Uses for Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency, Vol. 1

This article details the many possible uses for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. It features 8 use cases and 36 specific projects, and will serve as an outline for Astral Crypto’s cryptocurrency database. Since thousands of unique blockchain projects exist, I will write this article in multiple volumes to cover the expansiveness of the market. If you would like me to mention a specific project in a future volume, please contact us with your request.

I strongly believe that blockchain technology will revolutionize modern economic and social interactions for the benefit of humanity. The numerous innovative uses for the technology will drive the value of many of these projects as they become more widely discovered and adopted. Learn more about these exciting projects and their use-cases here.

Use cases featured in the Vol. 1 article:

  1. Digital Currency
  2. Private Digital Currency
  3. Platform for Decentralized Application Development
  4. Supply Chain Management
  5. Financial Services and Payment Protocols
  6. Blockchain Scalability, Security, and Privacy
  7. Entertainment
  8. Advertising

Use cases to be featured in future volumes: Voting systems and security, social media, gold purchases, decentralized trading exchanges, market forecast tools, charities, virtual world and society creation, decentralized messaging, net neutrality, distributed autonomous companies, cross-platform communication, mobile cryptocurrency, cannabis markets, digital asset management, fiat and value backed cryptocurrency, decentralized cloud computing, decentralized data storage, sustainable energy, and many more. We may also revisit past use cases to highlight other specific projects that were previously left out.

1. Digital Currency – Payment for Goods and Services

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency’s first uses were as a form of digital currency to pay for goods and services. Payment remains one of the most popular and well-known uses for cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin currently holds a legendary status as the cryptocurrency and blockchain king. Its whitepaper describes it as a peer-to-peer, decentralized version of electronic cash that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Bitcoin seeks to completely remove reliance on third-party financial institutions to process electronic payments. Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s anonymous creator, constructed the network to preserve the identity and security of the transacting parties with revolutionary blockchain technology. 99bitcoins.com provides a list of over eighty commonly used companies that accept bitcoin as currency for payments

Bitcoin has undoubtedly achieved success as a digital currency since its creation in 2009. However, as wide-scale adoption and trading of Bitcoin increases, it begins to encounter issues with volatility, slow transaction speeds, high fees, slow scalability, and high energy costs. These issues create challenges to Bitcoin’s global adoption as a currency. Economically, a currency generally must act as: 1) a medium of exchange; 2) a standard of value/unit of accounting and; 3) a store of value. It is important to keep these three economic principles in mind when looking at cryptocurrencies as payment for goods and services.

Medium of Exchange

A digital medium of exchange is most efficient when it is fast, low cost, and easy to use. As Bitcoin’s network usage increases, low scalability, slow transaction speeds, and high energy costs may create problems in using Bitcoin as an efficient medium of exchange. Bitcoin users are working to solve these issues through the implementation of the Lightning Network, however, the Lightning Network remains in early stages of development and implementation. It is a long way from mass adoption on Bitcoin’s network.

Standard of Value/Unit of Accounting

A standard of value makes it easy to determine how much something in the market is worth. High volatility may create problems for Bitcoin to act as a standard of value. When Bitcoin’s price fluctuates rapidly and unpredictably, it is hard to determine its true value at any one moment. The most widely used currencies have a relatively stable standard of value. In early 2017, bitcoin was trading around $1,000. On December 17, 2017, bitcoin was trading for over $19,500. And today, in February 2018, Bitcoin was trading around $8,000 when I started writing this article, and is now around $8,800 upon finishing it. In one year, the value of Bitcoin has fluctuated wildly, making it difficult to measure, and risky to exchange for goods and services. Currently Bitcoin is too volatile to act as a stable standard of value, but its price may yet stabilize as time goes on and the cryptocurrency market matures.

Store of Value

A store of value ensures that something in the market will remain valuable. Many people compare Bitcoin to gold. It is becoming hard to imagine a world where 1 Bitcoin is worth anything less than hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. As demand for cryptocurrencies increase, Bitcoin’s value has a strong chance to increase as well. At the very least, Bitcoin will probably retain value as a relic of being the first and most legendary cryptocurrency – much like how gold retains its value to this day.

