Blockchain use cases are vast and varied, but to understand how blockchain works, and how useful it really is, we need to first look at the technology that surrounds it, and how this fits into the new emerging digital landsdcape. The term Blockchain is used daily in the media, but many individuals, and businesses, are uncertain what this technology does, how it can be used, and the impact it will have on our lives. Web3, NFT’s, cryptocurrencies and the metaverse are all part of the story, so here we dive into a few basics around this technology, how it will not only drive the next evolution of the internet, but change many aspects of our everyday lives.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a digital technology that allows for the creation of a secure and decentralized ledger of transactions. What does that mean? In a blockchain network, transactions are authenticated through a process called consensus. This involves multiple participants in the network, known as nodes, working together to verify and validate each transaction.
To authenticate a transaction on a blockchain network, the following steps are typically followed:
- A user initiates a transaction, which is broadcast to the network.
- The transaction is received by multiple nodes on the network.
- Each node independently verifies the transaction, ensuring that it is valid and complies with the network’s rules and regulations.
- If a transaction is deemed valid by a majority of the nodes, it is added to a block of transactions, along with a unique code called a “hash.”
- The block is then added to the existing blockchain, forming a permanent and immutable record of the transaction.
This process of consensus ensures that transactions on the blockchain are secure and cannot be altered or tampered with once they have been added to the blockchain. It also ensures that the network is decentralized and not controlled by any single entity.
Blockchain is often used in the context of cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, and NFTs (which we go into in a moment), but it has many other potential uses. Some use cases for blockchain technology include:
• Financial transactions: Blockchain can be used to securely record financial transactions, such as the transfer of money or other assets. This can help to reduce fraud and improve the speed and efficiency of financial transactions.
• Supply chain management: Blockchain can be used to track the movement of goods through a supply chain, providing a transparent and immutable record of each step in the process. This can help to improve the efficiency and accountability of the supply chain.
• Identity management: Blockchain can be used to create secure digital identities, which can be used to verify the identity of individuals or organizations online. This can help to reduce identity fraud and improve the security of online transactions.
• Voting: Blockchain can be used to create secure and transparent voting systems, allowing for the secure and transparent recording of votes. This can help to improve the integrity and trustworthiness of elections.
• Medical records: Blockchain can be used to securely store and manage medical records, providing patients with greater control over their personal health information and allowing for more efficient sharing of this information among healthcare providers.
What is an NFT and how are they used?
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are a type of digital asset that is created on a blockchain network. They are unique and cannot be replicated or replaced, which makes them valuable in many different contexts.
One of the key ways that NFTs are used with blockchain technology today is in the creation and trading of digital collectibles. These are unique digital assets, such as art (check out Bored Ape Yacht Club) , music (such as Royal), virtual items (for example Gucci Vault Land and Gucci Town), and virtual real estate (one example being Ethereum Towers), that are authenticated and verified on the blockchain. This allows for the creation of a secure and transparent marketplace for these assets, where they can be bought and sold by fans and collectors.
Another common use for NFTs is in the creation of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. NFTs can be used as collateral for loans or other financial transactions, providing a unique and verifiable asset that can be used to secure these transactions.
A growing area for NFTs is as digital tickets for events. Instead of physical tickets, event organizers create unique NFTs for each attendee. These NFTs are then used to verify the identity of the attendee and grant them access to the event or series of events. As well as making event ticketing more efficient, this also helps reduce fraud and improve overall security.
NFTs in events can also be used as digital souvenirs or collectibles. Event organizers can create unique NFTs to commemorate the event, and these NFTs can be sold or given to attendees as a way of remembering the event. This helps to increase engagement and create additional revenue streams for event organizers.
The use of NFTs with blockchain technology allows for the creation of unique and verifiable digital assets that can be traded and used in a wide variety of contexts.
How does this work in relation to Cryptocurrencies?
