As far as disruptive technology trends go, Blockchain is up there at the top with artificial intelligence, surrounded by a great deal of excitement for future use cases. Consortiums comprised of some of the largest and most influential organisations on Earth are fully engaged in the implementation of the new technology, including Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and Accenture.
While widespread implementation may still be some years away, there are many big projects underway to test out the new technology. For example, IBM are working with the global shipping behemoth, Maersk, together aiming to revolutionise the complex and dated processes involved in the major industry. Many organisations are also looking to blockchain to bring about a paperless future.
The emergence of this exciting technology feels like a glimpse of the future, but where there is obviously great human innovation, there are also cases that raise eyebrows. In this list we are turning away briefly from the disruptive power of the technology, and instead taking a closer look at some of the more unusual use cases of blockchain.
We are wasting no time here by plunging you into the depths of blockchain peculiarity. Recently, Burger King launched its own cryptocurrency in Russia, and it is appropriately named Whopper Coin. The home of the Whopper plans to track customers via blockchain.
Plans are underway to introduce apps for both Android and Apple devices to save and track WhopperCoins. The scheme entitles a customer that spends money on a Whopper burger to claim a return in the virtual currency.
At the moment one unit of the currency can be claimed for every single rouble that the customer put towards ordering the fast food classic. At least 1,700 units are required before the customer can use it to claim yet another Whopper.
The logic behind this move is in taking a new approach to the loyalty systems, with current systems being considered linear in their lack of options for exchanging what the customer has spent time saving. With the WhopperCoin, the customer is not restricted to simply claiming the occasional burger, but potentially has the freedom to trade for a range of different currencies, or to use it in numerous different places.
While this immediately seems like an outrageous collision of worlds, this project could potentially be a step in the future disruption of the reward point system, making it an exciting benefit for people to pursue. Failing that, you could just settle for an extra Whopper every now and again.
Yes, you can have a blockchain wedding, and while for some this will not seem at all romantic or befitting the occasion symbolic of love, there are connotations of eternity, as details of your nuptials join a constantly moving, never ending chain of information.
David and Joyce Mondrus used blockchain in this way for the first time on October the 5th 2014, with the ceremony being held at Disney World’s Bitcoin Conference in Orlando, Florida. David Mondrus – serial entrepreneur, Bitnation advisor, and CEO of RedboxJewels.com, said: “We believe that like the block chain, our love and marriage are forever and that our relationship is not defined by governments or the church.”
While these symbolic ideas soften the idea of such a technological process taking place alongside an extremely important event in a person’s life, there are logical reasons why for some this could be sensible option when tying the knot.
Distributed ledger technology behind blockchain is set to be revolutionary in the creation of smart contracts, and at the core of marriage, is a contract. This could be useful in the signing of prenuptial agreements for example, simplifying a process that could result in future complications.
Like with the Whopper burger, this concept prompts a grin at first, but for many people this could prove extremely useful and efficient, and believe it or not, the idea is beginning to catch on.
Blockchain technology company Bitfury has created a prototype lightbulb that when screwed into place will mine bitcoin. Bitcoin mining is the process of completing maths problems in exchange for payment in bitcoin.
Bitcoin miners are useful because they approve transactions, and subsequently contribute to the overall security of the cryptocurrency. Active since 2015, the lightbulb from Bitfury works via a chip that connects the lightbulb to Wi-Fi, and another that is responsible for the process of mining bitcoin.
The lightbulb is useful in the same way as a human bitcoin miner, as it too approves transactions, and keeps up the flow and security of the currency. Part of the thinking behind the creation of this device is that it would help to influence people’s understanding of bitcoin, with the technology embedded within a physical object.
Bitnation is the world’s first Blockchain-powered jurisdiction, a virtual nation that aims to provide the same services as a traditional government.
Launched in 2014 by Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, Bitnation is a decentralised and borderless nation, offering everything from ID systems and insurance, to security – and anyone can join.
If you are so inclined, you can become a citizen of Bitnation by signing the world’s first virtual nation constitution called Pangea, with the nation’s equity now on the ethereum Blockchain as of 2016.
Blockchain allows those who are part of the virtual nation to simply sign in to access the constitution; this also taps into cryptocurrency, as cryptoequity can be purchased from well-known exchanges.
2015 was a big year for the cryptonation, having created the first land titles and the first birth certificate on the Blockchain. Also that year, Estonia partnered with Bitnation to create a blockchain based public notary solution allowing anyone from the world to digitally notarize documents on the Blockchain.
Just to top this one off, founder of the first Pirate Party, Rick Falkvinge, was one of the first people to join Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof.
Bitnation Space Agency
The Bitnation Space Agency intends to supply open source hardware and software to create the opportunity to engage in your own kind of space exploration. You might be thinking this process does not involve any actual exploration, but technologies involved include drones, rockets and balloons.
As the Agency states, its “purpose is to use available tools for people to use it for things such as broadcasting, blockchain node distribution, and more.”
A current project using a rocket is intended to achieve great new results by travelling in excess of 100km in altitude while maintaining a video feed, granting viewers a live experience in space. Bitnation is working in sync with SpaceChain.
SpaceChain is a space agency that is centred upon being open source, and the project has some exciting goals involving a mission to the moon by 2020. The plans go further than just a landing however, as it is intended that a rover will be deposited on the moon to conduct further exploration.