Bitcoin, Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies have had a historic year. Now, their underlying technology, the blockchain, is being applied to many different industries. A team of researchers, scientists, and engineers have begun working on a new concept for a cryptocurrency that will be offered to people in exchange for their DNA. In the recent past, companies have taken human biological samples without compensating the donors.
Giant multi-billion dollar companies like Facebook have sucked up valuable user data and have made massive profits without giving its users any type of monetary rewards in return. Steemit, a fairly new and innovative social media platform, rewards its users for posting and curating content. Steemit is built around the blockchain technology and users are rewarded with a cryptocurrency called STEEM or Steem Blockchain Dollars (SBD).
As human beings, shouldn’t our time and opinions be considered precious and valuable? Also, if we offer our biological samples, isn’t it only fair that we are compensated for it? Just the way steemit rewards users for the content they share over the internet, a company called Luna compensates users who share the results of their DNA tests. Luna will attempt to leverage blockchain technology to enhance clinical research by constructing a decentralized genomic database.
Blockchain technology also appears to have practical uses in the field of education. Fake degrees, diplomas or certificates can be created, bought, and used quite easily. Axact, a large Pakistani IT company, was investigated a couple of years ago for questionable practices and activities. At the end of the investigation, the company was found to be guilty of selling fake degrees to people from all over the world, particularly in Canada.
Sophisticated cryptographic encryption can be used along with two-factor authentication to create and store educational certificates on the blockchain. This method allows potential employers to reliably verify the authenticity of a candidate’s educational documents. If the authenticity of educational documents can be reliably determined by leveraging blockchain technology, then other important documents can also be authenticated (such as legal or court documents).
Natural disasters are also becoming more and more common. The onslaught of hurricanes has left many areas in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Nearly half a million homes have been destroyed in Puerto Rico, in addition to a shortage of food supplies, lack of clean drinking water, and massive power outages due to hurricane Maria. The relief efforts have been heavily criticized, especially by the Mayor of Puerto Rico. Could blockchain technology be used to respond more effectively and efficiently to humanitarian crises?
Bitnation is a humanitarian aid project which aims to facilitate the donation process to help refugees and victims of natural disasters by disbursing funds via bitcoins. With the use of blockchain, there could be more transparency in the delivery of funds to relief efforts given that transactions are public and immutable. It could help to ensure that the funds are being used to help the people that they were intended for. It’s evident that the applications of blockchain technology are vast, so let’s hope that if bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies go mainstream, then they are used along with their blockchain technology to better serve humanity.