In the years since Bitcoin’s creation, we have started to see a slow rise of alternate cryptocurrencies functioning as digital currencies. Many of these cryptocurrencies have not reached the legendary status of Bitcoin, but offer strong competition compared to Bitcoin. Here are some other popular cryptocurrencies that function as payments for goods and services

Litecoin (LTC)

Charlie Lee, world-famous and well-respected cryptocurrency enthusiast, founded Litecoin in 2011 to offer a more lightweight alternative to Bitcoin. Litecoin provides for faster transactions by using smaller interval times between adding new blocks to its blockchain. It also uses a Scrypt algorithm for its mining governance, as opposed to Bitcoin’s SHA 256, which allows for more efficient mining processes that can be more easily accomplished through less expensive computing hardware. Like the other digital currencies, Litecoin also offers a list of merchants to exchange goods and services. Litecoin has long been a strong project in the cryptocurrency market, and holds a top ten spot in market capitalization.

Dash (DASH)

People use Dash as “digital cash” to make instant, private payments online or in-stores through their open-source platform. Dash offers many merchants who will exchange DASH for a large list of goods and services, including: debit cards, business services, web stores, precious metals, gift cards, games, online casinos, web hosting, email providers, VPN providers, and bill payments.

 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) & (BCC)

Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork of Bitcoin that also acts as peer-to-peer, decentralized electronic cash that does not require third parties. Bitcoin Cash uses an upgraded consensus that allows further growth and scalability that bitcoin has struggled to offer. Bitcoin Cash also offers a wealth of merchants and services that the digital currency can be used for.

Iota (MIOTA)

Iota uses a technology often considered innovative within the cryptocurrency community. Iota operates with a “Tangle” ledger rather than a blockchain. The Tangle has the potential to compete directly with, or even surpass blockchain technology in the future. The Tangle is a directed acyclic graph (DAG) that stores transactions in a way that enables feeless transactions. Users will be able to send and receive feeless micropayments with Iota, which is often impossible with many other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies because of relatively high transaction fees. Iota is designed specifically for the Internet-of-Things (IoT) marketplace, but also offers possibilities in use for data transfer, voting systems, masked messaging, and other creative solutions that can benefit from its unique structure.

Iota’s innovation has secured it a top 15 spot in the cryptocurrency market, and is often thought of as a strong long-term hold because of its potential to disrupt blockchain technology, however, it has also faced a lot of scrutiny for potential security flaws and difficulties with storage in its current state.

Nano (XRB) (formerly Raiblocks)

Nano describes itself as a new way of thinking about money. Nano is a trustless, low-latency cryptocurrency that uses a unique DAG block-lattice architecture with Proof of Stake consensus. Its structure allows for feeless, instant transactions with high scalability and low resource use compared to current blockchain projects. Nano has risen quickly from obscurity in cryptocurrency markets to claim a top 25 spot as a high potential project because of its low costs, fast transactions, and ease of access.

2. Private Digital Currency – Anonymous Payments for Goods and Services

Many cryptocurrencies acting as digital currency maintain public records of wallets and transactions. Some cryptocurrencies have strayed away from publicizing transaction and storage data. These Private digital currencies operate to keep transactions confidential and wallet addresses secret. They also obfuscate origins, amounts, and destinations of transactions to keep them from public view. DASH, as mentioned previously, has a PrivateSend feature to ensure privacy of activity history and account balances. Currently, Monero (XMR) is the most popular privacy currency that operates specifically to be private and untraceable. Other popular private digital currencies include: Zcash (ZEC), Verge (XVG), and PIVX (PIVX).

3. Platform for Decentralized Application (DApp) Development

Many blockchain projects function as a secure platform for the development and implementation of fascinating and valuable decentralized computer applications (dapps, apps) while providing smart contract execution. These dapps are built on top of decentralized blockchain platforms that serve as the foundation for many of the cryptocurrency uses discussed in this article. This section highlights some of the blockchain projects that serve as a structural foundation for application development and smart contract execution.

Ethereum (ETH)

As it stands, Ethereum is the second strongest player in the cryptocurrency market. In 2013, at age 19, Vitalik Buterin, famed cryptocurrency developer, proposed the Ethereum project. The project began crowd-sourced fundraising and development in 2014, and on July 30, 2015, Ethereum went live to become one of the most creative and innovate blockchain projects to be imagined at the time.

Ethereum is a decentralized network that runs smart contracts and provides an application platform that functions without downtime, censorship, fraud, or third-party interference. Currently, Ethereum hosts over 36,000 applications (often referred to as ERC-20 tokens) on its platform. Just five months ago, that number was around 7,000. Many of the apps built on top of Ethereum provide innovative and valuable uses for blockchain technology. Many budding blockchain projects use Ethereum’s network as a jumping-off point into the cryptocurrency market through initial coin offerings (ICO). The tokens that run on Ethereum’s structure are also often traded on exchanges as cryptocurrency.

