Blockchain is a bag full of promising surprises. By decentralizing records and letting users own and control their data, it is a vivid illustration of how technology can uphold democracy in the digital scape. The application can reach beyond our naïve imagination and apply to nearly all walks of daily life which involve a synergy between two or more users. So far, cryptocurrencies or electronically generated instruments of payments or barter have gained the most traction, but the applications of blockchain are intended to simplify any form of exchange – not just financial.
Blockchain might sound way ahead of its time but we have some budding practical applications that can substantially transform our affair with technology. The 15 Blockchain services which you can instantly start using are:
Blockchain Applications for Users
1. Internet of blockchain-based apps: Blockstack
To prevent internet whale sharks from wielding too much control on what actions users perform in a connected environment, blockchain startup Blockstack has build what it calls a “new internet” which addresses the flaws in the traditional idea of the internet, especially in terms of privacy and security. To enable access to this powerful new age internet of collaboration, Blockstack has developed a special browser to run apps which are decentralized or distributed over an encrypted network.
Technically, Blockstack is not a real browser, it works as an API within the default browser on your system while you can also choose to authorize multiple browsers at the same time. It shows you a list of supported application including both the completed ones and those under-development. There are nearly 200 application which allow building other apps for the platform and this is what has attracted a lot of interest towards the idea. The developers envision hundreds of millions of users swarming around this technology.
Other offerings part of this browser, apart from internet of blockchain-based apps, include a blockchain based identification system and a bitcoin wallet. To get to using Blockstack – or at least getting to know it – you must download the client from this page and create an id which is as easy as creating an email ID.
2. Blogging Platforms Based on Blockchain
Content on the web is judged by the number of viewers landing on a certain page, but with this we often overlook the considerations about any positive impact that the content is making. Blockchain attempts a solution to the problem by allowing content creators target posts, define audiences in a converging fashion, and have complete authority and ownership on the content generated. Guild is one such app which runs on the Blockstack environment and allows users to create and share blogs. Since these blogs are not stored on a company’s servers, there are no rules to follow, no book to swear by, no censorship to splice the wings of imagination.
Another blockchain application, Synereo, allows digital creators to monetize digital real estate without piling their blogs or websites with distracting ads or even biting into visitors’ computing resources. Based on Google AMP, Synereo rewards websites owners in cryptocurrencies for generating content based on the number of visitors. It allows creators to incentivize visitors by rewarding them for sharing content.
3. Social Media Platforms Based on Blockchain
Although intended to be portals of communication and relation-building, the noise created by the vast flow of information on social media networks is difficult to put a sock in. Not to forget, unsolicited messages, privacy threats, and the menace of identity theft. So what if a social network rewarded for actually social interactions and community building? There is one – Steemit – which has its own cryptocurrency STEEM that is used to reward users for sharing posts that make an impact. Users get paid on the basis of upvotes which gives a reasonable idea about the influence of the user within a community.
Indorse is another social network which can be treated as the blockchain counterpart of LinkedIn. It rewards users for earning “indorsement” from experts on the platform using cryptocurrency Ethereum. The platform will soon provide for smart contracts in near future.
4. Cloud Storages Based on Blockchain
As we’re dealing with unimaginably large volumes of data, a constant threat that looms is that of our data being misused or compromised. Storj and Sia are two blockchain-based cloud storage solution which aid in peer-to-peer sharing of files. Your data is not at the risk of being exploited by hackers or subject to any form of moderation or censorship since it is decentralized. With Sia you can also trade the unused storage on your computer or datacentre to other users searching for storage.
Similar to Sia, Filecoin connects users and hosts and the only difference is that Filecoin has its own currency – by the same name – which is generated by the volume of data shared using its protocol and can be interchanged with common digital and traditional currencies. Since all the data is encrypted and protected under smart contracts, from a wider picture, it seems to be a profitable deal than having your data stolen.
5. Entertainment Platforms Based on Blockchain
One of the biggest peeves of the entertainment industry is middlemen eating up a major amount of income off both – artists’ and admirers’ – plates. To deal with this Aventus has launched a B2B ticketing solution which uses tokenization to keep fraud at bay and limit the secondary sales of tickets. It can also be used to cap or regulate the prices of tickets.
At the stretch of the other arm is Ongaku Ryoho, you can take it for the Soundcloud bitten by the blockchain bug. It allows artists to upload their creations as well as lets users explore indie music for free. Simultaneously exists Viberate, a blockchain network which unites gig musicians with pros and other professionals to help the former find a stage to display their talent.
6. Charity Platforms Based on Blockchain
In the words of Bitcoin philanthropist Pine, when you having money does not matter when you have enough, which is why you should donate. But surely, you don’t have to have mined bitcoin several years ago to be wanting to partake in charity and two software which help you track your givings are Alice and Bitgive. These social funding platforms connect relief organizations with donors, also allowing complete transparency into the ways their donated money is being spent to improve certain lives. When you see positive results, you are astounded by the euphoria of the real joy of giving.
