What does business look like when everyone and everything is on one public, decentralized, anonymous, and trusted network?
While it may seem far fetched, blockchain technology is doing just that. It may take a few more years to reach that point but every element of our lives will be transformed once it does.
I recently had the privilege of speaking with Michael Graziano, an entrepreneur attempting to be the youngest North American to visit every country and who is now filming a show previously on Discovery Channel’s digital network called Global Degree.
Michael has been to over 100 nations around the world, and his travels have given him a first-hand glimpse of how blockchain is changing the global economy.
“A child born today won’t have a bank account. They’ll have a banking app, which sends and receives money from anywhere in the world, instantly.
By age eight, they’ll have created their own coin. And will determine its value in a popularity contest on the playground. Do other kids want to own Joshcoin or Jimmycoin? They’ll never own a driver’s license as there will be only self-driving cars. As an adult, they will never use paper money because there won’t be a need for paper money.”
So, with this theory in mind, how do the entrepreneurs of today thrive in this new hyper-digital world? According to Michael, the secret is to visualize life without a few key components. For example, imagine your business and life with:
No More Fiat Currency
Before we dive into the future, we must first understand the past. And it’s important to understand that money itself isn’t a material object, it is instead a language.
Nobody today knows the true history of money because it’s older than writing itself. After all, the very first samples we have of writing are tallies and ledgers of debts owed.
What we do know is that over the last ten thousand years there have only been 5 major changes with regards to money.
- Let’s barter exchange! This proved to be too simple.
- Let’s measure value using shells, feathers, beads or stones! This was too easy to replicate.
- Let’s use precious metals! Metal was too heavy.
- Let’s use paper money! Paper was too immobile.
- Let’s use plastic money! Credit is too costly.
Which brings us to today and the sixth major shift. Let’s use network money. This methodology is making money just another app on the internet.
But as with everything, change is tough. With each major shift, there has always been reluctance. Trying to buy something with Bitcoin today is the same as trying to buy with a Diners Club card in the beginning days of credit cards. Typical reactions include confusion, laughter, or a raised eyebrow question along the lines of “what the hell is this?”
But the biggest uproar among the public is regarding intrinsic value. Digital money has been around for a long time but has always been convertible into something declared to be valuable within the state.
Cryptocurrencies are a different game. They aren’t within any system or state. In this new money language, all you have to do is create a coin or token resembling something of value and have another party accept it as money then… BOOM, you are now a bank! This conceptual idea has proven tough for some people to wrap their heads around.
Just as with every major shift, even the most stubborn people will come around.
Even gold has moved onto the blockchain! Xaurum is a 3-year old project with a constantly growing gold base of 999,99 LBMA (which is publicly audited daily). Its rising gold ratio never decreases, so if you buy 1g of gold today it could grow 3g by next year. This is possible by their financial innovation of positive inflation, where inflation increases the value of the whole currency, therefore solving a problem of Fiat currencies. Tokens can be exchanged for gold anywhere at any time, but many people use xaurum as a payment tool in a growing network of partners.
No More Internet As We Know It
Can you imagine a world without internet, or at least the internet as we know it today? Cryptocurrency will not be limited by an internet connection, and government and banks will not be able to regulate it … even if they tried.
If crypto sites were taken away, we’d send payment codes through smiley emoji’s on Skype. Take away Skype, and we’d send encryptions though photo meta tags on Flickr. As long as a receiving party can enter the info into the blockchain, the money can be exchanged and the smart contract can be enforced.
But what if the internet was shut down completely? Would that stop cryptocurrency exchanges? Technically, crypto can keep living. A project called Skycoin is creating a free, open, uncensorable peer-to-peer internet. They are taking control away from large Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) and giving it back to the users. Services such as this one are basically making each person their very own ISP and rewarding them for sharing bandwidth with friends over old landline internet or new wireless antennas.
No More Data Storage
In today’s world, we are able to store all sorts of information online. It sure beats yesterday’s paper filing cabinets. But where is all this information going to be stored in the future? Currently, we need Google, Facebook and Amazon S3 because of their football fields of servers that can store content and process data in the cloud to run applications. For example, Google Maps must calculate the most efficient driving route through cloud infrastructure because it would be impossible to get the same fast and accurate results using the smartphone processor.
Similar to how torrents work on Bittorrent, Shift is a project that is revolutionizing data storage by allowing it to be stored and accessed in a peer-to-peer network. With their website now decentralized and live as a working proof of concept, it’s already an empowering and democratic alternative when compared to handing ownership of our content over to these colossal server farms and the ‘cloud’ which is ironically a central computer owned by an elite group of individuals.
Taking back the control of storage has other benefits as well. There will no longer be censorship, and content creators won’t need to use social media third-parties to distribute their work. This would provide them full rights to control, license or sell at their discretion.
No More Compartmentalized Gaming
Yes … even gaming has made it onto the blockchain. Projects like B2Expand have created a new paradigm of gameplay with decentralized secondhand marketplaces allowing users to buy and sell digital assets (magic swords, new characters, maps, etc). For example, they’ve already created Beyond the Void: a space strategy game built on the Ethereum blockchain. Things get really interesting in blockchain gaming when user-generated MOD’s (short for ‘modifications’) are allowed to be used cross-gaming. For example, imagine playing Call of Duty in a Grand Theft Auto map using World of Warcraft weapons. This is what is possible when everything goes onto the blockchain.
No More Limiting Applications
This bold, new world is right around the corner, and entrepreneurs are all wondering how to leave their unique mark. The truth is that creating your own unique token or blockchain is easy. The immense opportunity lies within discovering an entirely new use-case.
Bitcoins can be bought, sold, and traded. Ethereum introduced smart contracts which allow much more than just exchanging money. These contracts also allow the exchange of property, shares, or anything of value in a transparent, conflict-free way while avoiding the services of a middleman.
As expansive as a token like this is, it’s actually just one use-case. But what future use-cases can be created to help us in business and life? Projects like Stratis are working on new uses for blockchain that are hard to even imagine. In fact, they have created a consultancy helping others develop their own applications. On top of that, they are working on smart contracts built within C#, one of the most common languages used targeting over 20 million developers worldwide.
The people behind Stratis see the power and opportunity in letting people create 1000 use-cases in the future rather than just working within the one or two available today.
No More Business As Usual
Have you noticed a theme? The things we assume will be here forever are now having their very existence questioned. Previously, business moguls would hang around parliament hoping to capitalize on policy changes. But today, there are now unlimited opportunities in the removal of industries and the combining of all data onto one open-source, public, decentralized, anonymous, and trusted network.
Embrace the blockchain…Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.