Ethereum is set to maintain a strong cryptocurrency market presence for a long time. The wide volume and proliferation of cryptocurrency and blockchain apps built on its platform currently reigns far supreme to that of any other project.

NEO (NEO)

NEO was founded by a Shanghai based blockchain company “OnChain.” NEO began development in 2014 and published its real-time open source code on GitHub in June 2015. NEO is a non-profit community-based blockchain project that focuses on hosting digital assets through the use of digital identities stored on a blockchain. NEO automates management of digital assets using smart contracts to create a “smart economy” with a distributed network.

Digital assets are programmable assets that exist electronically on NEO’s blockchain network. They allow users to register, trade, and circulate many types of assets, registered through digital identities, protected by law, and secured with blockchain technology. NEO uses electronic, digital identities for its users – individuals, entities, and other organizations. NEO then uses these digital assets and digital identities to execute smart contracts for its users. The system will allow millions of developers around the world to quickly carry out the development of smart contracts.

An added benefit to owning NEO is that it allows users who store it on their wallet to generate the cryptocurrency GAS, which acts as fuel to NEO’s network. GAS can also be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges. Currently, NEO has about 30 DApps building on its infrastructure. NEO is often plugged as the “Chinese Ethereum,” and has recently found an enormous amount of success in the cryptocurrency market.

Cardano (ADA)

Cardano is a decentralized, open source blockchain project with smart contracts. It runs decentralized financial applications for use by individuals, organizations, and governments around the world. The Cardano team prides itself on its platform evolving out of scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach and features a wide range of brilliant engineers, academics, and researchers. Cardano will also function as a means to send and receive digital currency, aiming to provide open access to fair financial services to anyone. Cardano’s mainnet released on September 29, 2017, and is currently continuing research, development, and marketing in many project areas in offices around the world. Cardano has recently solidified itself as a top ten player in the cryptocurrency market.

EOS (EOS)

EOS is a newer dapp blockchain platform still in early development. EOS claims it will be the most powerful infrastructure for decentralized applications – and if EOS releases with its targeted specifications – it may be just that. EOS uses a unique architecture and a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus to achieve high speeds, low costs, and high scaling of up to one million transactions per second. EOS’ technical capacity is currently on another level than almost every other blockchain project. EOS plans for a June 2018 release. For a project yet to complete a working product, EOS has achieved a remarkable amount of hype and valuation in the cryptocurrency market. This year, EOS has staked out a top ten spot in the cryptocurrency market and shows no sign of slowing down.

NEM (XEM)

NEM provides powerful performance and high versatility for application development. Its vast application potential includes: financial payments, cryptocurrencies, mobile payments, equity markets, escrow services, liquid assets, payment apps, automatic accounting, customer information databases, loyalty reward points, shipping and inspections, supply chain management, encrypted messaging, authentication and notarization, anti-counterfeiting, certificate issuance, corporate compliance, land registry, access control, voting, crowdfunding, stock ownership, and ICOs.

NEM runs on a unique Proof of Importance (POI) consensus, developed specifically for NEM’s network. POI is a unique algorithm that uses network theory to assign a rating of each account’s importance in the network. This essentially cuts down on power consumption compared to Proof of Work consensus (PoW) and provides greater incentives for network decentralization than Proof of Stake consensus (PoS) by rewarding users who make frequent important transactions with others in the network. With POI, users cannot manipulate the network by trading back and forth between a few accounts.

ICON (ICX)

ICON is a new and exciting project emerging from South Korea that released its mainnet 1.0 in late January 2018. ICON is creating a societal network of financial institutions, banks, insurance companies, hospitals, universities, and more. ICON’s goal to “hyperconnect the world” begins by heavily integrating its network into Korean society to drive its innovation as a benefit to the Korean public. ICON will also feature DEX, a decentralized exchange where communities can exchange valuable assets in real time through ICON’s network.

ICON uses a unique LFT (Loopchain Fault Tolerance) consensus algorithm to achieve high speeds, low fees, and low costs compared to many older projects. Unlike Ethereum (which currently limits smart contract development languages), ICON allows development of smart contracts on a platform called SCORE, which provides for contract source code in Python language, and will eventually support Java, and Go, among other coding languages. ICON’s future will continue to brighten this year as more partners and cryptocurrency exchanges continue to adopt ICON.