7. Employment Portals Based on Blockchain
To be able to distribute that unused part of your income, you have to have a solid source of income and blockchain can possibly help you in this respect too. Besides Indorse which we just talked about, there is another network DreamTeam which allows passionate gamers to seek a job as a professional e-Sports player. It also allows e-Sports team to manage endorsements and revenue generated from exposure to the media. It also helps managers keep a track of players’ performance as well as maintain a ledger of potential hires.
8. Medical Records Storage Platforms Based on Blockchain
A concrete portfolio of medical history is really important for an effective healthcare, not just for medication but for liaisons related to finances and other administrative work you don’t want to waste time on when someone’s health is the only thing that should worry you. Afia is a service that allows users to store their personal health data on an encrypted, private cloud. Meanwhile, Akiri allows users to store their data but the central focus is on sharing it efficiently and securely with healthcare providers, medical practitioners, and helping them verify the authenticity of health insurance claims.
Blockchain Applications for Entrepreneurs
1. Buying and Selling Platforms Based on Blockchain
Trade has existed even before economies or professions did and one of the blockchain platforms which facilitate the trade of goods is OpenBazaar. It is an unrestricted marketplace which allows users to set up their own e-commerce outlets without depending on providers like Amazon or eBay. Instead of baity ads, OpenBazaar relies on relevant strings of characters which users can deploy to promote their stores. It uses Blockstack to verify the identities of sellers and buyers. A similar trade platform-cum-cryptocurrency is Syscoin which allows users to vend their products without fears of government interference or restrictions put by corporates.
2. Data Management Platforms Based on Blockchain
Marketed as the first autonomous data network in the world, MaidSafe is an effective decentralized data storage and management solution for small enterprises. Apart from storing data, it can also be used for developing and managing content systems like website and apps.
At the same time, if you’re looking for large volumes of data to test your pilot project or simulate a neural network you created, you can bank on Datum which is a decentralized network of data derived from social networks and IoT devices. It is backed by popular cryptocurrency Ethereum.
3. Loans Providers Based on Blockchain
Capital is a major requirement for converting thoughts into awesome products and one of the systems which help entrepreneurs – or businessmen of any scale – to find angels investors or moneylenders for timely and worry-free “non-syndicated” loans is Synaps. It also uses blockchain to evaluate the worth of assets or collaterals, and rids away with the redundant and unimportant paperwork.
4. Organization Management Platforms Based on Blockchain
Building an organization that serves society requires the right mix of authority, autonomy, resources, and a compassionate culture. Aragon is one such blockchain-based service which allows sharing of common thought process for building remote organizations by uniting like-minded individuals. It can also be used to unite different organizations which share a common or similar philosophy and uses Ethereum for transactions. Further, its developers believe that, in future, Aragon could be used to unify governments and public bodies from around the world.
District0x, which is also based on Aragon, is a rather refined network of decentralized communities and marketplaces that is specifically to help such organizations collaborate.
5. Real Estate Investment Platforms Based on Blockchain
Real estate is a gold mine and if you’re looking to either score some gold for yourself or for the purpose of investment, Realisto is a platform which lets you spend cryptocurrencies for trading or investing in properties just like stock options. ChromaWay, on the other hand, is a service which connects you with relevant individuals and service providers who help you obtain the house of your dreams by performing the necessary paperwork on your behalf and providing you with an accurate value of the property based on current trends and government taxes, currently offering services in Sweden.
6. Renting Services Based on Blockchain
Starting out a new business comes with major expenses and if you cannot buy everything, renting is a smart alternative. Slock is a service which allows customers to rent a wide variety of products varying from a motorcycle to a physical store or apartment. This is achieved by using smart contracts and a mutually agreed rent for leasing the property or article.
Blockchain Applications for Developers
1. Platforms for Building Blockchain Apps
EOS, which is touted as the “most powerful infrastructure” for blockchain applications, allows users to not just create their own decentralized apps but also test publically and market them, to enable the long-term goal of making money through the generated tokens.
2. Platforms for Collaborative Computing
Commonly referred as the “Airbnb for computing”, Golem is a decentralized network which allows thousands of users to sell unused computing power of their machines for training and breeding neural networks, rending high-caliber graphics, and performing cryptographic tasks. It can be significant use for anyone building, testing, simulating, or scaling a blockchain or AI-based software.
Are You Ready to be Decentralized?
Blockchains are meant to grant consumers complete control on data, eliminates the need for relying on convincing marketing campaigns or trust scores to use an application, and grants transparency and the essence of verifiability to any exchange of information over the internet. Governments, despite their resentment for digital currencies, have been willing to try out blockchain to provide a solid framework for the future, including applications like a fair distribution of resources, welfare schemes, evasion-proof taxation systems without needing middlemen.
Ready to Use Blockchain Services?
Although we’re still far from a software-based government that interacts directly with each citizen, perceives its needs without involving biased politicians, I feel blockchain is a strong step in this direction of a coordinated and utopian anarchy. Blockchain is the new means to socio-economic equality and if you concur with these thoughts (or oppose them) do let us know in the comments below.