With the amount of uncertainty facing the financial world in 2022, some cryptocurrency holders might be on the lookout for what’s on the menu for the future of blockchain. There’s regulatory pressure facing most financial use cases of blockchain. This has some people asking – what else can we get blockchains to do? Is finance really all there is to blockchains?
It’s a useful technology, particularly for storing data across a distributed, decentralized network, so no doubt development will continue even when the financial use cases become regulated.
Where is Blockchain Technology being used?
Blockchains are being used for a number of applications outside of decentralized financial (DeFi) applications (dApps). In general, blockchains are desirable for businesses because of three properties; auditability, immutability, and transparency.
For example, large supply chain management and shipping companies such as FedEx and Maersk leverage the auditability and immutability properties of blockchain to increase the fidelity of their data and reduce mistakes. Let’s dive into some robust examples of how blockchain is being used.
Hyperledger is an open-source project launched in 2015 by the Linux Foundation. The mission of Hyperledger is to advance the interests of multiple industries for the purpose of standardizing industrial use cases of blockchain.
Stepping away from the jargon, the goal is to standardize how blockchains are made, implemented, deployed, and run by businesses, for the specific purposes of that business.
This makes Hyperledger one of the most customizable and flexible blockchain platforms. The intention is to make blockchains less of a headache to develop for major companies struggling with the chaotic and ever-shifting nature of the blockchain world.
Today, we see variations of Hyperledger being worked on and implemented by industry titans such as IBM, Walmart, and T-Mobile. The use cases range from managing healthcare data to identity management.
The metaverse is a topic of much debate. Often associated with Meta (Facebook), speculators aren’t confident that the attempt to manifest the metaverse will succeed. However there are a number of competitors in the field developing blockchains for their own metaverse making a compelling case that much of our social and work lives will take place in virtual worlds.
Recently, Nike’s store in Roblox was visited by 21 million people. In addition, graphics card manufacturer Nvidia has launched a new service for cloud-based development of metaverse applications. Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go, is also looking into expanding their game into a full blown metaverse.
Regardless of where metaverses may go, they’re likely to be built with blockchains. We offer a number of introductory courses for understanding the metaverse at a deeper level.
NFTs may have reached their peak in the style of dutch tulips earlier this year, however NFTs are not going away anytime soon. Some of the more notable NFTs are likely here to stay, as well as NFTs associated with innovating artists such as Pak, who has a collection associated with Sotheby’s.
There is the potential for NFTs to change the way that companies and brands interact socially with their customers and audience. Fashion and clothing companies such as Gucci and Nike dipped their toes into the realm of NFTs in 2021 to find that a segment of their customers were willing to buy them. Brands can create NFT offerings that allow customers to attain exclusive products or attend private events.
If you’re new to NFTs and would like to create your own, it is worth taking our NFT Foundations course.
NFTs may not be the future of blockchains as some have speculated, but they’re certainly one reason it may remain relevant to the future of blockchain.
Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) are the topic of much debate, speculation, and controversy in the blockchain world. Some say that they will be used to push government censorship and control to new heights. This is antithetical to the older, cypherpunk ideals held by the earliest developers of cryptocurrency, yet there is little to be done to stop CBDCs from being developed. It’s a matter of when they will arrive, not if. Some countries such as China have already rolled out early versions of their CBDC to segments of their population with the intent of countrywide adoption.
Others say it will provide an opportunity for central banks to monitor and manipulate financial markets. The theory is that there would be greater ability to make accurate predictions and modifications to markets. Lastly, easier at-source tax dedication could drastically simplify and reduce the cost of tax agencies collecting tax.
CBDCs will inevitably be running off of blockchains and by extension, central banks will be hiring developers and other blockchain experts to perform the task. In Norway for example, the central bank has looked to the Ethereum network to fulfill their CBDC needs. It’s not in full swing just yet though, as it’s still in a test phase, but if more central banks head in this direction, studying up on blockchain development and getting a certification could land you a lucrative position in the field of working on developing the CBDCs in your country.
Final Thoughts: The Future of Blockchain
While the crypto winter may be upon us in 2022, it is the above use cases that spark innovation that progress the future of blockchain. The future is a mixed bag of applications inside and outside of the field of finance, which was hard to imagine all the way back in 2009 when Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin.
This future of blockchain most certainly includes NFTs and their integration with the metaverse, government CBDCs, Hyperledger for supply chain, and of course decentralized financial (DeFi) applications. Whatever other use cases emerge are for the innovators of tomorrow to discover.
Author: Mike Brown