Qtum (QTUM)

Qtum is a blockchain project focused for business that is able to execute smart contracts and host decentralized applications. It combines a modified Bitcoin Core infrastructure with the Ethereum Virtual Machine to merge the reliability of Bitcoin’s blockchain with the possibility and functionality that smart contracts and dapps provide. Qtum also offers native support for mobile devices and IoT (Internet of Things) applications to further increase Qtum’s value and accessibility for businesses interested in using blockchain technology. Qtum aims to offer the potential for uses in supply chain management, telecommunications, IoT, social networking, and many more.

Lisk (LSK)

Lisk is a blockchain application platform with a focus on decentralization and accessibility. Since May 2016, Lisk has been working to release its Software Development Kit (SDK). The SDK is a JavaScript framework that will allow anyone to create and deploy their own custom-built blockchain networks next to Lisk’s main network.  Once deployed, anyone can then build decentralized applications on top of the custom-built blockchain network. The option to create your own blockchain network and subsequently build dapps on top of your own network provides endless possibilities for creative content without facing the challenges of developing your own consensus algorithms and peer-to-peer network protocols. Lisk handles the heavy lifting for you. Examples of creative projects include platform independent social networks, messengers, games, and more.

Other projects focusing on decentralized application development

As there are many other dapp blockchain projects, I will list a handful of them here and expand further on these projects in another article volume: Stratis (STRAT), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Steem (STEEM), Aeternity (AE), Ardor (ARDR), RChain (RHOC), Komodo (KMD), Dragonchain (DRGN), ARK (ARK), Credits (CS) and more.

4. Supply Chain Management

Many projects are leveraging blockchain technology to more effectively manage the chain of goods as they are manufactured, sold, distributed, and purchased through local and global economies. Supply chain management blockchain projects reduce costs in all stages of the supply chain while drawing on blockchain technology’s strengths to ensure the authenticity and quality of marketable goods.

VeChain (VEN)

Vechain is working towards building a self-circulating, scalable, distributed business ecosystem. They have successfully used blockchain technology to provide businesses supply chain solutions in the industries of luxury goods, liquor, agriculture, retail, automobiles, and logistics.

Liquor: Vechain uses a tracking and authentication platform for wine bottles. The platform collects data of wine during production and tracks it from distribution to retail.

Luxury Goods: Vechain creates unique digital IDs to ensure authenticity of luxury goods throughout all stages of the economic process. These IDs are used alongside VeChain’s automated smart contract enabled platform to monitor luxury goods operations during manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, distribution, retailing, and quality-checks. Finally, VeChain uses a universal mobile application that enables consumers to uniquely interact with luxury products and brands to validate authenticity and claim ownership.

Automobile: VeChain creates digital profiles for each automobile based on a unique ID to collect immutable and authentic data on automobiles throughout their lifetime. The platform allows car workshops to update the repair and maintenance status of the vehicles, and helps to facilitate transfers in ownership, insurance operations, and financing for automobiles.

Retail: VeChain allows products distributed through retail to maintain its brand, history, craftsmanship, and sustainable practices on VeChain’s platform to help educate customers on products and build brand loyalty.

Agriculture: VeChain tracks agricultural products to certify that they are environmentally friendly and organic. The platform uses IoT sensors and mobile devices to monitor climate and soil conditions under encrypted data that is accessible only with proper authorization. VeChain’s data collection process helps agriculture companies improve decisions, methods, quality, and quantity of crops to increase product margins while minimizing the negative impact of fertilizer and pesticides on the environment.

Logistics: VeChain installs smart sensors on transportation vehicles that are capable of monitoring temperature, humidity, and steadiness during the logistical process. Brands and consumers can easily check and trace transportation conditions, increasing brand credibility, and lowering operation costs for third-party logistics providers. VeChain’s logistical technology also helps logistics service providers manage goods at the granularity of single units, helping to innovate new logistics and business models that will reduce logistical costs.

Walton (WTC)

Waltonchain attempts to solve supply management problems in four phases.

Phase 1: Research and development of RFID beacon chip to work in accordance with IoT and blockchain technology in the clothing industry. The RFID chip will solve problems in storage, retail shops, after-sale and services while demonstrating Walton’s value for expansion into other industries.

Phase 2: Mass production of RFID beacon chip to be used in clothing, buyer-to-retail, and logistics industries. The process seeks to use its technology to link store pickup, pricing, order placing, packing and storage, sorting and distribution, store management, dispatching, customer signature, and customer assessment and feedback. The RFID beacon will build safe and reliable point-to-point logistics information for customers and businesses, helping to prevent loss, delay, and incorrect orders.

