Cryptocurrencies and blockchain have grabbed the headlines recently purely for the average person to make unthinkable money from doing nothing. Now, this has proved to be, at some points depending on your ability to buy and sell correctly to be true. There is an alternative to the technology other than simply making money. Outside of finance, there are a host of ways to change the world (genuinely) using cryptocurrency and some of them may surprise you as much as they excite you.
Overcoming electoral fraud
Most times we talk about Crypto we think in terms of Europe, developed Asian world and in fully developed, sophisticated societies but cryptocurrency can tackle the biggest issues in developing countries. Several startups are using blockchain technology to allow voting to be conducted by an app and could be further developed to erase corruption involving money.
“The blockchain is incorruptible; no one can modify or subvert how the votes are stored, and that’s vital for democracy,” said the co-founder of Democracy Earth, Santiago Siri.
Reducing corruption in the charity sector
Following closely on from that in the same vein is reducing non-profit corruption. The blockchain keeps companies and institutions accountable. The application would be to monitor payments at all stages, across all jurisdictions to avoid fund leaks. It gives the ability to be purely transparent in business practices and therefore helps uphold basic human rights. The World Food Programme (WFP) is already using it to distribute money to assist starving people in traditionally corrupt African countries.
If you are a green environmentalist you will be pleasantly surprised that modern-day technology can help keep the planet green too. For example, a project with people who have solar panels is able to use a phone app to sell environmental credits to those without power to reduce carbon use and emission and more clean energy transfer. Encouraging payment of clean energy sources using cryptocurrency across the board could really encourage more use.
As cryptocurrency becomes globalised more companies will be forced to give the consumer the option to pay in digital form. This has been the case in Kenya for many reasons with a partnership with Vodaphone. Cheapair.com is a travel agency which has been accepting bitcoin as payment since 2013 and that’s before you’ve even left your home for the airport. More retailers will be accepting more coins via phones and iPads in the not so distant future giving savings, security and safety in the process.
Digital publishing and advertising
In a bid to evolve and constantly be relevant to the consumer, agencies are developing methods of becoming more efficient. To try and improve irrelevant banner ads next to online content, a new model of pay-per-advert is being used whereby advertisers can pay for prime, electronic real estate next to a relevant, targeted article and at the same time gaining exposure to the correct demographic.
This technology uses a form of cryptocurrency to fuel engagement; both publishers and audience members can earn “engagement tokens” by commenting and publishing original content and advertisers will purchase these tokens to select their ad placements among relevant articles. At the same time, feedback and trackability of these campaigns are key. Track engagement and the viral spread of information, which gets online advertisers the information they need to know in order to see what works and what doesn’t.