Forget Bitcoin, Blockchain Has a Lot More to Offer


In case you need some more prodding to get onto Azure and start playing with Microsoft’s BaaS offering, I want to continue this series by talking about 2 areas that Blockchain evangelists are most excited about (spoiler: it isn’t Bitcoin).

A few blogs ago, I gave you a list of areas where those working with Blockchain are thinking this technology will be put to good use.  It was a long list, with no one area looking any more exciting than the other. Now, I’d like to make one of those areas stand out.

I have pointed out in the past when I compared the number of employees and infrastructure of Facebook and General Motors, that in the digital era, information provides more shareholder value than the size of your payroll, or how many widgets you produce.  That is why Google, Facebook, Amazon, and their Chinese equivalents, are all enjoying large multiples with their share price, while General Motors is merely putting along. The tech giants have all found ways to monetize the information that they have gathered about you.  Now imagine if you were able to take back ownership of that information and manage it yourself.

That is one of the Holy Grails for Blockchain evangelists!

But you thought it was all about digital currency!  After all, hardly a day passes where you don’t see some news about Bitcoin – the darling offspring of Blockchain.  And then there are its siblings that people are seeing pop up in the form of promises at the end of a long plea for your money in the form of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).  

While the public is largely being fleeced because those digital currencies are relatively easy to understand and one of them has gotten very shiny indeed, the majority of Blockchain evangelists are working on actually changing the way the world works.

And that brings me back to the interesting topic of your identity.  As it stands now, your digital identity can be found strewn about the internet in such places as Facebook, Amazon, Equifax, iTunes, etc..  Blockchain has the potential of taking all this disseminated information about you and putting it all into a single Blockchain – that you own and control.  If you own and control all of your personal data, you can edit it, and even profit from it!

Instead of Amazon storing your purchase history on their private servers, you could have that information kept in a distributed database and perhaps sell it back to Amazon.  This is the sort of thing that could break the information monopolies of all the tech giants. Now that is disruptive!

So, if you are looking for a hobby in the evenings, spending some time playing with ideas on Azure using their Blockchain resources (and there are lots of them) might put you in line to being the next Bill Gates.

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