Phase 3: Manufacturers will achieve traceable customization of intelligent packaging. Walton’s blockchain structure will allow traceability, protect authenticity, and guarantee reliability based on RFID identity verification. The process will cover material purchasing, production, assembly operation, packaging and inventory management, and material source and production quality verification. Walton will also provide low-cost data information solutions to help achieve intelligent product management.

Phase 4: Walton will upgrade asset information collection hardware and upgrade block chain data structure so any assets can be registered in Waltonchain. Waltonchain’s upgrades will help to further resolve problems in asset ownership, article traceability, and transaction receipts, in order to further increase production efficiency.

Ambrosus (AMB)

Ambrosus combines high-tech sensors, blockchain protocol, and smart contracts to build a global community-driven ecosystem that assures the quality, safety, and origins of products. Ambrosus will focus on improving life-essential food and medicine markets by controlling supply chain processes, quality, and tracing. They will use customized combinations of robust sensors, biosensors, and food tracers to assess and monitor products’ real-time physical attributes and surroundings of singular units. These sensors and tracers will be coupled with unique IDs that provide smart-tags and anti-tampering mechanisms.

Modum (MOD)

Modum combines IoT sensors with blockchain technology to provide data integrity for transactions of physical products, with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry. Modum offers a passive monitoring solution to streamline supply chain processors in many sectors. Modum’s sensors record environmental conditions of goods in transit, and verifies transactions of goods through smart contracts. The smart contracts instantly and securely validate that the product’s conditions meet all of the requirements of the sender, their clients, or regulators, and triggers potential actions that will notify senders and receivers, initiate payments, and release goods.

5. Financial Services and Payment Protocols

Cryptocurrencies have innate value in providing a platform for financial services and payment protocols. They allow users to directly and instantly transfer money between two parties with relatively low costs. Traditionally, large-scale, global financial transactions and services were impossible without intermediary banking systems or financial institutions. These banks and institutions charge high fees for transactions and often require wait times before funds became available for use. Cryptocurrencies solve many problems that banks and financial institutions could not by providing direct, instant, secure, and low-cost financial services.

Ripple (XRP)

Ripple initially released in 2012 and has continued improving its code and network since its inception. Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges, and corporations through its “RippleNet” blockchain to provide easy and instant global money transfers. RippleNet transfers also allow for real-time traceability of funds on its network, while maintaining low operational and liquidity costs. Ripple offers services to banks, payment providers, and businesses to process global payments for customers, source on-demand liquidity, and send payments. RippleNet transactions make up about 89% of transactions between Ripple and its partners. The other 11% uses Ripple’s cryptocurrency, XRP.

Ripple users can use XRP as a way for institutions to send funds across borders without paying foreign exchange rates. Institutions can use any currency to purchase XRP, and instantly send the XRP to other institutions anywhere in the world in about 4 seconds. XRP is also traded publicly as a cryptocurrency on exchanges, and currently retains the third highest cryptocurrency market capitalization behind Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Ripple is partnered with many of the world’s largest financial institutions and banks. Among these partners are many multi-billion dollar institutions such as: American Express, Yes Bank, CGI Group, Lian Lian International, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, National Australia Bank, UBS, among many, many more.

Stellar Lumens (XLM)

Stellar Lumens was created by one of Ripple’s co-founders, Jed McCaleb, and academic super-hero, Joyce Kim, as an open-source decentralized protocol for exchanging money. Stellar is a non-profit organization with similar functionality to Ripple’s XRP, yet a much different focus. Stellar focuses first on creating a secure decentralized network. Next, Stellar aims to expand access to low-cost financial services to fight poverty and maximize individual potential throughout global society. Stellar also offers a platform for instant and low-cost financial transactions without third-party interference, allowing its users to send and receive any currency throughout the world without paying exchange rates.

Several businesses, banks, financial institutions, and nonprofit organizations have partnered with Stellar to use its network to implement financial infrastructure in both the developed and developing world. In October 2017, Stellar and IBM announced a partnership with the goal of improving the speed, cost, and accuracy of banks settling and clearing payments. Stellar Lumens rose quickly to popularity in late 2017 and early 2018, and has recently solidified itself a top ten spot in the cryptocurrency market.

OmiseGO (OMG)

OmiseGO is a decentralized financial technology that enables instant peer-to-peer financial exchanges and payment services across global jurisdictions and organizational structures, to be used with both fiat money and numerous decentralized currencies. OmiseGO attempts to solve fundamental coordination problems amongst payment processors, gateways, and financial institutions. They will support a decentralized exchange on Ethereum’s blockchain to enable high volume and low cost value transfer services that operate across currencies and asset types.

