I am a researcher and writer interested in new technologies that contribute to the social good.
However, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are only the first use case for blockchain technology. There are many more in development, with applications in sectors as varied as health care, artificial intelligence, travel, auto sales, waste management, and crowdfunding. Some of these uses are for individuals and some are for businesses.
There is still a long way to go before we are all using blockchain in our daily lives, but there are some already existing applications that bring us closer to this goal.
Below are three up and coming blockchain projects that already provide real-world value and have a substantial user-base.
Brave is a blockchain-powered web browser. In September 2018, Brave exceeded 10 million downloads from the Google Play Store. Currently, four million people use Brave each month and it has 26,000 content publishers.
Brave is appealing because it protects the data privacy of users. It prevents the unauthorized collection of personal information and stops unwanted ads from using up data and processing power. The company estimates the average mobile user pays as much as $23 a month in data charges to download ads and trackers. Brave blocks ads and trackers, so users don’t pay for them. Brave is also faster than other web browsers because it blocks these resource consuming intrusions.
Brave has its a native cryptocurrency, the Basic Attention Token (BAT). This means readers of Brave content can also reward publishers while they are browsing with BAT tokens, thus monetizing content for creators, not advertisers. Soon users will be able to opt-in to view adverts in return for rewards paid in the BAT cryptocurrency.
At this stage, to take advantage of blockchain technology you need to use decentralized applications (dApps). Dapps bridge blockchain and conventional technology allowing them to interact. Most dApps are built on the Ethereum blockchain. Though other blockchains like EOS and TRON are also seeing increasing dApp development. Given the uneven development of blockchain technology, its likely that dApps will grow in popularity in the short-term.
MetaMask is a browser add-on that lets users access Ethereum-based dApps. It has an integrated wallet too, so dApp token transactions can be done seamlessly. The wallet can track balances across multiple applications and platforms, integrate with hardware (“cold”) wallets, and help secure token transfers. A mobile version of MetaMask is planned for release in 2019.
PundiX is a blockchain startup that aims to use cryptocurrency to create a global cashless payment system. Its blockchain-enabled Point-of-Sale (XPoS) devices let shops, cafes and convenience stores sell cryptocurrency and accept cryptocurrency payments for goods and services. All a merchant has to do it have an XPoS in their store. The device works with a simple mobile wallet (XWallet) that customers use to make payments in physical stores. It has a simple interface for buying and selling BTC, ETH, XEM, and QTUM. It also has a check-out menu to execute purchases with cryptocurrencies. With every transaction, the XPoS prints a receipt for the customer and tracks orders and inventory for the store owner.
PundiX delivered its first 500 units in late June 2018 to participating businesses located in Hong Kong. In June, it was also announced that UTRUST, one of the world’s digital payment platforms, had signed a deal for 1000 Pundi XPoS units. The deal with UTRUST takes the number of units of Pundi X technology that have been ordered for use by clients in global retail to over 25,000, which is 25% of the company’s three-year sales target of 100,000 XPoS devices delivered to at least 12 different countries.
The PundiX devices interact with two blockchains — Ethereum and NEM (XEM). Nem was chosen because it is popular with Asian financial institutions, and its technology enables nearly instantaneous payments. The PundiX project builds on the success of Pundi-Pundi, which is already a popular (non-blockchain-based) cashless payment app in Indonesia that uses smartphones to make instant payments in retail and restaurant outlets.
I’m excited to see how these three quality projects fare in the coming months and years. Considering their large and growing user bases, I think each has great long term potential.
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