One fact we can all agree on is that technology has and will continue to be an ever-evolving, ever-morphing conundrum.
In a considerably short time, humanity has leaped from using beacons and pigeons to convey simple and basic messages to using crude telegraphic and telephonic means later to leveraging the sublime breakthrough of radio and television waves and digital cameras to the recent, but not so recent golden age of internet usage.
The journey has been sensational, to say the least, and from the looks of it, it's only bound to get better and bigger from this point on. The only way is up.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are now in the don of a new era, the brink of a new and more vibrant age. The energy is right, the time is now, and the words are two. Blockchain technology.
What once started as a painstakingly hard-to-understand enigma has gradually won acceptance within the civilized community. It has also done a tremendous bit towards triggering and churning new thoughts and insights of a never-before-imagined future, a future paved with grandiose progression.
Where It All Began
If you are familiar with the Blockchain technology, or, , involve yourself in tireless research and info sourcing on topics and issues that get your blood hot, high chances are the name Satoshi Nakamoto might have surfaced somewhere across your sources.
This is the name tag of the entity that conceptualized the first Blockchain format back in 2008.
It is an entity because the identity of the aforementioned individual has been shrouded in anonymity since it surfaced sometimes back. Some experts believe that it is indeed a group of people, rather than a sole individual, who came up with this whole innovation.
Some choose to overanalyze this whole situation, and believe that this supposed anonymity of the creator is an analogy to show just how secure, and personal the system can be. Who knows, this might, in fact, be true. Maybe Mr. Nakamoto did have a knack for theatrics.
Although an existing design was present, Mr. Nakamoto improved it using an automatic consensus mechanism that allowed the blocks to connect to the chains without the need for an external authenticator.
With this adjustment, Mr. Nakamoto used the new and refined system as the skeletal frame to design and develop a gem, the cryptocurrency popularly known as Bitcoin. Its working was simple: it was basically a transparent record account for all the transactions that happened in the conduit.
Projected Growth of Bitcoin and Speculations
Bitcoin’s growth has undoubtedly been nothing short of exponential. In a span of three years, the digital currency’s file size containing all the bitcoin transactions has drastically grown by 80%, from a file size of 20 GB in 2014 to 100 GB in 2017.
From a brazen statement made last year, the vice president of Blockchain and digital currencies department at IBM, Jesse Lund, revealed his faith in bitcoin when he outrightly declared that the market value of one bitcoin will reach the heights of 1 million US dollars per coin by the end of 2019.
John McAfee had a few things to say about Mr. Lund’s prediction. The bitcoin enthusiast and proposed candidate for the 2020 US election, commended Mr. Lund on his speculation, but had a different idea regarding the timing.
He agreed with the IBM executive that bitcoin will at some point get to the 1 million dollar mark, but then, he added that he was confident Satoshi’s coin would amount to that value by December 31st, 2020.
Still on the topic of digital currencies, it would be unwise to switch off the screen before we have a word or two about Etherium.
What seems like a word you would find on the seventh column of a periodic table is actually something quite different. Ethereum is the runners up cryptocurrency in relation to market capitalization. To put it lightly, Etherium is to Bitcoin what Real Madrid is to Barcelona, well, vintage Real Madrid at least.
An outstanding feature of Ethereum is that it is considered to be a platform coin. This is to say that it facilitates the running and deployment of other cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications. In addition to this attribute, this crypto coin is robust and extremely popular.
Though promising, Etherium has hit a few heavy speedbumps on the way and it’s safe to say that its once steady escalation has, in recent times, been plummeting.
Nonetheless, the mere definition of it being a bitcoin means that it is subject to highs and lows, and by the mere fact that it is more than just a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, means that its gross value might be a little challenging to predict.
There is a lot of buzz about the future of Etherium. Some cryptocurrency analysts believe the currency is worthless, claiming that it has accomplished nothing except inflating the cryptocurrency bubble.
Others claim that the currency is a ticking goldmine with an unimaginable potential of close to $100,000 per coin. The reviews are outrageous, but only the future holds the truth to the true valuation of Etherium.
Incorporation of Blockchain into the Banking Sector
There has been a looming concern over the effectiveness, and the efficacy of the traditional way of banking and finance. In most fast-paced economies, the banking sector has, for a long time, been overrun by a throne of monopolies who have taken over the industry, and a monumental chunk of the market share.
This is not to say that they are completely villainous or that there is somewhat of a nefarious world domineering plot by the big banks of the world. The problem lies in the service delivery.
When a market is saturated by a select few number of key players, the focus shifts from customer satisfaction to enforcing the particular interest of the monopolies, which might not necessarily be in line with what the client needs.
Thus the eruption of challenger banks to counter this situation. These are innovative start-up banks that do not necessarily conform to the traditional way of doing things. Their main niche focuses on areas that are neglected by the big banks, and are known to be very customer-oriented.
One of the pioneer founders of one such challenger bank, who happened to have had a vast experience working in major popular banks for over 30 years, spoke out about the need for this revolution and said that with her experience, it is much easier to start a new bank than to fix an old one.
The onset of these new banks gives the banking industry a chance to reinvent itself, and in the age of digital currencies, such banks could be the perfect pedestal to popularize these systems into normal, day-to-day applications.
Most of these banks have the option of offering cryptocurrencies as an alternative payment method.
Dmitry Lazarichev, one of the founders of Wirex (one such challenger bank), revealed in an interview that global crypto transactions are way more convenient and economical than the conventional way.
The world is rapidly changing: from self-driving cars to high-flying drones; from high-resolution cameras to rapid image tracking technology.
All industries are undergoing some sort of metamorphosis and it is about time the banking sector embraced the next big step which most likely is the Blockchain technology.
Assimilation of Blockchain Technology into Government systems
We are fortunate to be living in the day when governments around the world are embracing the many seamless perks that come with the application of Blockchain technologies in their operations. Here are a few examples.
To curb the vicious fake pharma menace, authorities from across the world have teamed up to monitor their pharmaceutical imports to ascertain their quality and credibility, and prevent fakes from seeping into their borders.
Elsewhere, the Brazilian government is leveraging the special potential of smart contracts in their public tendering processes. This will see to it that funding from international organizations and the government will reach the intended recipients, and quell any instances of corruption.
Other countries, such as Singapore and Venezuela, are working on Blockchain projects that tokenize their national currency into an array of Blockchain platforms. The main idea behind this is to make it easy for currency exchange to be fast and seamless.
Venezuela is a few steps ahead of most players in this list given that it is the first and only country that has issued the first-ever digital currency by a federal government. The token is called Petro.
Shortcomings of Digital Currencies
It would be unwise to ignore the fact that in as much as they are convenient, reliable and secure, cryptocurrencies aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. They have, for a long time, been a vital key player in online crime activity, aiding drug and human trafficking, and the purchase of illegal wares from the darknet.
This is due to their anonymous nature, and the ability to be untraceable by authorities. Much of the popularity around these digital currencies has emanated from the crime involvement, and there is need to take all the positive perks that come from digital currencies with a grain of salt.