Anyone will be able to use OmiseGO’s decentralized and inexpensive product for financial transactions such as payments, remittances, payroll deposit, buyer-to-buyer commerce, supply-chain finance, loyalty programs, asset management and trading, among other services. Furthermore, it will facilitate mainstream economies to begin transitioning from fiat money to decentralized currencies, if they so choose.

Populous (PPT)

Populous provides invoice financing services through the security and transparency of blockchain technology.

For Sellers: Populous allows businesses to receive immediate funding from invoices waiting to be settled by customers so users can obtain faster payments in order to maintain and expand businesses more efficiently. Populous confirms funding decisions within minutes and provides access to funds within 24 hours. Users can directly buy and sell invoices through auctions, without using third parties. Populous uses an internal token stabilized through global currencies to initiate transactions.

For Buyers: Populous enables invoice buyers from around to the world to participate in the global invoice marketplace without investment limits or intermediaries. Invoice buyers can compete to buy invoices with interest rates. Successful bids will collect both principal and interest when the invoice is settled by the invoice seller. Buyers maintain low risks due to Populous’ uses of XBRL data and Altman Z-Score formulas that analyze business information and credit of borrowers.

Request Network (REQ)

Request Network is currently in development as a global payment service for individuals and businesses that will allow anyone, anywhere to request and send payments.

Online payments: Request Network seeks to disrupt current third-party payment services like PayPal and credit card companies by using blockchain technology to remove third-party interference for processing of payments. Payment requests are saved on Ethereum’s blockchain network that maintains authenticity and initiates instant smart contracts, preventing payment fraud. Furthermore, payments will be less expensive with Request Network, as third parties will not take commissions for payments.

Invoicing: Request Network will feature invoicing capabilities for its users to create and share invoices on its immutable ledger. These invoices allow for accounting in real time, advanced payment conditions such as late fees, down payments, escrow, and taxes. Request Network will also remove third parties from taking commissions for services.

Request further plans to provide services for auditing, accounting, IoT transactions, and budget transparency for governments and NGOs.

Wanchain (WAN)

Wanchain aims to build a decentralized banking infrastructure for use with digital assets. Wanchain uses a distributed ledger capable of recording cross-chain and intra-chain transactions, allowing for storage and management of large volumes of digital assets. Any blockchain network, public or private, can integrate with Wanchain to connect between different ledgers to perform low cost inter-ledger asset transfers. Wanchain not only supports smart contract platforms, but also integrates a privacy protection system for digital asset exchanges.

Wanchain will increase access to financial services in the digital marketplace. Any institution or individual can use Wanchain to set up their own virtual “bank account” and provide services such as loan origination, asset exchanges, credit payments, and transaction settlements, all with digital assets. Wanchain is currently engaging in its post-ICO tokenswap, and plans to release on exchanges within the next couple months.

6. Blockchain Scalability, Security, and Privacy

Certain projects will solve issues that blockchain encounters in scalability, security, and privacy. Currently, many blockchain platforms are facing problems with scaling as adoption and use becomes more widespread. Some projects have created solutions to increase the scale and efficiency of older blockchain platforms that were not initially built to sustain a rapid flood of mass adoption. Other projects are creating solutions to maintain the security and integrity of smart contract systems. And others seek to provide privacy and secrecy to the use of smart contracts, protecting user identity and furthering options for blockchain’s potential uses.

Aion (AION)

Aion is a multi-tier blockchain system designed to address blockchain network scalability, privacy, and interoperability. Aion works by seamlessly integrating into blockchain systems in a “hub-and-spoke” model to provide its solutions. It facilitates inter-blockchain communication, allowing for seamless data and value to transfer between the chains. It also facilitates scalability and performance of blockchain systems by using a high-performance virtual machine that enables applications to operate across multiple chains. Finally, Aion operates with custom blockchain designs containing different consensus algorithms and virtual machines without sacrificing interoperability between blockchains. The Aion network will help blockchain networks both scale and communicate with each other.

Aion is part of the Blockchain Interoperability Alliance alongside ICON and Wanchain, to facilitate blockchain communication and collaboration. Aion also maintains a partnership with Enigma, with the goal of expanding blockchain scalability while preserving privacy.

Enigma (ENG)

Enigma is a project created by a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates and researchers that aims to solve issues with blockchain scalability and privacy. The Enigma protocol operates as a second-layer, off-chain network that helps blockchain networks maintain scalable decentralized systems while preserving smart contract privacy. Enigma is also working to create a decentralized network of data computation and exchange to help analyze and innovate blockchain technology in the cryptocurrency market.