One well-known blockchain brand is Bitcoin, which is a cryptocurrency that uses blockchain technology to securely record and verify financial transactions. Bitcoin was the first successful implementation of blockchain technology, and it remains one of the most well-known and widely used cryptocurrencies today. Other well-known blockchain brands include Ethereum and Solana, which are popular platforms for building decentralized applications, and Ripple, which is a blockchain-based payment network. There are also many other blockchain companies and projects, each with their own unique features and applications.
While Cryptocurrencies are not in themselves NFT’s, they can be used in conjunction with NFTs in a few different ways, including:
1. Decentralized financial applications
NFTs and Crypto can be used together in the creation of decentralized financial applications. NFTs can be used as collateral for loans or other financial transactions, and these transactions can be facilitated using Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies. This can help to create a more secure and efficient financial system, and can enable new types of financial services.
2. Digital assets collectibles
Another way that NFTs and Cryptocurrencies can be used together is in the creation of digital collectibles. As we have mentioned above, NFTs can be used to authenticate and verify the ownership of unique digital assets, such as art, music, virtual items, tickets for events and in some cases virtual real estate. These assets can then be bought and sold using Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies, creating a secure and transparent marketplace for these assets.
The use of NFTs and Crypto together has the potential to offer many benefits, such as increased security, improved efficiency, and the creation of new types of digital assets and financial services.
What is Web3 and how is it used?
Web3, also known as the “decentralized web,” is a term that refers to the use of blockchain technology to create decentralized applications and services. It has widely been acknowledged as the next iteration of the internet, leading us into a new way to experience the digital world, beyond the two dimensional websites and apps of today. The metaverse is a series virtual worlds, accessed via a browser or through VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) experiences. These are predominantly being built in Web3, and although still at a very early phase, it is widely thought these platforms will become the primary way in which we interface with Web3 applications.
Web3 applications can be used to improve various aspects of business, and some potential use cases for Web3 include:
• Supply chain management: Web3 applications can be used to create decentralized supply chain management systems, allowing businesses to track the movement of goods through the supply chain in a transparent and immutable manner. This can help to improve the efficiency and accountability of the supply chain.
• Financial transactions: Web3 applications can be used to create decentralized financial services, such as peer-to-peer lending platforms and decentralized exchanges. These applications can offer greater security and transparency compared to traditional financial services, and can help businesses to reduce costs and improve the speed of transactions.
• Data storage and management: Web3 applications can be used to create decentralized data storage and management systems, allowing businesses to store and manage data in a secure and decentralized manner. This can help to improve the security and accessibility of business data, and can enable businesses to comply with data protection regulations.
The use of Web3 in business has the potential to offer many benefits, such as increased security, improved efficiency, and enhanced transparency.
Should my company be using blockchain?
There are several potential reasons why a company might want to use blockchain technology. Some of the key benefits of using blockchain include:
• Increased security: Blockchain technology offers a high level of security, as it uses advanced cryptography to protect the integrity of the data stored on the network. This can help to prevent data breaches and other security incidents, making it an attractive option for companies that handle sensitive information.
• Improved efficiency: Blockchain technology can help to improve the efficiency of many business processes, such as supply chain management and financial transactions. This can help to reduce costs and improve the overall performance of company operations.
• Greater transparency: Blockchain technology allows for the creation of transparent and immutable records of transactions, which can help to build trust and improve accountability.
• Enhanced customer experience: The use of blockchain technology can improve the customer experience, for example by making financial transactions faster and more secure. This can help to build customer loyalty and drive business growth.
Overall, the use of blockchain technology can offer many potential benefits for companies. However, it is important to carefully evaluate the potential costs and benefits before implementing any new technology, to ensure that it aligns with your company’s goals and objectives.
As you can see, the potential applications for blockchain are vast and varied, with many technologies involved to create new and exciting use cases. The technology is constantly evolving, and it is likely that we will see more and more creative and innovative uses emerging which will make blockchain even more powerful as a tool for businesses in the future.
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