Even though Ethereum may only be in its second stage of development, there are still quite a few real-world applications that are in use today. To put into perspective how Ethereum is inexorably fueling internet innovation, this list would be proof. It would certainly be prudent to highlight how it’s transforming our internet from Web 2.0 to the metamorphic Web 3.0, but to put it plainly, this technology is less avant-garde and more ‘here and now’.
Ether, the currency of Ethereum, is used to fuel functions within the network. Sure, it wasn’t originally intended to be a currency that would take over our current monetary structure, but it certainly has been a sufficient form of payment for those who accept it. Since Ether hit the markets, its value rose exponentially within the small time frame that it had been around. The hard fork knocked its value down a few pegs, splitting it into two different chains, but time will certainly quantify each of those chains’ value in the coming months.
Precious Metal Investments:
Many people believe in holding precious metal assets in case something devastating happens to our fiat currency system, or if hackers get into our bank accounts. Truth be told, the number of individuals that actually hold tangible currency is relatively small. Most consumers’ money is held in their bank accounts, which in all realness, are just strands of numbers and computer code allotting the amount of currency you actually own.
With the correctly executed hack, all the money we own could completely dissolve in the blink of an eye. This is why many investors decide to turn their wealth into precious metal assets. Digix Global, an asset-tokenization platform, has engineered a method for anyone to buy gold in tokenized form on the Ethereum blockchain. These tokens are cryptographically linked to and backed by, the Singaporean gold vault. Even if Digix Global were to dissolve, at any time, a person could redeem their tokens for physical gold. The best part, (and the most alluring trait of decentralized technology), is that there are no middle-men to barter or deal with in the process. That’s right. No brokers, banks, fees, or fractional reserves. It’s immediate, secure, and beneficial.
Swarm, a server-less hosting platform and distribution service created by Ethereum developer, Viktor Tron, aims to provide a sufficiently decentralized and redundant store of Ethereum’s public record. Decentralized web hosting is essentially everyone hosting a website at once. This means that there cannot be any DDoS attacks or censorship from any government or main entity (such as a company). This is, in essence, a censorship-free internet where anyone can engage in any activity they want, without the government shutting it down. Arcade City, a ride-sharing service located in Austin, Texas is one company utilizing the Swarm project.
Some people use the term “prediction markets” interchangeably with “gambling markets,” however, that’s just a misconception. The two are quite similar with only a thin veil separating their differences. Prediction markets offer speculators the chance to bet on a binary outcome of an event. Augur is a decentralized version of the prediction market space. Augur rewards users for correctly predicting the future of real-world events and has been touted as one of the most popular technologies to emerge out of the Ethereum sphere.
While this isn’t legally binding (yet) there have been a few couples that are putting their marriage on the blockchain. Couples are seeing this decentralized tool as something that’s outside the jurisdiction of government and religion. Those who love the idea of technology would flock to this opportunity because “what happens on the blockchain stays on the blockchain.”
High-value items like diamonds have never had a digital registry before, and paper trails are often misplaced or stolen. Therefore the risk of stealing diamonds and getting caught isn’t high for criminals, and no one knows where a diamond came from or if it was stolen. Everledger, a London startup, is utilizing the Ethereum blockchain to put digital fingerprints on diamonds, thus combating fraud. Everledger also allows industry professionals and law enforcement access to their distributed ledger and registry in case they need to check on the status of a diamond. In the case of loss, this digital fingerprint can also act as a way to return the diamond to its original owner. All of these tools were unavailable before Ethereum came along.
Concepts to Come:
There has been a lot of reflection about what Ethereum and the blockchain can do for financial markets, voting elections, and even in real estate. These concepts probably won’t even come to fruition until the third or fourth stages of Ethereum’s development, but it’s still not a far-fetched fairytale either. These are real-world, pertinent cases where innovators and pioneers are flocking to the technology because of its multitude of uses. People should keep in mind that this tech is still a raw and unfinished product. As the edges become sanded down and glazed to perfection, Ethereum will change the internet world with just a few simple clicks.