Scalability and Security: Enigma seeks to solve scalability and security issues that prevent expensive and sensitive data from being stored on blockchain networks, causing the need for most data to be stored off-chain in centralized databases. Enigma’s goal is to enable truly decentralized applications to inexpensively store information without the vulnerabilities of centralized applications.

Secret Contracts: Enigma will also allow smart contracts to become secret contracts. Currently, most smart contracts are stored publicly on blockchain networks, hindering privacy of smart contract execution. Enigma nodes will not see data they compute over, yet will publicly prove that they run a computation correctly, thus enabling secret smart contracts. The underlying data processed in the contract will remain encrypted at all times.

Data Marketplace: The first major application impacted by the Engima protocol is Enigma’s decentralized, open, secure data-marketplace. The Enigma Data Marketplace will serve Catalyst, Engima’s professional platform for data-driven crypto-asset trading and investment. Crypto traders, investors, data curators, and contributors will be able to participate in Enigma’s data marketplace to further drive analysis and innovation in the cryptocurrency market.

Quantumstamp (QSP)

Quantumstamp is a direct solution to hacking attempts that were successful in stealing millions of dollars of Ethereum coins due to bugs in the smart contract code. Quantumstamp’s protocol enables a scalable and cost-effective system to audit all smart contracts on Ethereum’s network, with the long-term goal being for Quantumstamp to perform security audits on every Ethereum smart contract. The protocol operates in two parts: 1) an automated and upgradeable software verification system that checks Solidity programs in order to catch increasingly sophisticated attacks over time, and; 2) An automated bounty payout system that rewards people for finding errors in smart contracts. The payout system will bridge gaps in Quantumstamp’s protocol as the system moves towards full automation.

7. Entertainment

Blockchain projects and cryptocurrency are beginning to enter the entertainment industry. The uses for cryptocurrency and blockchain in entertainment are wide and versatile. Many projects provide platforms for user-created content to excel in virtual economies.

Tron (TRX)

Tron is developing a decentralized content entertainment protocol based on blockchain technology. Its goal is to create a global, free content entertainment system on a blockchain network. Tron would allow users to freely publish, store, and own their own data. Tron is currently the most hyped and highest capitalized entertainment-based cryptocurrency. Its founder, Justin Sun has achieved great notoriety within the cryptocurrency world. He is often a figure of both great reverence and great controversy. Tron has been accused of plagiarizing its whitepaper, and Justin Sun has been accused by the cryptocurrency community of selling hundreds of millions of dollars of TRX after dishonestly generating intense hype around the project to drive up its value. The ideas and ambitions of Tron will be incredible if realized, but the project has recently been flooded by doubt and uncertainty by Tron’s questionable actions.

FunFair (FUN)

FunFair uses Ethereum’s blockchain technology to create an online casino industry. FunFair allows anyone, anywhere to run their own casino by simplifying casino setup and reducing operating costs. FunFair also offers high transparency and player protections that will help unlock global gaming potential. FunFair brings casino operators, game developers, and players together in an open, efficient, and entertaining way.

Po.et (POE)

Po.et provides a decentralized and secure platform to register creative works through blockchain. The platform provides a verifiable and immutable network for content creators to publish their work with timestamped titles to preserve and register creative works. Po.et builds a bridge between creators and publishers in a space traditionally controlled by third parties. Users can discover new content and verify authenticity of existing content through its system of attribution. Po.et also gives both publishers and content creators tools to automate creative licensing processes without relying on third parties. Users can choose from preexisting licenses, or create their own terms and automate payments, transfers, and issuances of licenses.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

1 DOGE = 1 DOGE. Dogecoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency, favored by Shiba Inus across the world. Dogecoin leverages the popular Doge meme and injects it into a cryptocurrency. Dogecoin’s popularity has soard since its release in 2013. Many fear an impending crash and devaluation of the cryptocurrency market, but what they fail to realize is that 1 DOGE always equals 1 DOGE.

Enjin (ENJ)

Enjin acts as a cryptocurrency and smart contract platform that gives game developers, content creators, and the gaming community tools for implementing and managing virtual goods with a value-backed cryptocurrency. Enjin is developing its own framework to use open-source software development kits (SDKs), wallets, game plugins, virtual item management apps, and a payment gateway platform for use within video game community. This project can transform gaming experiences by creating value for virtual assets in online games, allowing gamers to trade value-backed digital assets from game to game, and community to community. Enjin provides a solution to virtual item purchases rampant with fraud and high transaction fees.

