue streams and processes for existing industries.
When you look at where the majority of innovation is happening in the blockchain space, the bulk of it is rooted in creating more efficient processes. For example, Akash is a blockchain platform that wants to disrupt the multi-billion dollar cloud computing industry by making computing power more accessible. Instead of choosing between AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud, the Akash network wants anyone with idle computing power to be able to "rent" their workload processing capabilities to users looking to deploy workloads to the cloud.
In doing so, centralized entities will no longer be able to set the price of the market. Instead, a decentralized ecosystem will allow the price to be set solely based on supply and demand. As a result, smaller competitors and even companies with computing power to spare will be able to make use of their assets right alongside big industry players, and consumers as well as business owners that rely on cloud computing power may be able to take advantage of more cost-effective platforms, or even convert their own hardware into money-making machines by renting them to the cloud.
2. How blockchain intends to give rise to a wave of peer-to-peer solutions.
Building on the idea of decentralized economies, one of the fastest ways to create flourishing ecosystems with regard to blockchain is to empower peer-to-peer (P2P) interactions without the need of a middleman. For example, cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, Binance and others have eliminated the need for professional brokers on the market and allowed users to trade directly. While not all products can be truly decentralized, the focus on P2P solutions helps drive a better user experience and evens the playing field.
A next generation exchange, Zerta, plans to not only satisfy customer intentions to buy, trade, profit and utilize cryptocurrencies on a day-to-day basis, but will do so by focusing on strong customer support and user experience. By focusing on the users and how they interact, Zerta will help blockchain's global adoption, as customer support is key for any business, but especially one in a burgeoning marketplace.
Another example of the P2P solutions provided by blockchain is Acorn Collective. As a second generation crowdfunding platform, it is combining data and marketing automation to provide greater accessibility and success to crowdfunding campaigns globally. The blockchain component helps private users across the world fund new projects and helps eliminate most pitfalls currently found in traditional crowdfunding.
P2P blockchain applications are robust and have the potential to bring change to industries that are in desperate need of a makeover.
3. How blockchain intends to create a new suite of tools and applications.
In the 1990s, there were two kinds of innovation present: innovation of the way the Internet itself was accessed (i.e. browsers), and the types of sites and even companies that were built on top (i.e. pets.com).
It's safe to say the same process will happen within the realm of blockchain innovation.
As more and more companies begin to experiment and implement blockchain platforms, programs, and decentralized applications (dApps), the same two kinds of innovation will continue to occur. Ethereum, which acts as the foundation for countless blockchain platforms, will continue to improve, while companies like Proxeus, which builds blockchain-compatible tools and services, will continue to innovate on top of the blockchain. Utilizing those tools and services will be important for business owners who are simply trying to understand how they can exploit the blockchain and feel as though they are involved with the rapidly developing tech.
The truth is, the blockchain boom has yet to even make its way through the infancy stage. Considering the fact that for every small step forward, five new potential directions for disruption reveal themselves, there is still a significant amount of exploring that needs to happen in order to discover the breadth of potential across the full landscape.