Block-chain: Beyond The Coins

4 Jan 2023

Cryptocurrencies and its underlying mechanism, the block-chain, are currently the trending topics everywhere in the world. Unfortunately, most people's knowledge about block-chains and its uses, start and end with the fact that it powers and makes the use of cryptocurrencies possible. As it turns out, lots of people think cryptocurrencies and block-chain are one and the same thing. However, and fortunately, the block-chain has a wider use case beyond just powering cryptocurrencies.

What is a block-chain?
Most people reading this probably already know what a block-chain is but for the sake of completeness, let's attempt a definition.
In simple terms, a block-chain is a digital or computer-based technique for recording information in such a way that it cannot be easily changed. The information on the block-chain is typically stored across a number of different computers called nodes. The nodes all share control of the block-chain hence a block-chain is sometimes, also referred to as a decentralized network.

Alternative Use Cases for Block-chains
Currently, the most prominent use of block-chains is in the deployment of cryptocurrencies but lets outline some other real-world things that a block-chain can be used for. To avoid a lengthy article, I will not go into too much detail on each use case
1. Immutable Voting Polls
Elections are critical operations and stories of election fraud is not uncommon. Using block-chain technology, a voting solution can be deployed where validator nodes ensure that a vote is properly cast before storing it on the block-chain and the built-in properties of the block-chain ensures that election results are transparent and can't be tampered with.
2. Digital IDs
Creating and storing immutable personal IDs that can't be stolen and can be used worldwide. Projects such as Fractal ID are working in this direction.
3 - Payment Processing/Money Transfer
Cryptocurrencies already provide this function to a large extent. But here we are referring to fiat, digital money and CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currency). Instead of the traditional money transfer, the block-chain can be used to provide faster and more secure payment processing in traditional banks.
4. Data Backup and Storage
This function is beginning to gain wide usage and projects like Crust Network are pursuing innovations in this aspect.
5. Managing IoT networks
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the future of inter-connectivity and block-chains provide the perfect technology to allow this to happen in a secure and reliable manner. Projects like Iotex and Iota are leading innovations in this area using block-chain.
6. Securing Access to Properties/Copyrights/Royalties
We are already seeing some NFTs being used in this regard. But this can be easily expanded to cover a wider range of properties type ranging from physical to intellectual properties.

These are just a few of the possible uses of block-chain technology. As block-chain and cryptocurrencies become more mainstream, more uses for the technology will definitely emerge in education, industry, business and other sectors.

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