As the emerging blockchain technology continues to penetrate different areas and fields, we are here to take a closer look at some of the ideas that may shape our lives in the future.
If one attends or simply listens to panelists at one of many blockchain or crypto-related conferences and workshops organized these days, one will hear that the “mass adoption” of cryptocurrencies, or its underlying blockchain technology, is closely connected to how much these two are applied in people’s daily life.
Banks lead the progress amongst institutions
Banks seem to be those that are currently at the forefront of this revolution amongst institutions and governments. If you only look at the last couple of days, without the need to go deeper into the past, you will see that there are different projects initiated by banks which look at ways of applying the blockchain technology and, for instance, use cryptocurrencies, to conduct cross-border payments.
Newconomy published at least three such articles in the last couple of days. For instance, we covered the story which explains how one of the world’s biggest banks – Societe Generale – issued the first covered bond, worth 100 million euros ($112 million), as a security token on a public blockchain.
In a similar fashion to Societe Generale, Belarusian government plans to issue a tokenized version of its bonds, while the Austrian government has already issued 1.15 billion euros ($1.29 billion) worth of government bonds on the Ethereum public blockchain.
In case this becomes a regular practice by major financial institutions and governments, it would mean that blockchain technology is used as a platform to host the global bond market, which is estimated to be worth more than $100 trillion.
Another major bank, Spanish Banco Santander, has recently issued a report which highlights the benefits and opportunities that arise with the latest financial technology. Accordingly, “banks can reduce costs associated with cross-border payments, securities trading, and regulatory compliance by between $15-20 billion per annum by 2022,” the report notes.
The most recent example shows that seven major financial institutions are teaming up to create a blockchain-powered digital cash system, which will be used to settle financial transactions. As per the story posted on Newconomy website, banks are working to “create a digital cash system that would allow financial markets to make payments and settle transactions quickly via blockchain technology”.
While this would potentially mostly benefit banks in the context of cost-saving, ordinary citizens would benefit as well, given that the payments would be processed quicker and would cost less.
Let us now move away from the financial institutions and the progress that they have made with the integration of blockchain technology in their own systems, and take a closer look at three different examples which show how blockchain technology penetrates people’s daily lives and their habits.
We reported recently that HTC, a major smartphone manufacturer, has announced plans to launch a new, cheaper, blockchain-powered smartphone with capabilities to act as a full node for the bitcoin network. The phones will be equipped with enough storage to store the entire blockchain data on their devices, and ultimately validate bitcoin transactions and blocks.
As a result, the owners of Exodus 1s will be well-positioned to gain more control over their identity information and funds as the direct access to more resilient decentralized networks is enabled on Exodus 1s.
Earlier, the same company launched the Exodus 1, which became the first entry of the major smartphone manufacturer in the unchartered territory of the blockchain-powered modern smartphones. Unlike Exodus 1, the “s” version of the same model will be significantly cheaper and affordable to masses.
World’s first blockchain-powered refrigerator
Wien Energie, a major Austrian power supply company and the electronics giant Bosch have teamed up to create the world’s first refrigerator which allows its owners to control electricity consumption.
The device was showcased at Austria’s first international ANON Blockchain Summit in Vienna, with the plan in place to start trialing the device to several customers in the near future.
“The blockchain infrastructure should enable new business models in the energy market,” Wien Energie said in the press release.
The refrigerator is controlled by an app which allows the owner to set the temperature of the fridge, but also monitor the energy used from production to consumption. Now for the interesting part; The fridge confirms one transaction on the blockchain network for every kilowatt-hour of electricity used by the device.
Fighting inequality and poverty with cryptocurrencies
A non-profit organization with the goal of understanding how people use money in closed economies and collapsing monetary systems has been recently launched. The Open Money Initiative (OMI), in its first case study, looks at how people use money in times of political and social crisis.
To this end, around forty local Venezuelans have been interviewed to gain a better grasp of how to make cryptocurrency more useful for crisis-torn nations, such as Venezuela.
“The things that people wanted to buy, they couldn’t buy with bitcoin. You could find merchants willing to accept bitcoin for more high-end goods, but not for more basic or staple goods. You can’t go buy bread with bitcoin in Caracas,” said the OMI co-founder Jill Carlson to CoinDesk.
One of the interviewees, a 22-year old engineering student Ana Maria, says that bitcoin mining is her family’s main source of income.
“I use LocalBitcoins to change the bitcoins to bolivars and I deposit it in my mom’s bank account,” says Ana Maria.
According to OMI’s first report, locals mostly use LocalBitcoins website to shift funds from crypto to fiat and vice versa. It is estimated that more than 37 billion bolivars, or $7.1 million worth of transactions were completed in the first week of May on the website.
While banks have been making significant progress in the process of blockchain adoption amongst institutional and governmental entities, the mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies will not be possible without the complete penetration into the daily habits of ordinary people. The three stories show exactly that they are centered around a specific item which people use on a daily basis – a refrigerator, a smartphone, and money.