The emergence of the Blockchain and cryptocurrency barely a decade ago has given the world so much to talk about, as the innovative technology appears to be filled with many solutions and surprises.Here are some exciting facts you never knew about Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
It is common knowledge that the Blockchain has many underlying features that make the technology ground-breaking, but simply put, the Blockchain is essentially a database. The Blockchain is a database because it is a digital ledger that stores information in data structures known as blocks. Similarly, a database stores information in data structures called tables. However, while a Blockchain is a database, a database is not a Blockchain. They both store information, but they are not interchangeable because they differ in design. The Blockchain changes the base layer of the internet’s infrastructure to help secure people’s identities by pairing a public and a private key, which enables one way encryption and decryption. The Blockchain maintains a continuous list of data records and transactions recorded in blocks of data chained to one another, the sequence which must be approved by multiple parties in the network. Unlike traditional systems which rely on the record keeping of a reputable intermediary, Blockchain requires the consent of multiple decentralized parties, thereby bypassing the need for an intermediary. No party can modify or delete the content of a Blockchain transaction, this provides a completely immutable and transparent record. These enhanced record keeping database makes the Blockchain very useful for safekeeping sensitive data.
Many companies are beginning to look for ways to benefit from the Blockchain technology and even cryptocurrencies. Although it is still in it’s infancy, Blockchain technology is already being adopted by global industry giants like IBM and Softbank. Thousands of innovative companies around the world are beginning to leverage on the benefits the Blockchain technology provides. Earlier this year, Forbes reported that the ten largest companies in the world are now exploring Blockchain. Companies like the China Construction Bank Corporation (CCB), JPMorgan, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple and many others have begun to show keen interest in the Blockchain technology. Something more striking is the diversity of the companies exploring the Blockchain. From finance companies to oil and gas, retail, communications, tobacco, food and drink, publishing industries just to mention a few. The global Blockchain market is expected to grow to over sixty billion dollars by 2024 as more companies adopt distributed ledger technology in running their operations.
Since the launching of the first form of cryptocurrency known as bitcoin in 2008, over 1,700 cryptocurrencies have come into existence. This is because unlike automotive companies where launching a new model takes many years of development and millions of dollars in investment, it takes less time and resources to launch a new cryptocurrency. The open source nature of the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin has made it easy to create new cryptocurrencies. This has led to the emergence of different crypto assets where only the strongest will ultimately survive, while the others will only fade away. Bitcoin remains the leading cryptocurrency as it currently controls about 54% of the projected market value of the cryptocurrency market, while the top 20 cryptocurrencies jointly account for 89% of the total market value. It is therefore safe to say that of the 1,700 cryptocurrencies, not all of them are worth paying attention to. The twenty largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization include Bitcoin (BTC) , Ethereum (ETH) , Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) , Litecoin (LTC) , Cardane (ADA) , NEO (NEO) , Stellar (XLM) , EOS (EOS) , Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH) , NEM (NEM) , IOTA (MIOTA) , Tether(USDT), Tron (TRX) , Ethereum Classic (ETC), VeChain (VEN) , Lisk (LSK) , Nano (NANO) and OmiseGO (OMG).
The emerging cryptocurrencies after bitcoin known as Altcoins. For now, bitcoin still remains the king of all.
According to the “Blockchain for Social Impact” study presented by Stanford University, nearly three – quarters of Blockchain initiatives in the philanthropy and aid sector are used to facilitate payments and money transfers. This is because the Blockchain provides a major solution to a challenge faced by the international community, which is the challenge of ensuring effective transfer and utilization of money. Up to ten percent of funds can be lost in transaction fees and fluctuating exchange rates, not to mention potential losses that could occur through intermediaries and corruption. The Blockchain improves the security, speed and cost of payment and transfers, as evident in cross boarder payments. An example of a company utilizing the Blockchain is BitPesa, a company in Kenya that allows the transfer of payment without requiring any bank account. Companies like Ripple are also working with Japanese banks to create more efficient bank transfers through the application of the Blockchain technology. Big financial institutions have also shown interest in the Blockchain technology. MasterCard has launched its own Blockchain network for business transactions and cross boarder payment. Visa and American Express has also added Blockchain technology to its payment system.
Although most cryptocurrencies appear similar, they do not all serve the same purpose or solve the same problem. Not all cryptocurrencies are designed to serve as payment methods, or an alternative to fiat currency. Although, we have cryptocurrencies that function as currencies because they are essentially a store of value and they can be used like the traditional fiat currency – a good example of this being bitcoin, there are also cryptocurrencies that serve the utility function. These groups of cryptocurrencies are designed to develop as an infrastructure, allowing other cryptocurrencies to be built on top of their networks. A good example of this kind is Ethereum with its Ethereum Virtual Machine, which has allowed the creation of several token coins from its network. Another type of cryptocurrencies are the app or platform cryptocurrencies. These are the cryptocurrencies built on top of utility currencies. An example of this is the Augur cryptocurrency that launched on the Ethereum network.
More individuals, governments and corporations are joining Blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution because it is the disruptive technology of the 21st century. Don’t be left behind, it’s not too late to join the cryptocurrency revolution.
Dr. Edson Pindza