Enjin is also upgrading their Minecraft plugin that will link players’ Minecraft accounts with their Enjin wallet, allowing players to transfer items for tokens, or transfer and receive items to any player using Enjin’s game servers. The current Enjin Minecraft plugin has over 5.2 million downloads since its release in 2012, and plans to release its Enjin coin backed version to thousands of Minecraft servers and millions of players in early 2018.

SingularDTV (SNGLS)

SingularDTV is a blockchain entertainment studio laying the foundation for a decentralized entertainment industry that allows content creators to retain full control of their work. SingularDTV allows for rights management, project funding, and peer-to-peer distribution of content. Its platform gives artists and creators powerful tools to manage projects from development stages to distribution. Music producer Gramatik, actor Joe Morton, and director Kushnuda Shukurova are featured content creators on SingularDTV.

Gifto (GTO)

Gifto is a decentralized universal gifting protocol to be used initially for the streaming service, Uplive. Uplive generated $100 million USD revenue in 2017 through its virtual gifting platform, and plans to allow users to send and receive customized virtual gifts that will be backed by real value GIFTO tokens stored on a decentralized blockchain network. Viewers and content creators can send and receive GIFTO tokens as a way to support content creators and fans. Gifto can be used to send and receive GIFTO tokens on any social media platform, including YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Gifto plans to release its fully functional virtual gifting platform by Q3 2018.

8. Advertising

Online advertising is quickly becoming corrupted with disruptive and fraudulent ads, privacy violations due to web-trackers, ad-blockers, and greedy third parties that strain ad industry revenues. Some projects aim to use the transparency and security of blockchain technology to solve the issues in online advertising to create more efficient and trustworthy advertising services, thus reducing advertising costs, protecting user privacy, increasing user enjoyment of ads, and allowing advertisers to generate more revenue and clearer data.

Basic Attention Token (BAT)

Basic Attention Token was founded by the creator of JavaScript, and the co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox. Basic Attention Token uses Ethereum’s blockchain network to radically improve the efficiency of digital advertising by using BAT tokens that can be exchanged between publishers, advertisers, and users. The BAT token can be used to obtain a variety of advertising and attention-based services on its Brave platform. Basic Attention Token focuses on solving advertising industry problems by removing third parties and trackers, and reducing fraud.

BAT will help reduce users’ mobile data used for ads and trackers, which can cost up to 50% of a user’s data and as much as $23 a month. It will reduce advertisement load times, help prevent phone battery life drain from ads, protect privacy by removing trackers, and work to prevent the proliferation of malware.

BAT will help to revitalize the advertising industry by protecting publishers. Social media sites often take a large majority of ad revenue while hundreds of millions of internet users run ad-blockers, and bots commit unchecked advertisement fraud, causing a negative strain on the industry.

BAT introduces the Brave web-browser. It is a fast, open sourced, and privacy focused browser that blocks malvertisements, trackers, and contains a ledger system that anonymously captures user attention to accurately reward ad publishers. The BAT token can be used to obtain advertising and attention based services on the Brave platform through exchanges between publishers, advertisers, and users. The token’s utility is derived from user attention focused in this case on advertisements.

Users who opt in to the Brave browser’s advertising system receive fewer, but better targeted ads that are less prone to malware while publishers receive more revenue from reduced third party interference and fraud. Advertisers will also be able to receive better data on ad spending, which will helps to more effectively promote their products.

AdEx (ADX)

AdEx is a blockchain-based advertisement agency that aims to disrupt the existing advertising landscape by solving advertising fraud and privacy issues in the online advertising industry. The AdEx network uses a smart contract ad exchange built with Ethereum’s network. The ad exchange facilitates relationships between publishers, advertisers, and end users, which will replace the usual network of multiple exchanges, supply-side platforms (SSPs), demand-side platforms (DSPs), and all the complexity, inaccuracy, and inefficiency that comes with it. Along with the ad exchange, AdEx is building dapps for publishers, advertisers, and end users. These dapps will be browser based apps accessible online and hosted by AdEx. AdEx plans to release its beta version in February 2018.

End of volume 1.

This concludes volume 1 of Astral Crypto’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain uses article. Thanks for reading. If you would like to request a specific use case or project for us to review in our next volume, please contact us with your request. If you would like updates on our latest articles and the ability to participate in our growing community, please register here, or follow us on Twitter. And if you like our content, please consider supporting us.

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About Max Ambrose

Founder of Astral Crypto.
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