BLOCKCHAIN – THE QUIET ACHIEVER
Time For Trustless Trust
Blockchain technology is what I consider to be a quiet achiever, and is subtly easing its way into the mainstream in many industry sectors that impact all of us in one way or another. Since my previous articles on Blockchain, we’ve seen an increase in the implementation of blockchain technology as now more than ever it has become a “time for trust”, as quoted by one of the big four auditing monopolies PwC.
Without a doubt, Blockchain technology will have a beneficial effect on every aspect of business in the future, however, this is a gradual process that requires time and patience. Many traditional businesses are mindful of and watching this evolution, but sitting on the fence waiting for more examples of blockchain technology. Why?
Because traditional businesses will require more transformation when integrating Blockchain and will have to completely reconsider their processes to harvest the maximum benefits of this technology. Meanwhile, companies with a culture of innovation lead the way into this new era of transparency and immutability.
Although Blockchain was initially considered only suitable for banking, finance, and cryptocurrency sectors, we are now seeing the benefits in many other industries as well. Currently, we have a lot of solutions that are either in the pilot or beta phase or already being utilized in this enterprising way of not only keeping businesses honest but provides a range of benefits for the public.
50 Companies Already Using Blockchain Technology
101Blockchains.com compiled a list of the top 50 companies across a range of industries as indicated in the infographic above, however, I’m going to add an industry that is at the forefront with a metamorphic influence and used by billions of people. It’s infiltrated our daily lives and increasingly is a way of life for communication, work, and livelihoods.
Numerous giants in this industry have been in the notorious spotlight for misuse of personal data, political bias, and tampering, questionable algorithms to name a few. If you haven’t already guessed, yes it’s social media, particularly Facebook, and will probably be the last, if at all, to align themselves with a transparent, public blockchain for the benefit of its users on every level.
Truth About FaceBook’s Libra
Even Facebook’s yet to launch Libra coin that has recently come up against regulatory pressure is a private blockchain (permissioned) that uses an access control layer to govern who has access to the network making it more centralized. In other words, validators are vetted by the network owner, unlike public decentralized blockchain where applications can be added to the network without the approval or trust of others, using the blockchain as a transport layer.
The Libra blockchain would more likely be for financial transactions only and will not benefit from the network effect. Nor would the issues of privacy and data harvesting be addressed, in fact, Facebook, which ironically banned ads related to cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings, has not said how it might use blockchain technology, so a public blockchain, by its very nature, could well pose a threat to Facebook.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger with data stored across a network of computers and rules that are enforced by its many participants. It’s the opposite of Facebook, which is a massive centralized organization that controls all the infrastructure underlying the 2.7 billion global users on its proprietary social network.
Imagine a vast online network where we all hang out, chat, and buy things, but that’s not owned by Facebook, Google, or Amazon. That’s the vision many more people are seeing in blockchain technology as it becomes more understood. The companies using blockchain technology are actually securing their place in the changing ecosystem.
As 2020 comes to a close, there are now over 3 billion social media users around the globe using some form of social media, many are marketers, either for companies or in business for themselves.
Blockchain technology as a foundation in social media will be able to solve the problems related to notorious scandals, privacy violations, data control, and content relevance.
The integration of a decentralized blockchain ensures that all the social media published data remain untraceable and cannot be duplicated, even after its deletion. Furthermore, users will get to store data more securely and maintain their ownership.
Blockchain also ensures that the power of content relevance lies in the hands of those who created it, instead of the platform owners. This makes the user feel more secure as they can control what they want to see.
There are many upcoming social media platforms built on the blockchain, primarily used for sharing content through blogging and being rewarded with their native cryptocurrency. In my research, I’ve found some doing well, while others have tried and failed. Below I’ve outlined a few that stand out. They are each compared with a Web 2.0 platform or as close to it.
Bitchute: is a peer to peer web torrent video sharing platform, predominantly funded by users’ donations and scaling memberships. Monetization including tipping creators’ content is handled by 3rd party processors via Bitbacker, Coinpayments, Paypal et al. The responsibility for payments are passed on to the user, not Bitchute. Primary user interests: politics, activism. Alexa ranking: 2,172. Comparison: Youtube.
Steemit: Steem blockchain-based social media platform. Earn Steem coin and Steem Dollars which is a USD soft-pegged asset to post, comment, and curate. Primary user interests: advice, finance, economics. Alexa ranking: 20,069. Comparison: Reddit.
PeakD: Underpinned by the Hive which is a new blockchain that originated as a fork of Steem. In February, TRON acquired Steemit, Inc., which allowed it to gain control over Steem. In response, several Steem nodes and users created Hive, introducing a new governance model that is designed to prevent anyone from gaining control over the blockchain.
Despite those differences, PeakD social media functions are very similar to those of Steemit. Users can post content on the social blogging platform, Peakd. Users receive HIVE crypto tokens for posting content and commenting on that content. Primary user interests: Blogging, miscellaneous communities. Alexa Ranking: 40,004 Comparison: Markethive Social Media Platform
Minds: is an open-source social media platform. You can earn Minds ERC20 tokens for contributions. Minds measure your contributions to the network on a daily basis and you receive a “Contribution Score”. They then calculate how much you have contributed to the network relative to the entire community. That determines the percentage of the Daily Reward Pool that you earn.
Users’ only receive credit for unique interaction, meaning you can only earn credit from another unique user once per metric per day. (eg. If a friend votes on my content 100 times in a day, I will only get credit for 1 vote).
Primary user interests: politics, activism. Alexa ranking: 11,591. Comparison: Facebook.
