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Cryptocurrency remains a hot commodity in 2018, especially as investors continue to back these digital coins or tokens. However, 2018 may evidence a shift toward the technology undergirding cryptocurrencies with blockchain.
Blockchain technology holds untapped power, and many investors crave to see what entrepreneurs will build with the technology. With the capability of improving a business function or inspiring a new product or service, here are seven ideas to get you started.
- Get outside the financial sector
Blockchain technology usually accompanies the financial sector, but could transform a number of industries, ranging from the Internet of Things (IoT) to healthcare or from the supply chain to arts and entertainment.
Jonathan Levi, blockchain expert and CEO of HACERA, explains the technology’s broad reach comes from its employment of “a secure and efficient way to ensure data integrity, transparency, immutability and fairness” across different types of transactions.
As an example, Egor Egerev, CEO of Crypto.tickets, uses blockchain technology to sell tickets, manage events and prevent fraud.
- Improve existing business functions
Greg Adams, proprietor and managing director of blokt.com, also says blockchain “can improve an existing business system.” Pursuing this idea can create a competitive advantage through more efficient accounting processes and solving potential customers’ challenges.
Greg exhibits two companies to prove the second point: PowerLedger, a P2P energy-trading platform, eliminates the middle man from renewable energy sales. And OriginTrail, another blockchain startup, provides a platform that seamlessly shares data along supply chains. Investors seem to like the startups’ solutions to everyday problems, awarding more than $22 million to OriginTrail and over $17 million to PowerLedger.
- Simplify capital raising
Ideas for new service models and products may be good for your business, but working capital for the concepts may be better. Fortunately, blockchain serves both aims.
Jeff Koyen, president of 360 Blockchain USA, says cryptocurrency offers an alternate solution to the traditional funding process. With cryptocurrency, startups can “raise working capital directly from investors via TGEs, or Token Generation Events. . . . Founders love TGEs because no one likes pitching VCs [venture capitalists]. Funds can be solicited directly from supporters and investors” and invested into your projects immediately.
- Attract new customers
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency could also expand your target market. Jeffrey Timms, who works as a support member for the cryptocurrency Private Instant Verified Transaction (PIVX), says the press often recognizes companies that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. And that press translates into sales.
According to Timms, when the media highlighted Trophy Pies, a small, family-owned business, for accepting PIVX, the store gained new customers. He also says, “Cryptocurrencies make it easier for entrepreneurs to accept payments globally,” which could reduce shopping cart abandonment.
- Boost your cybersecurity
There was a 40 percent increase in data breaches between 2015 and 2016, and in 2017, major companies like Equifax, HBO and Instagram experienced breaches that affected millions.
Fortunately, blockchain technology can be used to reduce your risk of a data breach.
ZDNet, for example, says blockchain could enhance cybersecurity efforts through “an infrastructure of transparency, event tracking, cryptography and the chance to improve security sensor and data sharing.”
Deloitte examines the technology from a different angle, employing the security triad of confidentiality, integrity and availability. The research firm concludes that, while blockchain remains in its early stages, it possesses “promising innovation” in solving cyber security challenges like “digital identities and . . . data integrity.”
- Protect personal privacy
Personal privacy serves as a complementary facet to cybersecurity. It’s an important consideration, particularly as consumers prefer to purchase from companies that safeguard their information.
It’s also important because of impending regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which features much more stringent privacy laws than the United States. Blockchain could solve for both elements by protecting consumers’ data in order to build transparency and trust between consumers and brands. SRAX offers a living sample of the idea with its BIG Platform, a blockchain platform that gives users the ability to own and sell their data to different entities.
- Solve global challenges
Finally, a few entrepreneurs like Enrique Martinez, CEO of WebCapitalists, are employing blockchain technology to rebuild countries devastated by natural disasters.
In his interview with Forbes, he shared how WebCapitalists created a market for electricity in Puerto Rico through solar panels, cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Once residents install the panels at their homes, they can not only reconnect to the power grid, but also sell unused electrical power to either the local hospital or their neighbors.
This list covers a few ways blockchain technology can help your startup, but the possibilities are vast. Now it’s up to you. How will you use blockchain to improve your company or develop a new business offering?