We have grown accustomed to the technology we use in our everyday lives, from the computers and cell phones we carry to the GPS devices that help us navigate from place to place. What we may not be aware of is how much technology has advanced to make life easier and more efficient for us, or how those advancements have changed throughout time.
How does it work?
Crypto currency is an invention that can be used as a business. It is money, except it isn’t issued by a bank or government. While governments have been largely ignoring the rise of crypto currencies, people and businesses are beginning to embrace them for their potential benefits. Some see cryptocurrencies as having the potential to play a powerful role in addressing world poverty and other pressing problems, while others fear they will replace all physical cash with virtual dollars on some future date. The future holds both promise and peril for cryptocurrencies—but it’s not too soon for the business community to get ready for the change this innovation could bring. There has never been a greater need for evolution in the financial services industry, which means now is the time to learn more about how you can use this invention to your advantage. Invention – something invented; new- created from existing things but not naturally occurring. The word invention usually suggests that someone created the thing by design and thought. A new type of car would qualify as an invention if its designer came up with new features that had never existed before in any kind of car. We sometimes say invention when we mean creation. The sentence She was given a box of old toys from her great aunt who died last year, means she was given toys made long ago- things her great aunt had collected over many years until she died. That sentence does not mean she received an item just made last year because no one collects toys these days! The world faces many difficulties, like climate change and global warming. Money has played a significant role in both creating and solving these issues, so why not try out a new invention? Some think crypto currencies might solve some of our most difficult problems. For example, in developed countries where cars dominate society, they generate greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. Electric cars may provide part of the solution; however, electric cars still rely on fossil fuels such as coal power plants generating electricity. The problem lies within generating enough electricity to charge these cars without causing further damage to the environment through more emissions into the atmosphere. But imagine if instead of using cars, people were able to produce energy using renewable sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. With low cost renewable sources, people would be able to save lots of money on gas costs. They also wouldn’t need to worry about carbon emissions into the atmosphere leading to environmental disasters. As we look at global climate change today, there seems to be two solutions: go green or go extinct. If humans want any chance at survival then we must find a way to reduce carbon emissions immediately. Governments can put limits on pollution emission levels, but corporations are what drive economies around the world today and they tend towards emitting higher levels of pollutants than those set by regulations due to cheaper production costs (i.e., taxes). Renewable energy is the future, not only for the planet, but for business. Solar and wind are growing exponentially with new innovations in technology. Imagine the potential of crypto currencies to change this trend by allowing people to trade these resources among themselves on a peer-to-peer level. Using digital coins, people could buy and sell renewable resources at an unprecedented scale, giving everyone a chance to participate in green capitalism. Crypto currencies could make a real difference in the fight against climate change and this is just one of the ways that crypto currencies are evolving. People are starting to wake up to the opportunities that exist in the world of crypto currencies, but few understand how they work. This blog post has given you some information about the basics of crypto currencies, including recent history and current trends. The next step is to take this information and figure out what it means for your business. For instance, do you have a website? Would you like to implement microtransactions? Do you want to create a token that represents something else besides money? What does this mean for your employees? Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are changing the world economy. Businesses need to take note of the changes and adjust accordingly or risk getting left behind. One thing that many people still don’t realize is that all cryptocurrencies run on blockchain technology. In fact, blockchain was invented specifically for the purpose of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Blockchain’s distributed ledger system allows for transactions to be recorded without a centralized point of control and without the need for third party verification. Transactions can be performed directly between two parties with no intermediary which saves time and lowers costs. It also makes hacking virtually impossible since there is no central database to attack. Transactions can then be verified by any computer connected to the network and as long as 51% of the nodes agree that the transaction is valid, it will go through. Blockchains are unhackable because they are decentralized; instead of having one database located in one place that can easily be hacked, blockchains distribute their data across a vast network so hacking would require attacking more than 50% of all computers connected to the blockchain at once which would never happen. These days nearly every major corporation relies on multiple blockchains for services like storage, payments, identity management, etc.
What does it cost?
