Considering you now have a basic overview of how blockchain works from our previous blog post, let us dive into the possible use-cases of this beautiful technology. I am not over exaggerating when I call it beautiful, because once you understand the sophistication of this tech, you will go head over heels too.
To understand why blockchain is so important and why most people swear by its applications, let us understand the use case of blockchain in the transfer of value/cryptocurrency.
Exchange of value has been happening ever since human civilization began. Early humans used to barter goods to express value. Then came cowry shells and precious metals like gold, silver, etc. Value exchange is based on consensus and trust.
To understand this concept, let us consider the following example:
Suppose you have a handful of cowry shells, a couple silver coins, and some standard American dollars. You manage to build a time machine which takes you into the past and you go on a journey equipped with cowry shells, silver coins, and some USD.
In this pre-medieval market of the past, you approach a rice seller and offer him a couple USD. He looks at you strangely and throws away this bizarre-looking piece of rectangular paper. You hurriedly fetch the USD because you know it’s worth a lot more in modern markets than this rice seller considers it to be.
You then offer him some cowry shells. This is instantly recognized by the rice seller and he offers you a bag of rice in exchange.
You now travel to Medieval Europe again and offer the European rice seller a couple hundred USD sporting Benjamin Franklin. You are pretty certain that this rice seller could not possibly deny a couple hundred USD for a measly bag of rice!
This rice seller is also confused about your strange behaviour and tries to shoo you away. You then offer him a couple of silver coins and he parts with a bag of rice willingly.
You come back to present day NYC and call your online grocer to ask if they accept cowry shells or silver coins instead of USD (because you have spent all the money you had in the medieval markets and in building a time machine). The grocer calls you several unpleasant things and hangs up.
Now on further inspection of these situations, you realize that markets at a particular time in history only accept a certain commodity as an exchange for value. If people do not know about different currencies as value stores, there is no consensus between buyers and sellers on the underlying value of a commodity. Because of a lack of trust, there is no transfer of value and an active trading market ceases to exist.
Cowry shells have value in pre-medieval markets because there is enough liquidity for them as both buyers and sellers trust in the prevalence of cowry shells.
People in medieval Europe believe in Silver because the sovereign issues silver coins and the general population trust in the sovereign to protect their assets and rights.
Similarly, people in current market places trust the USD because it is backed by the government of the United States and people trust the USA to uphold the value of their currency.
There is a grave problem emerging here. If you notice, as time progresses, centralised institutions like Sovereigns and Governments often tend to have higher control and monopoly over the transfer of value. This is beneficial for governments but is a huge red flag for the general public. The concentration of power in the hands of a few often leads to disastrous events, history is proof.
Blockchain disrupts the centralisation of trust by creating a distributed ledger that is not owned by a central authority. Instead, the decentralized trust mechanism is facilitated by millions of machines throughout the world by expending processing power using electricity. Like other markets, when we have buyers and sellers of a particular currency and they attain a consensus on how much a particular currency is worth, we have a post-modern cryptocurrency market.
Here the value of cryptocurrency is determined by the unique value it offers and how much the buyers and sellers think the system is worth. Such cryptocurrency marketplaces have the potential to obliviate several aristocratic legacy systems that only hinder progress. Blockchain Board of Derivatives is one such cryptocurrency marketplace.
The two biggest cryptocurrencies are currently Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Bitcoin’s value proposition is the pure exchange of value. It acts as a virtual currency specifically for value transfers.
Ethereum, on the other hand, can be used for the exchange of value along with a number of other promising use cases. One of them is smart contracts. Smart contracts enable you to program a set of predefined conditions in the blockchain to perform a certain task on the trigger of an activity.
Possession of property
A simple example of this could be possession of a property. The smart contract acts as a facilitator between the buyer and seller. The buyer transfer funds into the smart contract and the seller transfers relevant titles of property. The smart contract holds information transferred by both parties in escrow, validates it on the decentralized network and facilitates the transaction only after sufficient confirmations
This is just one example of a use case developed on the Ethereum protocol. There are countless applications that can be developed using this powerful system. We will discuss the Ethereum White Paper in-depth in upcoming blog posts which will reveal how the Ethereum protocol works.
Apart from Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are numerous other cryptocurrencies and blockchain systems in the market and each has a unique use case that they propose. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise almost all centralised trust based legacy systems.
Blockchain technology is truly the future and BBOD is committed to being at its helm.