The true litmus test of whether new technology will succeed or not is to determine if it has any day-to-day application. And at first glance, blockchain technology doesn’t really seem to check off that box.
Sure, it’s what supports cryptocurrency and a host of business-oriented platforms. But you’re probably wondering how people will use it for personal events and life’s milestones. Well, there are actually plenty of blockchain uses that will serve the average Joe. Even more interesting are some living examples of how everyday people have used blockchain technology.
Everyday Uses of Blockchain Technology
Just before digging into some examples, keep in mind that blockchain is actually more of a concept than it is a technology. It’s all about the distribution and accessibility of information or assets, not necessarily the gadgets or networks involved with it, this is because blockchain leverages existing internet, peer-to-peer, encryption, hashing, and computing technologies.
Couples have begun incorporating the blockchain into their weddings. The most notable one, which happens to be the first, took place in 2014. Joyce and David Mondrus, who met in the Philippines, carried out the blockchain wedding by providing a QR code for all attendees where data related to the marriage was recorded (and stored on a ledger).
The purpose behind this was two-fold:
1) It was a literal way to validate their marriage as a legally-bound partnership while overcoming government laws in the Philippines that would have made their marriage application very difficult.
2) To immortalize their vows in a public network that cannot be changed and remains forever.
The newlyweds offered a fitting spin on the typical wedding vows by saying, “Life is not guaranteed, and death can divide us, but the Blockchain is forever”.
Since then, many other couples have followed suite and the movement has led to the rise of blockchain wedding services such as SmartVows.
Blockchain Smart Contracts for Real Estate
A more practical blockchain use involves the real estate industry. Now it’s quite a personal application in this instance, but it will likely become one since buyers play a huge role a typical real estate transaction.
In this case, Propy, a real estate blockchain startup, completed the first government-sanctioned blockchain deal for real estate in the U.S. The transaction took place under a pilot program launched at beginning of the year, which involved a South Burlington, Vermont and San Francisco-based Propy themselves.
The transaction was a transfer of a real estate deed, where all involved parties including the broker, buyer, seller and title agent were able to sign-off on blockchain-based contract.
Industry insiders are excited about this because the company has demonstrated that, very soon, standard real estate contracts which the average person signs could happen using the blockchain. Fueling the excitement is the proposed list of benefits these transactions could bring such as tracking credit histories and significantly reducing or possibly even eliminating the need for expensive title fees.
Blockchain for Birth Certificates
The state of Illinois is experimenting with blockchain to replace birth certificates. In August 2017, the Illinois Blockchain initiative announced that it would partner with Evernym, a self-sovereign identity firm, to create an online ledger where only those who own an ID would have access (and others who were granted access).
The purpose of the project is to give citizens immediate access to their data, so that they’re not waiting weeks for the certificate to arrive in the mail. But also, the initiative hopes to provide citizens with a greater sense of control over their data and peace of mind so that it is secure.
Why These Examples Are Important
These examples are a big deal because they’re demonstrating practical uses for the somewhat abstract and misunderstood blockchain. More importantly, they demonstrate how personal the idea of a public ledger can become, protecting not only our identities, but also, significant moments in time.
So the next time you feel that blockchain uses are limited to big companies or tech geniuses, think again. You may soon register a day –to-day chore on the blockchain along with thousands of others.