Before we dive into the nitty gritty details of what crypto currency does, it is important to first take a look at the price. Since Bitcoin has become popular, the number of investors from around the world has skyrocketed. You can invest in it by buying Bitcoin or joining a pool which mines for coins. Even if you just want to buy one bitcoin, it will cost you about $7000 USD at today’s prices (not including commissions or transaction fees). There are other coins that are much cheaper and provide other services that might be better suited for your needs (such as Ethereum). For example, let’s say you wanted to start a blog where writers could publish their work. A cryptocurrency like Ethereum could be used as an exchange of value between authors and readers. Instead of using a centralized service like Paypal, readers would pay in Ether to read articles on the site, while writers would charge in Ether per word they write on the site. With this system there is no way for either party to run away with all the money since both have some amount locked up with an agreement to release funds after certain conditions are met. In addition, content creators can set a minimum price per word so that even people who don’t have a lot of Ether can afford to buy writing pieces.
While these two examples show how cryptocurrencies could play a role in our daily lives, the future may hold even more potential. Imagine being able to convert every dollar bill you own into crypto-currency without ever having to make change or go through any hassle with banks. It sounds too good to be true but imagine being able to travel anywhere in the world without worrying about exchanging currencies and paying hefty withdrawal fees from ATM machines! In fact, there are already mobile apps that allow you store your Bitcoin in your wallet phone so that you never have worry about having cash on hand again. Recently, Apple removed Blockchain – the most popular Bitcoin wallet app – from its App Store because it was violating App Store policies. However, it doesn’t seem like the removal of Blockchain from the App Store has hurt Bitcoin at all; if anything, it is just another sign that we are nearing mainstream adoption. The reason why Bitcoin can still thrive despite not being available in the Apple store is because there are many other wallets out there that offer similar functionality. If one becomes unavailable, users can always find something else to fill its place until they figure out how to get back on board with Apple. One such program, called Jaxx, allows you to manage multiple crypto-currencies from a single application. This is perfect for someone who is unsure of which coin to purchase in the first place. Another advantage of Bitcoin over paper money is that it cannot be counterfeited. If someone were to create fake bills that looked identical to real ones, the government would quickly catch on and replace them with new bills before anyone realized. Bitcoins are completely digital and irreversible so there is no chance of the same thing happening. In order to print out a Bitcoin, you need to have access to a printer with a specialty chip that costs upwards of $2000. This is much more expensive than the ink cartridges that you would use for your average home printer. Besides, in order to print a counterfeit note, you would need all the security features printed on it which makes it extremely difficult and time consuming. As long as the computer or server that stores your Bitcoin isn’t hacked, there is no way for your coins to be stolen or taken from you. This makes investing in crypto-currency less risky than other forms of investments like stocks or bonds. When you invest in fiat currency, there is always the risk that some event will cause inflation or deflation and what used to be worth $100 will now only buy goods worth half of what they used to. With crypto-currency, this type of scenario would never happen because the price goes up when demand increases and decreases when supply exceeds demand. Investing in Bitcoin might not sound as exciting as putting your money into an IPO but think about this: if Facebook had been founded today instead of 10 years ago, chances are Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t have been sitting on billions of dollars by now. Instead he would have been sharing his wealth with his investors by distributing shares. But with Bitcoin, there is no difference between the founder and the investor. Once you have your share of Bitcoin, you are entitled to receive a certain amount of coins from the company’s earnings. This means that, in theory, everyone who holds Bitcoin would be considered a shareholder in the company and would share equally in its success. But for those of us who are unfamiliar with crypto-currency or have yet to invest, it’s important to keep an open mind. It might take a little while for people to adjust to the idea of giving up their traditional bank accounts but don’t forget that it took more than 30 years for credit cards to become accepted around the world as well. The major advantage of bitcoin is that it doesn’t involve any middlemen such as banks, governments or international currency exchange companies. That cuts out the fees associated with transactions plus since bitcoins can be transferred across borders without any additional fees charged for exchanging currencies. There are also plenty of online retailers already accepting bitcoin so even if you’re not able to find anything locally, you’ll still be able to spend your digital cash at Amazon, eBay and others without paying any additional transaction fees. Now that there is an entire ecosystem developing around Bitcoin, including ATMs in many different countries plus debit cards that allow consumers to spend their digital cash anywhere they please and PayPal processing payments in bitcoin; I am confident we will see cryptocurrencies evolve into something much bigger than just digital assets like gold. Imagine all the potential benefits of using a decentralized currency for everyday purchases – faster, cheaper, more secure and better for global commerce. For now, however, the best thing anyone can do is simply get informed and start taking baby steps towards understanding how these new technologies work before making a decision one way or another.