Narrative: is a user-governed social media platform for bloggers. Earn NRVE tokens to post, comment, curate, moderate, and own niches. Since its inception, some members of the Narrative community have incorporated and are negotiating a new platform with the aim to be reborn with a new platform name along with some improvements integrating to the new Discord server. Primary user interests: n/a. Alexa ranking: 2,284,842. Comparison: Medium.
Memo: is a BCH blockchain-based social media platform. Earn BCH via posting. Data is stored directly to the blockchain, not the cloud, using OP_RETURN. Using the Memo OP_RETURN Protocol, the message you include with your transaction will show up as a post on the site. You can also use this protocol to like or reply to a previous memo.
Primary user interests: Bitcoin Cash, micro-blogging. Alexa ranking: 214,778. Comparison: Twitter.
However, According to Bitcoin.org the use of OP_RETURN is irresponsible in part because Bitcoin was intended to provide a record for financial transactions, not a record for arbitrary data. Perhaps Memo should build their own blockchain specifically for content and data.
SocialX: is a photo and video sharing blockchain-based platform. Earn SOCX crypto token rewards for contribution and licensing. SocialX is a community-driven social media platform allowing users to publish photos and video content.
SocialX has created its own blockchain to tackle various challenges associated with blockchain-based projects including the decentralization of photos, video, and other media.
Primary user interests: Varied content of a social nature. Alexa ranking: 2,223,697. Comparison: Instagram.
Indorse: Ethereum-based coding evaluation and assessment recruiting platform. Earn IND tokens for activity on the network. Primary user interests: coding, recruiting. Alexa ranking: 395,295. Comparison: Linkedin.
Markethive: built on blockchain technology, is a Social Market Network and much more than a social media or blogging platform. It incorporates all inbound marketing tools including SaaS, CRM, AR email systems, eCommerce, along with a digital media broadcasting platform. I am yet to find a blockchain comparison on the internet for Markethive.
Earn Markethive coin (MHV) for every activity and engagement on the platform as a free member. Be rewarded for your loyalty while building your business online in a collaborative environment. Created for the struggling entrepreneur, delivering a sovereign platform so all have the opportunity to excel and prosper. Primary user interests: business, marketing, blogging, current news, commercial arts, entrepreneurialism. Alexa ranking: 3,152. Comparison: Marketo, Hubspot, LinkedIn.
(Alexa rankings and data retrieved on October 18, 2020)
Blockchain – A Real Differentiator
Blockchain can be a real differentiator, a new technology with the potential to be a force for good, leaving centralized web 2 platforms behind with their tyrannical protocols.
Blockchain holds different meanings and use cases for different industries, with every industry being able to benefit from blockchain technology, however, by enlarge people still have limited knowledge of how blockchain can be a transformational change to all sectors.
Many cannot see beyond its association with cryptocurrencies and are confused about the differences between blockchain and cryptocurrency. A good way of understanding the relationship between crypto and blockchain is to compare it to an application on your smartphone. (e.g. Menulog or Messenger), and the platform on which that application is running (IOS or Android). Blockchain is the platform and cryptocurrency is an application that runs on the blockchain platform.
The confusion stems primarily from the fact that the platform (blockchain) and cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) came onto the scene at the same time. The first time blockchain was recognized is when it took the world by storm as the technology behind bitcoin. When in fact, it was first conceptualized back in 1991 using the term “Timestamping”, which was basically an immutable ledger, long before Bitcoin.
More organizations are reassessing their operations as they do battle with the repercussions of the pandemic lockdown of 2020. It has accelerated many disruptive trends that will create entire new markets and displace others in the process. There is a shift towards new ways of working, communicating, and transacting online.
Trust Is Fragile
Trust is faltering, becoming an increasing issue in the digital world and organizations are clearly recognizing the importance of building trust with their people, customers, and business partners. They are paying far greater attention to the risks that undermine trust online such as fraud, data loss, or misuse along with many other forms of cybercrime.
And in a more traditional sense we have all had to trust the institutions, middlemen, and the powers that be with our finances, documents, data, and the like, for decades, which has historically been the demise of society, even countries, almost becoming 3rd world. This type of trust will become irrelevant in the blockchain-enhanced digital world.
A decentralized, immutable distributed ledger (blockchain) has been coined as a “trustless” protocol, meaning there’s no need for trust as in the traditional sense. Blockchain technology supersedes the old trust method, transforming into a “trustless trust”.
An Emerging Technology Coming To Light
By integrating blockchain, organizations can build greater trust and transparency in areas such as certification, recruitment, commercial transactions, and the way they secure, share, and use data and content.
An increasing number of organizations are now seeing that blockchain technology provides an opportunity to change for the betterment of all, improving reputation, providing more growth and sustainability, build confidence, and propel any industry forward.
Both Industries And Society Will Reap The Greatest Rewards
PwC economists expect blockchain technology to bring benefits across a wide range of industry sectors and a lot of the value will be realized behind the scenes. This recent analysis in pdf format estimates blockchain technologies could trigger a $1.7 trillion boost in the global economy by 2030.
They expect between 10% and 15% of worldwide infrastructure to be using blockchain within a decade with the biggest beneficiaries poised to be the public administration, education, and healthcare sectors.
Also, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, and construction services will benefit from using blockchain to engage consumers and meet the demand for provenance and traceability.
There will be broader benefits for business services, communications, media, marketing, and advertising with the billions of users looking like winners with more of an equal opportunity to earn a living online. For ease, stability, and protection, blockchain technology will play a significant role in the next normal.
A Crypto/Blockchain enthusiast and a strong advocate for technology, progress, and freedom of speech. I embrace "change" with a passion and my purpose in life is to help people understand, accept, and move forward with enthusiasm to achieve their goals.
Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur