Are blockchain and finance synonymous?
For most people, the answer to this question would be ‘yes’. Unfortunately, the notion of blockchain being applicable largely — or only — in finance is neither complete nor true.
In my first introduction to blockchain, I was taught that a blockchain is simply a record, a ledger of transactions. The key to understanding use cases of blockchain beyond finance involves expanding our definition of what a ‘transaction’ is.
Most people consider a transaction a mere exchange of money, of funds, in exchange for goods or services. But why do we consider the scope of the word so narrow?
In reality, a transaction is ‘an exchange or interaction between people’. It isn’t restricted to monetary transfer alone. I could consider you reading this article as a transaction of information from me to you. Or, every time you park your car with a valet service, you are essentially transacting your car to them temporarily.
If we consider this revised definition of what a transaction really is, it quickly becomes clear that
cryptocurrencies are really only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. What lies beneath the surface is the more exciting use cases of this technology.
Take the example of Bridge Protocol, a NEO based solution that uses the blockchain to simplify KYC. The very concept of using blockchain for something other than finance is unheard of for most people, yet we have developers venturing into new fields with the help of blockchain.
Personally, I see the future of blockchain as being much brighter than that of cryptocurrencies. While many governments are reluctant to include digital, decentralised money in their finance policies, nearly each and every one of them are positive as far as induction of blockchain goes. When I explain this to people, I often draw a parallel between the fate of cryptocurrencies and the fate of the one-time phone giant Blackberry — even though Blackberry had a massive market share back in the day, their lack of app support led to their eventual collapse. Similarly, in the absence of a smart contract platform, Bitcoin may become just another tech dinosaur, feared in its day but incompetent in the struggle for survival.