Blockchain technology is all the rage right now.
Don and Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution, provide perhaps the best definition for blockchain. "The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value."
It's happening everywhere. In Arkansas, a livestock farming cooperative is now testing the effectiveness of Blockchain technology to track chicken shipments. Nasdaq just recently signed a deal with Switzerland's primary stock exchange, utilizing Blockchain for its product service offerings. And now, more than ever, forward-thinking startups are forgoing the conventional approach to fundraising by holding what are called ICOs: Initial Coin Offerings. The startup issues its own token, which can be bought and sold through the conversion of Bitcoin or Ethereum, giving cryptocurrency investors the opportunity to buy in.
And if you've been following the growing rivalry between Bitcoin and Ethereum, then you know the volatility of these cryptocurrencies. A conventional stock like Disney might only rise or fall a few cents or dollars in a day. Meanwhile a cryptocurrency can rise or fall tens or even hundreds of dollars in 24 hours. But that is not to say the potential is not abundant.
The allure of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is its open, distributed ledger, allowing for the records of transactions between two parties to be permanently verifiable. With Ethereum, specifically, these are called Smart Contracts, with the entire process being automated. So, not only can this be applied to the trading of digital currencies, but to actual assets in the real world as well.
For Example, Liquid Asset Token (LAT) is a unique blockchain-based platform where you can "tokenize" your physical assets: real estate, vehicles, even paintings and works of art. The platform, LAT, then allows you to sell shares of those physical assets onto its marketplace to investors. On August 22, 2017, LAT will issue 1,000,000,000 LATokens through an ICO.
This idea of turning physical assets--or pieces of physical assets--into digital currency is a significant step forward in terms of bridging the gap between the cloud and the real world. We are now entering an age where we're seeing, more and more, the potential for a more seamless integration between the two. And one of the issues Liquid Asset Token wants to solve is the selling of high-value assets, thus disrupting the conventional way of bringing an asset to market.
But why sell the entire thing at once, when you can break it up and sell it in shares?
In addition, the LAT platform also includes a wallet for purchasing and management of asset token transactions. Asset owners create an Asset Token, purchase Proof-of-Asset service, and list the token on the LAT marketplace. Asset Token issuers can also buy insurance or other instruments to make the token more attractive to investors, and investors can trade and manage their portfolio of assets through the LAT investment terminal. This terminal provides trading functions, access to credible asset data stored on blockchain, and asset portfolio analytics tools.
Translation: you can buy and sell pieces of physical assets in a trusted and permanently trackable way.
A while back, when I was first getting into cryptocurrencies, I watched this video on YouTube about Bitcoin, what it is, what it does, and why I should care. This 1 minute and 43 second video completely changed the way I thought about currency, and also challenged my perspectives on what I thought possible for the buying and selling of anything.
I was hooked.
Startups like Liquid Asset Token are taking huge leaps in terms of what we've deemed possible for the world of marketplace transactions--and they're betting big on two trends we can all agree have proven their longevity: moving from the physical world to the digital world, and the benefits (as well as consumer demands) for crowdfunding and shared economies.
That's really what cryptocurrency and blockchain is standing for, is this idea that we can all buy, sell, trade and interact on a public ledger--and furthermore, that we can all own a piece of something.
What a time to be alive.