Blockchain: Changing How We Live
The technology known as the blockchain continues to show up in popular media everywhere. By now you’ve heard of it, and may even know a few things about it. Maybe you’re an expert and have been digging this technology for multiple years now. The fact is, blockchain technology is taking root in many industries across the world. If you are new to the blockchain, hop over to my Crypto posting to get a quick education, or if you think you can use context clues throughout this post, more power to you.
Blockchain has been spoken about most widely through cryptocurrencies — a.k.a Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc. It acts as the spine upon which cryptocurrencies thrive. Without a trustworthy system of computer users controlling the ledger, all these currencies would fall short of being relevant.
In its purest form, the blockchain was designed to confirm digital transactions. Let me rephrase that, trustworthy transactions. Once folks understood the basic premise behind how blockchain controlled transactions through decentralization and trustworthy human behavior, (read here for the deep dive) it wasn’t long before people were dreaming up other uses for the technology. We will explore a sampling of recent blockchain technology implementations in order to demonstrate how this technology will shape the future.
Google Blockchain is Becoming Cloudy
Starting with Google seems like a logical thing to do. After all, one of their ex-employees started the Litecoin movement. The tech giant has been exploring new technologies since its inception back in 1998. Google search is churning out 3.5 billion searches a day from all parts of the world. This is a colossal amount of data, and they use a plethora of servers and data centers to secure it all. It seems that as the footprint of data its centers grew, it suddenly made sense for Google to share their services with the wider public.
Welcome to the Google Cloud. Thing is, many of Google’s rivals joined this game as well, including entities like Amazon, Microsoft and Dropbox, to name a few. However, Google is aiming to use the blockchain as a chief discriminator in its cloud technology. What it potentially buys a cloud application is twofold: security and cost savings.
By design, the blockchain is secure if you assume that the operators controlling the ledger have good intentions. Said another way, the blockchain depends on a multitude of computers confirming ledger entries by majority vote. As long as the majority isn’t out to scam the Google Cloud, then it would take a near impossible hack to breach the cloud data. This is huge for the future of your cloud storage and data security.
The cost savings is inherent because Google would have to rely less on 3rd parties to enact transactions via Cloud. This, in turn, minimizes the need to audit. There are no outside vendors housing data or security at additional cost. The blockchain takes care of all of this. The blockchain infrastructure validates and maintains all this data so the majority of these maintenance fees potentially begin to fade.
Truth In Blockchain Marketing
This company has a very interesting charter. Its sole goal is to fix the problem behind inefficient online advertising. Companies are looking for every advantage to get ahead, so partnering with Facebook, Google or Amazon allows them to try and reach their potential customers at all ends of the internet. However, advertisements are deployed inefficiently and the tractability behind their implementation is suspect, at best.
Assuming their intent is good, this clearly isn’t the goal of the social media giants. But automated software is just that — pre-programmed to think a certain way. It can struggle to delineate certain traits about a given ad and then misuse it. A fairly juvenile attempt at explaining this point would be a word like apple in an ad. Depending on who you talk to, this could be the tech giant or a piece of fruit. Humans can discern what the ad’s true intention is by other context clues, but a static algorithm may struggle.
This is obviously a gross exaggeration as computers are fairly intelligent these days, but hopefully it drives home the point. Truth is using the blockchain to act as a one stop shop for the purchasing and deployment of advertisements. My understanding is that it operates as a middle man, using the blockchain transparency to prove exactly where ads are being deployed and ensuring companies are getting their money’s worth.
I’m also guessing that with the blockchain technology, they may be able to better target audiences. The thought here would be that you’d have all these responses to ads logged in the ledger that you could then mine later to exactly know the demographics behind who the ad was successful with and how to further deploy. This is mission critical data to someone spending millions of dollars a year on digital ads. The ability to finally trace these ads and understand your return on investment could be a true game changer in this space.
UPS Blockchain Technology
This is the one that makes the most sense to me. Shipping and logistics surrounding moving goods is a titanic industry. And as any of us who have waited on a package have found out, the process is wrought with errors and prone to miscommunication. The shipping industry is tired of 3rd party interference, untraceable results, and slow processing time.
Are these themes beginning to sound familiar? That’s right, come on down blockchain.
Depending on what a company like UPS and its partners are able to come up with, this technology could truly transform this industry. Imagine a package that is logged to the blockchain ledger at every phase of its life. Thoughts of lost packages or mishandled items become a thing of the past. By cataloging on the secure ledger, it is suddenly possible to verify every place the package has been. Fraud also becomes much harder to execute with a blockchain in place. Where a company may have been able to forge the ledger for early or late payments, the blockchain would completely firewall such attempts. The ledger would be logged and unchangeable based on the decentralized system, and reliance on a single, potentially fraudulent, entity becomes a thing of the past.
I’ve seen a vast amount of negative press around cryptocurrencies. And while the big governments of the world are uncomfortable with a decentralized monetary system, one fact remains: the blockchain technology at the core of these crypto currencies is extremely powerful. Mark the date and time because I promise we are witnessing a paradigm shift. I may not be able to predict what happens with the cryptocurrencies but it’s inevitable that the blockchain will have significant impacts to our society and the way we conduct business.
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