28 January 2017

FUTURE TRENDS - More and Diverse Industries Adopting Blockchain

The blockchain was introduced in the original source code for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and it has been primarily associated with the transparent and real-time tracking of cryptocurrency.

The blockchain is, at its core, an unalterable, distributed, transparent ledger of all the transactions made within the chain.

Various industries are adopting the blockchain, or at least exploring the option of using blockchain technology.

Some of the most unexpected blockchain introductions are in education, where blockchain is being used to create “learn to earn” initiatives that tie learning (of any type) to displayable “Edublocks” that employers can view.

Some schools, notably the Media Lab at MIT and the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, have already started incorporating blockchain technology by generating cryptographically signed and verifiable certificates for graduates.

Another industry where blockchain technology is being tested is energy utilities.

There are test projects currently underway in both Australia and France, with promising results.

Jemma Green, co-founder of Power Ledger in Australia, told Brave New Coin, “Just as Airbnb and Uber have up-ended the hospitality and transport markets, Power Ledger has the potential to change forever the way we buy and sell energy to power our homes.”

The Power Ledger program allows users to sell excess solar energy to utilities companies or other consumers.

They use a hybrid blockchain in order to manage the many moving parts involved, such as the conversions from digital electricity meters to blockchain tokens.

The original trial is now expanding, and Power Ledger hopes to overcome regulatory hurdles and start licensing their business model in order to generate revenue.  

France is also exploring various blockchain applications for renewable energy, including not just prosumer home owners (home owners who both produce and consume solar energy), but also electric car charging.

Microgrids are another application of the blockchain in renewable energy, and microgrids are popping up in various places, including Brooklyn.

These micro projects are more in line with the cryptocurrency and blockchain ideal of moving away from large institutions and centralized control.

Other examples of this “outside the system” integration of blockchain and energy include SolarCoin and the IDEOLabs prototype SmartSolar technology.

These small, outside-the-box projects are exciting and will undoubtedly continue to grow.

But it is the adoption of blockchain by the very large institutions that were previously threatened by the technology that is currently most interesting.

Integrating solar energy into existing power grids through blockchain, for example, or bringing the blockchain into respected educational institutions like MIT.

The most notable example of the blockchain being adopted by the very institutions that it was designed to challenge is among the large banks.

Denmark is considering minting an e-kroner, which would mean that the blockchain is adopted within the present model of currency rather than disrupting and replacing it with cryptocurrency.

Even Visa is looking at adopting blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is popping up in a number of unexpected places, and that’s a trend that is not slowing down – as Ars Technica put it, blockchains are the perfect technology for when everybody distrusts each other, and current global unrest means the world has never been more ready for a technology like this.

Prepare to see the blockchain in an industry near you!

About Tiffany Sostar
Tiffany is a writer, editor, academic, and animal lover who came late to her appreciation of pets. At 18, a rescue pup named Tasha saved her from a depression and she hasn't looked back. She has worked as the canine behaviour program coordinator for the Calgary Humane Society, and was a dog trainer specializing in working with fearful and reactive dogs for many years. She doesn't have any pets right now, but makes up for it by giving her petsitting clients (and any dogs she comes across on her frequent coffee shop adventures) extra snuggles.

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