How is it going to change the world?
I first heard about bitcoin at a meetup in Detroit on March 7th. It’s a cryptocurrency, meaning it’s digital, decentralized and based on cryptography. The concept is relatively new, dating back only to 2009 when the Genesis Block was created. Bitcoin got a lot of attention in 2013 with its increasing value and coverage by mainstream media. People are now talking about how crypto-currency is going to change the world, with some predicting that it will eventually be used for everyday transactions instead of fiat currency like U.S. dollars or Euros that we use today. There are many questions surrounding the future of this form of currency. Will it be regulated? How will it affect taxes? What happens if someone gets their hands on your coins? With so much uncertainty, there’s no telling what the future holds for crypto-currency but one thing is certain – more people are buying into the idea of being independent from banks. A major upside of bitcoins is that they aren’t controlled by any bank, company or government. That means you don’t have to worry about an over inflated financial system because the value can fluctuate without interference from any other entity. Cryptocurrency offers more stability than conventional currencies which rely on interest rates set by central banks and inflation levels which can be manipulated at the whims of political leaders. There’s also no need to worry about foreign exchange fees when exchanging different types of money as these are largely non-existent in the world of crypto. Fiat currency relies on centralized organizations and institutions to keep tabs on them. In contrast, with cryptocurrency you don’t need a middleman like PayPal, Visa or Mastercard to process transactions for you. You can trade directly with another person using different types of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) or Ethereum (ETH). Transactions can take place almost instantly and you’ll get your money immediately. You’re not required to go through any third party institution and all transactions are irreversible so you won’t have to worry about credit card fraud like you would with traditional methods of payment. Furthermore, transaction fees associated with payments made through crypto-currencies tend to be much lower than those incurred from traditional banking methods; sometimes as low as $0.01 per transaction! This makes crypto-currency attractive for small time purchases like coffee and lunch. For example, let’s say you want to buy a cup of coffee worth $1.40 USD. With credit cards, it may cost around 10% to 20% in processing fees while paying with cash could cost 2%. Paying with Bitcoin incurs less than 1% in processing fees. This allows merchants to reduce overhead costs and consumers to save money! Although adoption rates vary globally, it has been predicted that there will be more than 5 million bitcoin wallets by 2020. Countries around the world are also beginning to regulate virtual currencies like Bitcoin which is seen as beneficial for investors and traders alike since rules help create legitimacy which reduces volatility. Governments are slowly realizing that they can’t simply ignore the emergence of crypto-currency. Japan is a great example of this as the country officially recognized Bitcoin as a legal tender and started regulating it on April 1st, 2017. And just recently, South Korea passed legislation which also recognizes Bitcoin as a legitimate currency, removing limits on how much you can spend with virtual money. One of the benefits of cryptocurrency is that it can be used in countries where there are problems with local currencies. Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro said that he wants to move towards a new monetary model and pegged the national currency Bolivar to the Petro cryptocurrency earlier this year. The Venezuelan government claims that the petro coin is backed by oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves. In reality, it seems that the government does not actually hold these assets but still maintains its stance in saying It’s our proposal for this historical moment. It appears that many Venezuelans don’t believe in the petro coin or their own bolivars either because hyperinflation forces people to turn their bolivars into U.S dollars or other fiat currencies to make ends meet. The end result is an unstable economy that keeps declining and cannot stop its economic downfall. More often than not, when a country’s citizens lose faith in their government, they start turning to Bitcoin which provides an alternative form of payment. All across the globe we’re seeing governments trying to figure out what crypto-currencies mean for them. As one can see from Venezuela’s experiment with digital coins, cryptocurrency might be able to save economies who have lost confidence in themselves from being doomed. These experiments have been successful thus far; however, some experts argue that saving struggling economies through crypto-currencies may not work forever. Some skeptics think that these experiments will only last so long before governments try to regain control over things again. For now though, it looks like cryptocurrency might be here to stay. Countries are looking at different ways to deal with crypto-currency. While some ban it outright, others have started embracing it instead. A good example of a nation that has decided to embrace crypto-currency is Japan. When China banned bitcoin exchanges and trading, Japan was quick to pick up the slack. The Japanese yen became one of the most traded currencies against bitcoin in 2017 as investors looked for stability after China cracked down on trade earlier this year. For those interested in doing business without interference from their own government, Japan offers plenty of options for both exchange markets and companies setting up headquarters within the country. There are even regulations for ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) with various guidelines depending on how much money is being raised by the company. In order to avoid any uncertainty about regulations, Japanese regulators mandate all ICOs register with the Financial Services Agency (FSA). Of course, there are challenges in moving forward with new technology such as blockchain and crypto-currency despite how promising it could be. One of the major challenges at hand involves regulation.
