Request for Blockchains (RFB)

Based on Y Combinator’s RFS (Request for Startups) I thought it would be interesting to create a similar list for blockchain based ideas.

This list is just a bunch of the things I’ve thought would be interesting to see built using blockchains (either new or on top of an existing ones). I wish I had the time and the ability to build all of them, but alas I do not. Hopefully someone else out there does!

I would love to hear thoughts and feedback on these ideas. It would also be interesting to see other people’s RFB ideas.

Here’s the list:

Anonymized DNA

One of the major issues with DNA today is that we know how to read DNA but still don’t know what it all means. To do much of anything useful with DNA data you need to have lots of it. This sounds like something the blockchain could help with.

Creating a blockchain that stored anonymized DNA data (for privacy reasons) could have a lot of potential. To incentivize participation, you could attach some sort of payment mechanism each time your personal DNA data was accessed.

Digital Residency

Just like how we have citizens of countries today, it would be interesting to start a “fully-digital country”. Similar to what Estonia is doing with their e-Residency program but not attached to any actual existing country’s government. We all live in a digital world today, so why not be a member of a digital country?

The services provided would be paid through a dedicated token, which would also give “citizens” a right to vote for services. Aragon is probably the closest I’ve seen to this but is more generalized for organizations, not specific. I think it’d be interesting to make a protocol specific to the needs of some group of people.

VR ecosystem

Similar to the idea around a digital residency, taking it a step further would be a completely digital world. VR is going to keep getting better and people will always be wanting to play in virtual worlds. What if you added an economic layer to a VR world that actually had real-life impact? I think that’d be pretty cool. Think Second Life with bitcoin.

Decentralized ISP

Combine mesh networking with a blockchain to incentivize participation. In the same way Bitcoin runs as a network with no middle man controlling it, so should our internet service. The internet is just all of our computers connected with one other anyway.

Every device you own could download a “wallet” to both manage the mesh networking and payments for usage. I’ve heard lots of people talk about doing this but no great implementations yet. Seems like this one is a perfect use for blockchains.

Credit instruments

One of the key missing pieces of the financial world in the crypto world is credit. Yes, it can be argued crypto was created because of the failure of credit markets but if we’re being honest with each other, if crypto works credit instruments will be created and needed. Plus they actually have a great purpose, just because people act poorly doesn’t mean the concept itself is bad. Another great use of blockchains since you can better control incentive structures.

This could unlock a lot of interesting services and features on top of it. If you need to get a line of credit (no matter how large or small) you should be able to assuming you can find someone else willing to put up the risk for some reward.

Decentralized Fantasy Sports

I’ve played my fair share of fantasy sports over the years and the two issues that always come up every year is 1) which service do we use this year and 2) how do we deal with collecting league fees and deciding on winner’s rewards. These seem like perfect problems that can be addressed with the blockchain.

I’d envision it’d be something similar to Augur where the protocol is open and anyone can build a service or app on top of it, which makes it available globally but also easy to deal with basic transactions too. It’d be more complicated how to engrain the rules into a smart contract but would be really interesting to see it done IMHO.

Self-sustaining robots

This is an idea that stems from the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) one. While a lot of the features would be the same as a DAO, I think there would need to be extra ones as well. For example, what is required to happen when a robot need to be serviced? Who does it pay? How does it verify the service was done well? How does it find employment and get it? etc.

Self-sustaining manufacturing plants

A related idea would be a self-financing manufacturing plant. One where it was flexible enough to understand the demands of the market, manage its own financials, and update its own robots that work on the factory floor. Next level automation.

New governance models

This isn’t a single idea per se but I think this is an under-discussed topic in the crypto/blockchain world. Decentralized apps (Dapps) present a great opportunity to experiment with and use various forms of governance. Throughout human history, how many forms of governance has there been? Tens? Hundreds? Probably not more than that but Dapps present this unique opportunity where thousands, maybe millions, of different governance models can all be tried and used at the same time. There’s a lot to unpack here and I am in the process of writing more about it but it’s a really interesting topic in this space.

A truly decentralized organization

This might look like it’s a tried and tested idea but how many truly decentralized projects have there been in the crypto world? Bitcoin is one (which can be disputed) but pretty much everything else has been backed by some sort of foundation or company. They have intentions to eventually turn it over to the masses but that’s down the line and the way they go about it is still unclear in my opinion.

I understand why most projects start with a foundation or company at the core for funding and governance but it seems like there’s a way to make it work where there isn’t one. Combined with the above idea, I hope we see a truly decentralized app in the near future.