Alternative Blockchain Uses Deepen Individuals’ Privacy and Ownership Losses

Social media connection concept with mobile, notebook and server technology illustration.EPS10 vector file organized in layers for easy editing.
Social media connection concept with mobile, notebook and server technology illustration.

Picture Credit: Cienpies Design & Communication

The system behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, known as blockchain, is now being explored for other potential applications, according to NASDAQ. A blog post in the Wall Street Journal offered a basic definition of blockchain:

 A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority.
 ZDNET explains that “preparing an enterprise to embrace the Internet of Things means more than simply linking with remote devices or sensors. The IoT means rethinking an organization’s relationship with technology, and the possibilities that are opening up. These possibilities go far beyond what anyone could have even imagined a couple of years ago.” Of course, the myriad of applications from these efficiency gains are all very promising but, as 1,200 lawyer international firm Taylor Wessing points out, you don’t own this data that is being collected! This truly must change or you are going to be paying Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook for the use of your own eye scan… ABSURD! Waay back in 2008, Facebook issued its new and improved (for them) “terms of service (TOS)” asserting that “anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later.*Consumerist shared their TOS confirmation. A 2015 Atlantic cover story details how utterly creepy it is that Internet users have suffered a total loss of privacy and ownership (Google assigns to term to vehicles, wonder why…):
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Picture Credit: Atlantic Monthly
“Facebook has also been thinking about faces. Last summer, the company’s artificial intelligence team announced that its facial-recognition software passed key tests with near human-level accuracy. (In June 2015), it presented a further development:”
‘Facebook’s Yann LeCun, the AI team’s director, boasted that a different algorithm could identify people 83 percent of the time even if their faces were not in the picture. The program instead works from a person’s hairdo, posture, and body type.’
Alternative Uses for Blockchain that NASDAQ Flags: Fortune applauded recently the ascendancy of ex-Caryle Group finance exec Adena Friedman to the role of NASDAQ chief executive, “making her the first woman to run a major U.S. exchange and catapulting her into the top ranks of women in finance.”
  • A blog on Bytecoin noted numerous alternative uses for blockchain, starting with Namecoin’s pioneering application of distributed DNA in which its goal is to allow registering standard DNS records, performing updates on them, and gaining access to these records. Others like Datacoin and Storj have suggested that blockchain could be used for cloud storage (peer to peer file sharing networks) or Satoshi Nakamoto’s suggestion that it could serve as a “distributed timestamp server” to protect data from being changed or deleted. Bitmessage and Twister both suggest that blockchain might be useful for communication platforms.
  • Startups like MyPowers is using blockchain technology as the basis to create a marketplace for digital content or any digital asset that can be traded online. It is pushing for the idea that the mass consumer audience can enjoy a decentralized marketplace for all types of products, merchandise, subscriptions and even influencers’ time.
  • Since blockchain has been used to authenticate transactions, an interesting application is to extend this to other applications like voting or any situation that needs authorization, such as for political parties or even proxy voting used by shareholders.
  • Identity management is another application in which tamper-proof digital identities can be created like those being developed by Onename. This is similar to Bitnation’s creation of digital identities both of which are now viewed as a potential replacement for the use of usernames and passwords in the online environment.
  • Records for businesses can be kept in a much more organized and succinct fashion through the use of blockchain technology, according to companies like Factom. At the same time, it addresses security and compliance issues based on the precedent set by blockchain’s original financial-based use.

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 Picture Credit: Shutterstock
  • An infographic created by Let’s Talk Payments offers these applications and other alternatives for blockchain technology. These other options include smart contracts, reviews and endorsements, real estate, precious metals and diamonds, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, app development, patient medical records, network infrastructure, gaming, ride sharing and numerous financial uses.

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