Where are we now?
So far, over 1,200 different crypto currencies exist. Major blockchain and crypto currency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin have huge valuations in the market. So what’s next? Where does this all go from here? We believe that in 5 years there will be many more new use cases that involve crypto currencies. And the energy sector is one such industry where adoption is just getting started. SolarCoin was created as a result of increased climate change awareness and seeks to shift the paradigm in carbon based energy generation by rewarding homeowners who generate solar power with SolarCoins. In addition, environmental activist groups such as Greenpeace are embracing blockchain technology because it can provide transparency on sustainability practices. At SolarChange we believe that blockchain technology can serve as an auditable and transparent way for investors to track their investments into renewable energy projects around the world.
In addition, artificial intelligence has emerged in recent years and its application has had wide-ranging impacts on our society. One particular instance is autonomous vehicles which utilize AI algorithms to learn how to navigate through traffic efficiently or detect objects from cameras so they can brake if necessary (there are countless other examples). Blockchain could help solve security issues with autonomous vehicles which would otherwise need high levels of data encryption for safety purposes. Furthermore, the incorporation of blockchain could allow for companies to become GDPR compliant by giving consumers better control over their personal data. The key takeaway is that these emerging technologies and trends will continue to evolve as time goes on but what remains constant is that blockchain plays a critical role in these emerging innovations. Whether it’s energy generation, sustainable investing, or the internet of things, you can expect to see the disruptive capabilities of blockchain permeate nearly every industry in the near future. What’s clear is that businesses must begin to adapt and develop strategies around using these technologies as they arise. They cannot afford to wait until all details of emerging technology are known, which means that today’s leaders must make strategic bets on the direction of innovation–and then turn those bets into actions–to stay ahead of the curve. The payoff can be enormous. For example, by building product offerings focused on machine learning and automation, Facebook Inc. surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp. to become the second most valuable company in the world within five years of being founded; Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, came third. Ultimately though, it is important not to overlook opportunities arising from crypto currencies like SolarCoin–not only do they have immense potential for transforming traditional industries but also offer a wealth of opportunities for individual traders as well. As the price of SolarCoin increases, the monetary value of your home solar system is worth more. This creates a win-win situation for both individuals and the environment. And as the industry of blockchain technology continues to grow, it will inevitably transform the global economy. It is no longer a question of whether blockchain will disrupt the financial and banking sectors, it is when. With more and more banks looking to leverage blockchain technologies, crypto currencies like SolarCoin will have a significant impact on the energy industry. The implications are vast for institutions that rely on the stability of their revenue streams. This begs the question: Is this good or bad? And the answer is: it depends. A business’s ability to innovate and incorporate emerging technologies into their business model can yield exponential benefits in the long run, but failure to react quickly enough could lead to disastrous consequences. And with banks taking notice of blockchain’s potential, they are now faced with a decision–adapt or be disrupted by others–and in order to avoid these consequences, they must integrate these emerging technologies into their business model as soon as possible. There are many companies that are already doing this, and the potential for growth is tremendous. Tesla is one such company that has taken a proactive approach to integrating emerging technologies into their business model. Recently, Tesla became the first automaker to receive an investment grade credit rating in a decade and analysts attribute the success to their commitment to implementing emerging technologies, particularly in battery development. It’s predicted that by 2020, Tesla will produce more batteries than any other manufacturer in the world–giving them a competitive edge against traditional automakers as battery prices are expected to decline as a result of technological advances. This underscores just how important it is for organizations–especially ones whose revenues depend on stability–to strategically invest in new technologies before they become mainstream and take away their competitive advantage.
