Speculation remains the most widely use case of blockchain, the volatility of cryptocurrencies allows speculators to bag huge profits and create a fortune in a relatively short period of time.
Speculation and investment in cryptocurrencies are a double-edged sword.
Speculation maintains the investors’ interest in blockchain, providing funds to entrepreneurs and researchers to create useful products. Contradictorily, technology has created several Ponzi schemes, scams, and cryptocurrencies with the sole purpose of making money.
But it’s not all money and scams. Blockchain has transformed our world in unusual ways, we never thought was possible before.
1. Blockchain Is Saving Wildlife in South Africa
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South Africa has the largest population of rhinos in the world. This means it is a paradise for hunters or poachers to make money off of rhinos horns and other parts.
A rhino is poached every 12 hours in South Africa and there are other animals such as African lions, Elephants, impalas, just to name a few who get poached every day.
Tumelo Ramaphosa, son of the President of South Africa, decided to do something about it. His company, **Studex**, tracks animal location, heartbeat, and medical conditions to make sure they are healthy and safe.
That’s not it.
As futuristic as it sounds! Now you can own an animal virtually in South Africa without ever meeting the animal in actual life. All the animals are taken care of by the farmers in the region, keeping them safe from poachers and diseases. This is all made possible using Blockchain. Why Blockchain?
Blockchain gives an additional layer of security, the ability to purchase an animal from anywhere in the world. Blockchain makes it possible to trade animals and even buy animals in fractions! (they did this because some animals can cost up to $11M)
I won’t go in the details of these two, but here are the basics-
**ERC-20 **token allows you to tokenize fungible goods on Ethereum Blockchain such as currency, this means that all the tokens will be worth the same amount. A $20 note that you have has the same value as my $20 note.
**ERC-721** token allows you to tokenize non-fungible goods on Ethereum Blockchain. such as animals. A cow can have varying values depending on a lot of factors such as the amount of milk it produces, its age, or fertility.
2. Blockchain Is Lifesaver for Banks
DEFI (Decentralized Finance) remains to be one of the most popular use cases of blockchain, and why not it allows you to-
Take loans without collateral, bank account, applications, or meeting anyone. It’s all possible right now! It's called Flash loans; it allows you to take loans and use it in a single transaction.
Transfer money from anywhere in the world with minimum fees and low latency, while maintaining your anonymity, privacy, and security.
One might think it will be a nightmare for central banks and the government, but banks in certain parts of the world are embracing the technology.
Corda is a private blockchain platform that allows you to share the data securely only with those parties ‘who need to know’.
In a traditional system, Italian banks would take around 30–50 days on average for reconciliation. Now it can be done in a day with Corda. Blockchain Voting and The American Elections | Data Driven Investor In less than 70 days, the world's oldest democracy will be facing its biggest showdown in an unprecedented way and at…datadriveninvestor.com
Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal are now trying to create blockchain-related products to compete in the market. Mastercard has granted a crypto payment platform, Wirex, a *principal membership license*. This would allow customers to hold, and purchase cryptocurrencies from the platform, with the ability to convert it to fiat currency and use it anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
Chainlink is another cryptocurrency that is bridging the gap between centralized and decentralized systems. Here’s a detailed article on Chainlink- Centralized and Decentralized Systems Finally Get ‘Chained’ What is Chainlink and how it differs from other crypto-currencieslevelup.gitconnected.com
3. Blockchain Has Sped Up Semi-Conductor Technology
A core component that makes blockchain possible is mining.
Miners are nodes/computers on the blockchain network who collectively maintain and control the network. They solve cryptographic puzzles to maintain the security, anonymity, and decentralized nature of blockchain possible.
Miners compete to create a block by solving meaningless cryptographic puzzles. And mining requires a lot of computation power, A LOT.
Bitcoin mining in 2018 used 40–62 TWh of energy. That’s equivalent to the energy consumption of countries like Hungary or Switzerland and translates to a carbon footprint of 19–30 million metric tons (t) of CO2 emissions. -Alex de Vries
But there is a silver lining. Mining has sped up the growth of semiconductor technology.
Because of the high demand for energy-efficient and more powerful mining rigs, companies are in ‘ASIC arms race’. Blockchain led to the development of 7nm chips. Smaller chip size consumes less energy while delivering the same performance.
Cannan and Bitman, leading manufacturers of mining ribs in China, reported that they will reveal **TSMC-based 5nm chips.**
It really gets interesting because now Intel and Samsung, leading chip manufactures, are stepping in the game.
Samsung has disclosed that the chip maker created the first 3nm (GAAFET) prototype. Intel revealed that the company expects to design 2nm and 1.4nm semiconductors by 2029. — Jamie Redman
The development of such chips will not only make Blockchain technology more accessible and feasible, but can also transform the devices we use every single day. Computer chips are everywhere, and any kind of improvement holds the potential to change our lives.
4. Crypto Is the New Haven in Inflation
Because of the pandemic, a lot of countries have suffered because of inflation and unemployment. Around the world, people are losing their money and savings to inflation.
Here is a good read by Tim Denning on this issue- If You Have Any Money, It’s About to Lose (A Lot) of Value The Federal Reserve is expecting to set inflation at 4%, up from 2%. Inflation can be higher depending on how you…medium.com
In Latin America, several countries are facing inflation because of political instability, a slump in oil prices, and businesses. People in countries such as Brazil and Venezuela are adopting alternatives such as Bitcoin to save their wealth.
In Hongkong, the government passed legislation allowing police to conduct searches on private properties, freeze or confiscate assets, and control the internet with no warrant. This is done to suppress freedom of speech.
Citizens of Hongkong are shifting to more secure alternatives, such as stable coins and encrypted communication to resist government censorship.
I recently wrote an article on a stable coin backed by gold. It is a trusted alternative to most of the cryptocurrencies out there. Should You Invest in a Crypto Backed by Gold This token gives you the best of both worlds and can save you from inflationmedium.com
There are many other areas where blockchain has a profound impact, but I could not cover it here: Blockchain is making donations more transparent; It is making the supply chain more secure and trustable for businesses; People in developing countries can use it to harvest and sell solar energy.
Blockchain is truly transforming our world, but we still have a long way to go. Blockchain is still in its infancy like the internet was in the 90s. There is a lot of friction, learning curve, volatility, crypto scams, and a lack of knowledge among the society which makes crypto dangerous and not viable for everyone.
References and Resources
Video by Cold Fusion Blockchain - Africa Rising The world is undergoing technological development at an unprecedented and explosive pace. Considered the "Fourth…forbes.com Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Influence Semiconductor Manufacturing Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining continues to represent a growing opportunity for semiconductor manufacturers, and…chiefexecutive.net Chipmaking Giant Samsung Reveals 3nm Semiconductor Prototype | Mining Bitcoin News In mid-December, Intel revealed that the company expects to design 2nm and 1.4 nm semiconductors by 2029. During the…news.bitcoin.com Hong Kong Citizens Turn to Stablecoins to Resist National Security Law - CoinDesk In Hong Kong, some local citizens are turning to crypto assets and encrypted communication to resist financial…coindesk.com
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