While cryptocurrencies have been widely regarded as trading assets, when combined with blockchain they can offer groundbreaking uses in other industries such as personal finance, housing, and energy. Let’s take a look at a few examples of groundbreaking uses of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
For most people, the cost of bank-to-bank money transfers is usually governed by numerous factors like expensive transaction fees, uncompetitive exchange rates, along with the limits of geography. A recent World Bank study revealed that the average cost of a single bank transaction for private clients tends to be upwards of 5.5 percent of the transfer amount. Now, even though the nature of these money transfers has remained the same, companies like Ripple (XRP) are taking advantage of using their digital tokens to speed up the process while also reducing the costs. The California-based company created a $300-million fund which will pay companies to use XRP to transfer money across international borders.
While cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and litecoin have changed our perception of money, they have had impacts in less obvious areas like non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving and increasing voter participation in democracies. A group named Democracy Earth launched a new startup called Sovereign. This company uses blockchain technology to give its users additional flexibility in the way they cast their votes. They describe this practice as a type of “liquid democracy” as it allows voters to express their opinions on particular issues and the delegate their vote to the candidate they feel is best suited to decide on their behalf.
One of the most important socially conscious use of blockchain technology can be seen in the way cities are seeking to ease the services for the homeless populations. Through a $5 million grant awarded by the Mayor’s Challenge programme and sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Austin, Texas is in the process of piloting a new blockchain platform that will consolidate and verify the identity and additional vital records of each homeless person in the area. There are currently 2,000 homeless people in Austin with several thousand more in the various stages of access to unreliable housing.