Despite the fact that Bitcoin prices have been surging of late as a result of the Greek financial crisis, there remains a great deal of debate over whether or not the leading digital currency will end up as a major financial player. Some believe Bitcoin will be widely implemented and commonly used in a matter of years, and others think it will fade away, either in favor of newer digital currencies or due to a lack of practical utility. But no matter what happens to Bitcoin specifically, it’s beginning to look as if its underlying technology, and specifically the blockchain, will endure.
For those who are less familiar with the ins and outs of the currency, an explanation of Bitcoin functionality reveals that the blockchain is a “general log of transactions” on which “you can see all transactions that have ever taken place or ever will take place.” In other words, if Bitcoin is used in a financial transaction, that transaction is permanently recorded in a public space. And this concept, of an incorruptible universal record and tracking system, has already become an important tech application for a number of budding businesses.
Here are some of those businesses.
Factom’s core purpose is explained right on the front page of its website: “using the technology behind Bitcoin to change how businesses manage data and keep records.” Basically, the idea is to use the blockchain to record a range of data and records, as opposed to just Bitcoin transactions. This would allow participating businesses (and, as the site suggests, even governments) to record data in a transparent and unchanging fashion, conceivably resulting in the same data being more accessible and more trustworthy.
World Passport is a concept aiming to make it easier for individuals to identify themselves officially without an official passport from a sovereign nation. And really, it’s as simple as recording proof of identity a single time on a blockchain-based network, so that it can thereafter be accessed any time, from any place. According to Wired, World Passport creator Christopher Ellis said that he “wanted to create a voluntary ID system in which (his) proof of existence could be backed by a social network of (his) choosing.” It’s a tech-based, ultra-secure, “world passport,” as opposed to a physical nation passport.
This is not an application that will ever be as widely used as something like World Passport or Factom, but it’s nevertheless a fascinating way to take advantage of blockchain technology. Simply put, the idea is to record and monitor all diamond sales and transactions in a secure public forum mirroring the blockchain, so as to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, diamond theft and the trafficking of illegal stones. As noted by Business Insider in an article about Bitcoin startups, including those on this list, Edgelogic director Leanne Kemp is “not excited about Bitcoin,” but sees opportunity for the underlying technology. Indeed, that technology could put an end to illegal diamond trades for all intents and purposes.
Through these and other startups, the Bitcoin blockchain is becoming a powerful and influential technology in the business world.
Article By: Patti Conner