If there has been one big breakthrough story which has dominated the financial world over the past few years, it has been the rise of bitcoin and the general trend of cryptocurrency. The concept has dominated headlines for a couple of years now, with interest perhaps reaching a new high towards the end of last year when bitcoin reached a record value of more than $19,700.
Such developments have undoubtedly driven an increase in public interest around the issue, with research undertaken by Survey Monkey highlighting that 60 percent of Americans have now heard of bitcoin and 21 percent are also in the process of considering whether to add it to their investment portfolio. The study found that interest was particularly high among younger generations, with 58 percent of men under 34 admitting to owning the currency.
However, it is not just consumers who are being drawn to the idea of a digital currency. The business world has shown an interest in adopting the concept in recent years, with Microsoft allowing customers to pay for goods using bitcoin and Expedia also accepting hotel bookings made with it. It is also, remarkably, five years since a man in the US even paid for a Subway sandwich with the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin’s building blocks
A notable subplot to the rise of cryptocurrencies, however, has been the emergence of blockchain technology, the foundation on which bitcoin has been built. As Coin-Report.net explains, the concept involves a distributed database which features an ever-growing list of records called blocks. Encryption used in the system means that blockchain users can only see the parts of the chain of blocks that they own, making the technology very secure. This meant that bitcoin became the first digital currency to overcome the problem of duplication. Furthermore, the system runs on decentralized servers and P2P networks without a single centre, which further enhances its security.
The significant benefits that blockchain has provided to bitcoin have not gone unnoticed among businesses of all sizes, with many organizations increasingly looking at the technology and whether it could offer similar support within their industries or structures.
Among the companies to have turned to it in recent times is the famous photography brand Kodak. Reuters reports that a blockchain project called KODAKOne has been created in partnership with Wenn Digital to protect the copyright of images which are registered to the platform. It was recently confirmed that the project is looking to raise in the region of $50 million through a combined public and private token offering.
Another industry which is embracing blockchain is the world of movies, with studios, production companies and many more reportedly looking at how the technology could be adapted to support their needs. According to ScreenDaily, the concept is already making an impact in terms of the tracking of transactions and deals with the industry using a range of applications. Among these is the VoD service from Cinezen, which has been created to offer a number of functions including royalty reporting and invoicing.
Another industry which is benefiting from the innovative support of blockchain at present is the diamond trade, with City AM recently revealing how mining company De Beers is now tracking the delivery of the stones all the way from mines to their retail partners. The use of the blockchain software Tracr means that the company is able to keep tabs on the diamonds every step of their journey and can also ensure that businesses are not supplied with counterfeit or conflict goods.
Governments across the globe have even been drawn to the concept, with the Department of Home Affairs in Australia reportedly examining blockchain as a potential way to modernise the country’s trade processes and ensure the government can have full visibility of the supply chain. In addition, the growth of blockchain has even led officials in China to begin work on establishing national standards for the technology and its use in a range of sectors. According to CCN.com, the comprehensive standards are expected to be introduced formally in the country before the end of 2019.
Finally, if all of the examples above were not evidence enough of the rise of blockchain technology, the news that Facebook is planning to thoroughly investigate the concept is sure to grab your attention. A range of new sources recently reported that executive David Marcus is set to leave his role related to the company’s Messenger app and lead a new team, which will be focused on exploring potential uses for the concept. Recode highlights that the news could be seen as a boost for the crypto industry and offer it some “validity”, while the site also suggests that Facebook could use the concept in a range of ways including for encrypted data storage.
The big winner from the crypto boom?
All of this highlights how interest in blockchain is probably at an all-time high, with many industries looking to utilise its range of benefits in a number of different ways. While it is safe to say that bitcoin has grabbed a huge number of headlines in recent years, could it ultimately be the technology behind it that is the biggest winner from the recent cryptocurrency boom? With so many businesses analysing and using the concept, that may well be the case.
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