“The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.” That quote by an unknown pundit sums up Blockchain Technology.
Developed for the Bitcoin industry, Blockchain technology comes with the promise of revolutionizing the way people think of data and the manner in which it’s used.
Experts believe that Blockchain Technology, first Conceptualized in 2008 and implemented a year later as a central component of bitcoin, will have the same impact as the Internet did when the world wide web took off.
Themes, as diversified as democracy, energy, and agriculture, are already feeling the impact although on an experimental basis.
The testing phases have sufficient promise what significant sized companies are getting involved.
Right now, no one knows what the future holds for Blockchain Technology. But it’s looking bright.
Online Voting For Digital Democracy
The 2016 American presidential election was rife with accusations and countercharges of voter fraud. The competing allegations were partly the result of two separate claims. Politicians claimed to want a digitally literate citizenry as well as a hack proof voting mechanism. Somewhere in the background were businesses hoping to jumpstart the technology if politicians didn’t embrace the trend.
According to a recent article in BBC the most notable case of using digital technology to fight voter fraud is Estonia. The European nation launched online voting in 2005 with an approach that wasn’t a ‘point solution.’ That simply means a standalone single function unit as America’s voting kiosks wasn’t chosen.
Each aspect of Estonia is digitized, and the country has matured quickly as a Digital Nation. There, improved democratic methods are working hand in hand with leaner government processes.
The defining technology underpinning digital voting in Estonia is the Blockchain. The Market Mogul provides a summary of the role Blockchain technology may play in enabling the capability to grow globally.
New Type of Energy Grid
Using Blockchain Technology, members of the Brooklyn (USA) Microgrid are purchasing and marketing grassroots generated energy over a peer-to-peer network locally.
For years individuals who used solar panels could sell excess energy electric company. The Blockchain Technology makes the same system possible so excess capacity can be transferred and sold to a neighbor.
LO3 Energy has formed a system allowing people to buy and sell within their neighborhoods. Using Blockchain, sale and purchase deals are expedited and the transactions recorded.
Lawrence Orsini, LO3’s founder, claims energy distribution between neighbors within communities is more effective than transferring power across large ranges.
The result is more resilience of neighborhoods to power interruptions, and during peaks of high demand, energy is easily diverted in the decentralized system.
LO3 Energy initiated its peer-to-peer transaction system in 2016. The small utility network links persons who own solar panels in several parts of Brooklyn with acquaintances and friends who want to purchase locally produced green energy.
An ex-banker at Wells Fargo joined with a former executive at Nasdaq and began looking for opportunities to utilize Blockchain Technology.
The took a look at using the technology in the insurance industry, law, and even music. They landed on farming.
Raja Ramachandram and Phil Harris a decade after meeting on Wall Street in 2005. The duo decided to leave finance and start Ripe.io which utilizes Blockchain in agriculture. The pair has aspirations to thread the technology through the food supply chain.
The first step for Ripe was a kick-off project on Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon Massachusetts. The fields at Ward’s spill over with baby beets, bok choy, kale, onions and other crops.
Now, Jim Ward, owner, is adding blockchain tomatoes to his produce list.
Ripe partnered with Sweetgreen, a farm-to-counter salad franchise, to show how tracking crops and provide higher-quality produce and better information to farmers, food distributors, and restaurants.
In 2017, IBM partnered with Dole Food, Nestle, Unilever and WalMart to add blockchain in a trial run. The goal: to see if technology can show where produce comes from within seconds as compared to 7-days using traditional methods.
An easy-to-use database is a key to managing a complex supply chain. The test runs show there needs to be a little adaptation. Data exists only on a blockchain; tomatoes live in the real world. What Ripe hopes to provide is a detailed record of quality and condition at each step of the production and distribution process.