As blockchain revolutionizes traditional financial services, distributed ledger technology is creating new opportunities in other arenas as well.
Today, just about everyone knows about Uber, and many people use it. Now comes Abra, billing itself as the Uber of digital cash. Abra is a blockchain-based digital wallet that enables people to store digital cash on their smartphones and then send it to someone else’s phone, across the street or a continent away – essentially turning people into human ATMs.
Abra is among many examples of blockchain’s potential impact on how we live and do business. Another is Slock.it, which helps disintermediate third parties from a transaction. Built atop Ethereum blockchain, Slock enables owners to rent their property or assets directly to users based on a smart lock. The lock is activated when the renter deposits money, while the owner retains control using a smartphone.
Blockchain-based BitNation is helping Syrian refugees as they migrate across countries. The company’s emergency digital ID provides refugees with a way to identify and authenticate themselves. Refugees also are provided a bitcoin-based Visa card, which allows them to receive money sent to them during their journey. For a small fee, money can be transmitted along digital corridors around the world, efficiently with little friction.
Blockchain can help authenticate goods as well as people. Earlier this year, a European wine grower was fined for passing off some four million bottles of Spanish wine as being French. Application of blockchain technology could be a major deterrent to such scams. Fine wine vendor Vinfolio is urging wine makers to tie their bottles to bitcoin. The bitcoin changes hands as the wine bottle is sold from distributor to distributor, validating its point of origin.
To help you work off the calories in that great vintage and maintain a healthy lifestyle, blockchain-based Bitwalking converts your steps into digital currency. Earn $1 for every 10,000 steps taken, redeemable at an online store. Then, newly in shape and with bitcoins in the bank, you and your betrothed can seal the bonds of matrimony in a blockchain wedding. Late last year, a US couple was reportedly the first ever to have a blockchain wedding using a marriage contract created and executed on Ethereum. Whether such wedding contracts or Prenups will be legally binding is TBD, but as one of the betrothed noted, “One of these days it will be, as people will want to use this process more and more.”
It’s hard to know what’s coming next for blockchain in the midst of Digital Disruption 2.0, but one thing’s for sure, we’re going to see some other interesting applications.
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