Blockchain tech first gained worldwide attention because it supported digital currencies. Digital currency supporters may have suffered some disappointment recently because crypto doesn’t appear poised to replace any major currencies in the near future.
At the same time, this idea of distributing processing, storage and security has sparked plenty of ideas for applications that may or may not have much to do with cryptocurrency or tokens. Some examples include applications for health care, finance, real estate and even the law.
Why Cryptocurrencies Are Only the Start
In more developed countries, these applications have to offer enough value to replace existing infrastructure and methods, though governments are beginning to look to blockchain benefits to save money. However, what about countries that don’t already have a working infrastructure in place? The real value of this technology may stem from ideas to use blockchain in developing countries.
How Blockchain Benefits Developing Countries
To better understand some crypto and blockchain benefits for struggling economies, consider a handful of current and proposed applications:
Track Sources of Supply
The Democratic Republic of Congo produces over half of the world’s cobalt, and the increasing demand for this mineral to make lithium batteries should help boost the poor nation’s prosperity. To help protect people and maximize value, developers are almost finished with a blockchain application that tracks cobalt to give buyers a guarantee that the mines did not use child labor. Cobalt with this guarantee should demand a higher price and assure both cobalt buyers and their customers that supply sources are ethical and legal.
In developed countries, land ownership has provided a common route to higher economic levels. This hinges on having a way to prove property ownership. Sadly, many developing countries don’t keep secure or reliable records. One recent example occurred in Haiti when the 2010 earthquake wiped out farm records in ruined municipal buildings. The World Economic Forum estimated the global loss to people who couldn’t resolve land disputes or buy or borrow against their land at USD $20 trillion. A secure, distributed blockchain application could efficiently resolve these problems.
Store Value and Trade
Of course, one of the best uses of blockchain for failing economies may still be to support a digital currency. In most countries, national banks and regulators cast wary looks at cryptocurrency. In Venezuela, a country plagued by hyperinflation, the government has turned the other direction to launch its own cryptocurrency bank with initial funding in Petro, the country’s national crypto. The government has mostly targeted students in order to interest them in future crypto development and support other initiatives.
Why Consider Blockchain Applications for Failing Economies?
In the U.S. and other developed countries, some people may want to improve or even have valid concerns about existing technical infrastructure. At the same time, most folks don’t really expect the dollar to crash or to lack legal proof that they just bought a house or business.
In struggling economies, people lack these assurances. The efficiencies and security of blockchain may offer developing countries the most value, so they may prove to be the real testing grounds of innovative applications.
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