It’s no secret that at CCN, we are long-term believers in the power of the blockchain to reshape and better society in innumerable ways.
Following the recent enthusiasm and inevitable profit-taking that resulted in what might look like a bubble popping, we thought it a good time to go over some of the ways blockchains will revolutionize society, no matter the current value the tokens which power them.
Chainalysis have developed methods to help fiat regulators and government bodies to know what’s happening on at least the Bitcoin and similar blockchains. While this extends and emboldens the future of opaque cryptocurrencies, it also means we’re probably pushing toward a shift in the way that finances are done generally. If governments decide that it is possible to have a 0% tax cheat rate with a blockchain system in place for its fiat currency, they will likely begin to implement systems which enable this. It’s no secret we’re heading for a cashless society.
Those weary of government can take solace in the fact that decentralized options have a large, large scale advantage over any fiat systems that emerge, and so for the forseeable future the government will be playing catch-up in terms of dominating the cryptocurrency economy in the same way it dominates the fiat one. Nevertheless, the blockchain is actively shifting the way that regulators view money, and a more transparent system might emerge as a necessity for survival in the distant future. A more transparent system would lead to less fraud, waste, and abuse as well as less counterfeiting. Either of these side effects of the blockchain will be felt by everyone in society at some point, perhaps within the lifetime of this author and his readers.
Estonia is currently leading the way with its digital citizenship program. Immutably provable records of identity are increasingly valuable in a world where literally anything can be faked, even live news conferences. Eventually all organizations which require identification will have some form of encrypted database, preferably decentralized and very difficult to modify without correct permissions. A shift to digital, cryptographically-based identification systems would represent a change for everyone – no more losing your ID card, just regain access to your remote credentials. Or something similar. Again, this is a change in society we are likely to witness within our lives.
Data Mining & Advertising
Several outfits are working on blockchain-based solutions to the digital advertising problem. AdEx and AdToken focus on making advertisers more honest, as well as their customers, while BitClave seeks to create a whole new economy around the buying and selling of our individual retail data. In the near future, it will be commonplace for people to receive a small, token rebate for advertisements served to them from which they then made a purchase, in the form of being paid a portion of the cost of delivering that ad to them.
Public Trust & Accountability
Everything from marriage or health records or land deeds to political votes can be recorded in a blockchain. On the first mission, we’ve seen companies like Factom, trying to find successful means of recording real properties on the blockchain. On the latter, Votem is far and above the competition in terms of creating a trusted blockchain voting solution. We think that within a few elections, some precincts will be calculating votes on systems built by Votem and her competitors, and that recording property transactions into blockchains will be commonplace within the century.
In concert with the last point, we note that a recent rash of ICOs have launched which seek to help people monetize assets. We’re talking about a crowdfunded sort of pawn shop, where people who have valuable items can raise money by selling shares in them instead of selling them whole or liquidating them completely. The really interesting thing for cryptonaughts will be the ability to sell shares in their individual cryptocurrency holdings, essentially being able to take loans on their crypto holdings, as is offered by SALT.
In general, the advent of blockchains will transform the way that people borrow and lend money, and this is yet another way which everyone reading this will be affected going into the future. We can imagine decentralized student loan funding projects among other innovations.