What to do with the blockchain?

Happy Friday .. Again!

Here is the second, more lengthy, blockchain article – for those of you with a ~1970s attention span.

Blockchain is, of course, most famous as the technology underpinning cryptographic currencies such as Bitcoin. There are, however, very many more applications for this technology, and they are rapidly emerging as the technology matures and more people become aware of its potential.

Blockchain, at a high level, is simply a way for an asset, contract, or piece of information, to be transacted securely over time across several entities. The transactions themselves use cryptography to sign / verify their transactions, so the parties don’t need to know/trust one another. All transactions are held in a public ledger (the blockchain) so that all transactions are absolute and part of the public record.

Here are three applications that I’ve come across recently.

1. Illinois (USA) is trialing something called ‘self-sovereign’ identities, whereby each citizen is given a secure ID at birth. Certain aspects of their identity are cryptographically signed as true (e.g. legal name), and then the individual can choose how & where to share their personal information (http://www.govtech.com/data/Illinois-Announces-Key-Partnership-in-Birth-Registry-Blockchain-Pilot.html)

2. The music industry is examining blockchain as a solution to record people / entities that contribute to a song (e.g. a session drummer or the writer) and also data such as how many times a track is played (https://www.wired.com/story/the-music-industry-bands-together-to-get-paid-online/)

3. The ad industry has a new entrant (https://www.aminopay.com/), who is looking to use blockchain to track & verify who is handling an ad from its origination (usually from a publisher) through to the consumer (usually an advertiser or ad agency)

It’s interesting to see Blockchain starting to surface more and more, and ranging far beyond the world of crypto currencies.

I’m looking forward to see what else emerges from the market!

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