Where do we go from here?
Crypto currency’s skyrocketing growth has created a need for innovative use cases.
There are many ways that crypto currencies can be used to provide energy, especially in developing countries. It is essential that these countries have access to the much needed power and opportunities.
Bitcoin mining is costly and not feasible in certain areas, but it can still be used as a secure form of payment by governments and organizations involved in renewable energy projects. This allows more small stakeholders who wouldn’t otherwise be able to invest in traditional forms of energy access the opportunity.
With new cryptocurrencies like Storj emerging and blockchain technology being introduced into new sectors, there is great potential for crypto currencies’ involvement with other aspects of sustainability like water management, electricity generation and pollution reduction. -In Nigeria, only 10% of citizens are connected to the electrical grid while solar panels remain unaffordable or inaccessible. As such, there is a desperate need for this alternative form of energy. The Nigerian government has begun investing in biogas production as an alternative fuel source and hopefully we will see this become more common place.
In Iran where 4 out of 5 households don’t have access to natural gas supplies or a connection to the electrical grid, blockchain technologies could solve this issue through energy tokenization. Tokenizing energy sources would allow people without economic resources create microgrids using local or renewable sources which would also allow them greater autonomy over their consumption decisions. And because of the digital nature of this process, these tokens can be traded among buyers and sellers anywhere in the world. -Named appropriately enough, SolarCoin incentivizes bitcoin miners to switch to solar power by rewarding them with coins when they contribute blocks to its blockchain. And since most bitcoin miners operate outside developed nations where they must rely on non-renewable energy sources, they might be more open than most individuals and businesses to making the switch if they are financially incentivized. -However, as crypto currencies continue on their journey towards domination they face some hurdles including managing scalability issues with blockchains- which should always take priority before any other development- so that transactions happen faster and at lower costs. One possible solution to this problem is sharding, which divides up blockchains into different servers and databases. To ensure that no data is lost even if one server goes down all the information from each shard needs to be replicated across all servers which significantly increases storage requirements. In order to do this cheaply and efficiently networks require large amounts of cheap disk space. Providing this space for every participant in a network (nodes) is expensive and difficult so other solutions need to be found in order for scaling solutions to work effectively. Blockchain based cloud storage like Filecoin and Storj are two examples of emerging technologies that can help to reduce the cost of data transmission and decentralize file sharing, respectively. Both services utilize the power of a blockchain to help manage these processes in a more efficient way. -And finally, as crypto currencies continue to grow in value and popularity, they have the potential to be used for everything from buying groceries or booking hotels or flight tickets. Cryptocurrencies offer a convenient way for anyone with internet access to transfer money quickly and securely with little fees. This has huge implications for those living in countries that have weak financial systems or are under sanctions by Western countries like Russia or North Korea. In these countries, crypto currencies like Bitcoin can be a more reliable form of currency and as the crypto currency market continues to grow in size, so too does the need for new developments.
Companies like Potentiam are working on creating their own blockchain specifically for the music industry that would allow musicians to distribute and sell their music directly to consumers while providing them with valuable analytics. By removing intermediaries from the equation musicians can have more control over how they share their art and make a profit. Another company, Buzzfeed plans to use blockchain technology in order to create their own decentralized content distribution platform. This would allow them to pay writers and artists directly for content instead of going through third party platforms like Facebook or YouTube which earn revenue from users’ attention instead of creators. And of course, this is just the beginning. With more and more possibilities on the horizon, it’s hard to predict where we’ll go from here. Will cryptocurrencies continue to dominate the financial and technological landscape? Will they remain an option for those in developing countries or will they be relegated to a niche status as more efficient and more accessible alternatives emerge? It’s impossible to say for sure, but what is certain is that blockchain technologies have only just begun to explore their full potential. There are many more innovations and developments to come that could revolutionize industries ranging from social media to healthcare. The future of cryptocurrency is largely dependent on how governments react. A cautious approach may give us time to adjust before the inevitable mass adoption, whereas a permissive approach may lead to chaos. Either way, there’s no stopping innovation at this point and no telling what new ideas will arise in the future. Whatever the outcome, one thing is for certain. Cryptocurrency isn’t going anywhere.