Cryptocurrencies have undergone a considerable evolution since their introduction to the market several years ago. No longer are they merely a means of exchange or store of value, but have proven effective for empowering a range of diverse applications and uses.
Cryptocurrency Use Cases
In this post, we’ll go over 7 of the most surprising uses of cryptocurrencies that you never knew existed.
The Factom (FCT) token is a relatively new entrant to the cryptosphere. However, it has already made its mark, and is something that developers and investors have paid keen attention to since its release.
Factom joined the market in 2014, and has a unique position in the blockchain that separates itself from others. Factom’s mission statement is to be the “Universal record keeper of the world.”
Factom’s developer, Peter Kirby, stated that bitcoin’s network has key limitations that prevent entrepreneurs from launching their apps on the bitcoin blockchain. In order for Kirby’s platform to materialize in the real world, he would need to create an entirely new set of technologies to interface with bitcoin’s immutability.
Once data is input into the Factom platform, it is permanent, and uses bitcoin’s blockchain for recorded transactions. This input works as a trustless transaction that can protect it against digital tampering. Any media can be recorded on the Factom blockchain, be it videos, writing, or audio files. The immutability and trustless nature of Factom allows for each file to be verified for their authenticity.
Factom uses hashed encryption, the bitcoin blockchain, and it’s own networks to verify three different attributes of files.
So far, Factom has verified the legitimacy of 126,000,000 pieces of data, and that number is growing as the platform moves from design to implementation on a wide scale.
2. Digital Publishing
The interplay between online publishers and advertisers has created for a combined synergy between the two industries. That synergy and relevancy appears to be sorely lacking, given the amount the irrelevant or ignored advertisements served to online visitors on a daily basis. (Most web surfers have ad blockers, or are simply so used to seeing ads that they do not process their existence at all.)
To address the burnout and relevancy issues that these platforms face, a startup called SolidOpinion has pioneered a new generation of pay-per-article advertising where advertisers can bid for targeted views. The platform automatically serves ad spaces above relevant articles on a range of eligible websites.
Its blockchain operates with its own digital currency: the Engagement Token. To encourage clicks and views, both content creators and the audience itself can earn tokens by publishing and commenting on unique content. The network’s advertisers can purchase these tokens to serve ads.
No advertisement platform would be complete without a way to track and measure an ad’s effectiveness, and Solid Opinion has that covered, too. A core feature of its blockchain is to record the engagement and virality of the content posted. This can then be used by advertisers to make adjustments to their content marketing plans for optimal returns.
3. Going Green With Solar Power
If you care about the environment, then you will be pleased to know that the world of cryptocurrencies can help the world become greener. Brooklyn Microgrid allows people who have solar panels to sell off their electricity via a phone app. This lets people who don’t have solar panels to access the power generated for themselves, resulting in less pollution and more solar-powered energy.
The secondary feature of the Brooklyn Microgrid is to create a secondary form of power – and away from power stations in the event of an emergency. Superstorm Sandy created chaos in the United States’ electric grid, leaving countless homes without a form of power. One point of weakness in this system are the long transmissions lines that were damaged in the storm. With the Microgrid, these lines will not be needed, and are therefore impervious to extreme weather conditions.
If there is another natural disaster on the same magnitude as Sandy, the Microgrid could divert the power made to critical resources such as hospitals, shelters, as well as community centres where it’s needed the most.
Diverting one’s energy via solar panels is not a new technology, as people can already do so. However, this is the first time that residents will be able to make money from their additional energy reserves. Previously, one could deduct a certain amount from their power bills, and receive a credit on their statements via their utility company. With the new microgrid, this eliminates the need for a middleman or intermediary, leaving customers with complete control of their power and the ability to pay off their panels faster.
The Brooklyn Microgrid is just one example of how the blockchain is changing the energy industry. The project has already begun to roll out across parts of America and beyond, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
4. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality has been affected by the development of cryptocurrencies too thanks to Blendar. This platform incentivizes its users for viewing AR with virtual tokens that can be exchanged for fiat currencies.
Augmented Reality has become popularized with the release of popular games such as Pokemon Go and companies like Candy Lab. From these major platforms, a new era of startups and entrepreneurs have emerged.
One augmented reality startup based on the blockchain is Fluffr.io. This platform has teamed up with Blendar and Candy Lab to pioneer in-person experiences using a token that can be earned and traded.
Fluffr’s main purpose is to be used as a ‘social mining’ platform, where users can earn tokens (carats or fluffs) for participating in virtual worlds. Artificial intelligence and AR work in tandem to create unique experiences for their users, leading many customers on a virtual adventure where they can compete and play for real-world currencies.
The success of Flufflr’s ICO will be the next step in assessing the platform’s feasibility, as no blockchain startup so far has attempted something so ambitious.
5. Decentralized Supercomputers
One platform that has once been described as the “Airbnb of computing” is Golem. Golem is the world’ s first decentralized supercomputer, which is powered by its own Golem token on the Ethereum blockchain. One thing that makes Golem attractive from an investment perspective is that the amount of Golem coins in circulation is fixed, meaning that the GNT tokens in future could see a price increase.
The Golem Supercomputer project sources its power from numerous locations around the world, which can range from both personal computers as well as massive data centers.
A benefit of using Golem to the end user is that one can host an intensive website, do scientific calculations, execute code, or perform CGI rendering. Some people have even used Golem to mine other cryptocurrencies and made a profit at the end.
To use this decentralized computer network, customers are required to pay for and use its GNT tokens. These tokens are given to those who rent out their computational resources on the Golem network.
The roadmap for Golem is expected to take around 4-5 years to complete, which is longer than many other startups. However, there have been some speculations that when the GNT token goes live, it will have an enormous amount of value for its earliest investors.
7. Decentralized Cloud Storage
Sia lets its users to rent out their unused harddrive space to others on the platform and make money in the process. The Sia platform has been compared favorably to services such as Google Drive, or DropBox, as it is open source and powered by the blockchian. Its decentralized nature means that Sia has no single point of failure, nor does it have the liability of miseuse of unencrypted data.
Unlike the major clodu sttorage data services, the infrastructure that Sia rlies on is inexpensive to implemen, and could possibly lead to higher profits later on for their investors. But Sia has a long roadmap ahead of it, and there are some huge obstacles in the way for for how decentralized informaton can be stored and protected.
In spite of these difficulties, the Sia community is assured that they have produced a highly competent and scalable product. Early investors can view how Sia could help transform the landscape of cloud storage facilities, especially in the case of encrypting sensitive information and keeping its network decentralized.
So these are the top 7 uses of cryptocurrencies and how they are likely to disrupt the blockchain. This is just the start of these technologies, and many more are likely to be released in future as they become a prominent force in our everyday lives.