What do property deeds, lettuce and Monet paintings have in common? Blockchain technology.
From land registries to supply chains to the tokenization of priceless art, the use cases for blockchain and distributed ledger technology go far beyond Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. And according to Dave McKay, Head of Global Solutions for MLG Blockchain, the possibilities are nearly endless.
At a recent informational session hosted by Goldman Communications, Dave walked an engaged crowd through everything from the basics of the underlying technology, to some of the most ambitious applications for the future.
But the prevailing message remained throughout: Blockchain technology isn’t dead, in fact, it’s just getting started.
Here are just a few applications for blockchain technology that aren’t very far off on the horizon:
Tokenized Securities: Blockchain technology allows for the tokenization of any number of securities, from single vending machines to entire companies. Effectively, this functions the same as an IPO, whereby investors can purchase a portion of a company, or an object, in the form of a token. Through blockchain technology, a group of people would be able to crowdfund the purchase of a Monet masterpiece, for example, with each individual owning a fraction of the painting in the form of a token.
IPOs have previously only been available as an option to much larger companies, consider that Uber is not yet a publicly traded company.
McKay believes that within 2019, major exchanges globally will be offering tokenized securities, and some, including the Bermuda, Gibraltar, and Bahamas exchanges are within as little as a month or two of offering this.
Land Registries: Blockchain and open government go hand in hand. For land registries, blockchain could be used for a publicly available ledger of legitimate land registries, eliminating any and all cases of fraud. It also enables safe, easy access to titles and deeds, also eliminating the risk of lost or damaged documents.
Copyright and Proof of Ownership: Blockchain technology could enable indisputable timestamps on all photo, video, and event text content, thus eliminating questions or proof of ownership and originality. In cases of doctored footage, this ledger would enable the public to easily and quickly identify which version of the content was the original and which was the fake. In cases of copyright, blockchain would provide indisputable records of ownership and copyright information.
McKay believes that not so far in the future, digital cameras will have a button right on them that will timestamp the photo and upload it to the blockchain in a matter of seconds.
What's Next For Blockchain:
When asked why blockchain technology hasn’t quite taken off yet, and why there is so much hesitation from the public about using it, Dave quickly pulled up a picture of a busy New York street from 1913 and asked: “Can you spot the car in this image?” There was in fact a single car, mixed in among pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages.
He then pulled up another photo of the same street ten years later, filled with dozens of cars. The point was simple: Blockchain isn’t dead. It’s just getting started.
Blockchain, he says, is still a new technology, but he believes that the value it represents for society will lead to a steep adoption curve, and before long we will be seeing blockchain everywhere.