Here at Cleev.io, we are all in on blockchain technology and we are excited to push it to the masses with products that we build with our partners.
But what is blockchain and why do we think it is world-changing technology? The rabbit hole about this topic is really deep so we will only scratch the surface of it in this article.
We are early in this technological renaissance and everyone has just started to explore and play with this technology. But one thing that most people can agree on is blockchain's biggest unlock - digital ownership. Let’s explore what it means.
To put it simply, blockchain technology enables people to own things on the internet the same way they own them in the physical world. That means they can take them wherever they want and they can do whatever they want to do with them.
Is it really something new?
You may ask, what do you mean by owning things on the internet? I already own things on the internet. I have my money in a bank that I can access online, I have photos on my Instagram and I have my game characters in my World of Warcraft account.
Yes, you have access to those things but you are actually not the owner of those things. Your bank account is owned by the bank. They can decide anytime to freeze your bank account and you will lose access to it. Seems a little bit far-fetched? Not really, these things are happening in developing countries like Lebanon where people actually have to go rob the bank of their own money.
The same goes for Instagram. If you even unintentionally do something that Instagram perceives as breaking their policy, they can irreversibly delete your account without warning. It is maybe not a problem for you, but there are people whose businesses solely rely on this platform. Imagining losing your account and building your audience again. That can ruin someone.
And what about your World of Warcraft characters? You do own them, right? Technically yes, but they are still on private servers. You’ve put hours of gameplay into them but you cannot move them somewhere else or even sell them (legally). It is not like ownership in the real world where you can take your laptop from home to work or sell it on a secondary market.
But thanks to blockchain technology digital ownership is now possible. The first and most obvious use case is cryptocurrency.
Everyone heard about Bitcoin aka internet money. Bitcoin is stored on the blockchain. When we talk about blockchain, there are only a few things that you need to understand about it. To put it simply, blockchain is a ledger with a few key features.
Decentralization is the first of them. It means that data is not stored and owned by one single entity like Google or your bank but they are stored on many different servers. Because there are many of them, it is virtually impossible to shut this ledger down.
Blockchain is also permissionless so anyone with the internet can access it and nobody can forbid you from using it.
Another key feature of blockchain is that it is immutable. When a transaction is made on a blockchain, it is stored there forever and cannot be changed.
Those transactions are also transparent. Anyone can see all transactions that happened on a blockchain. It is a common misconception that cryptocurrencies are widely used for illegal activities. But the truth is that because of its transparency, it is not ideal for criminals at all.
Last but not least, today's blockchains are also programmable. Developers can create smart contracts and deploy them on a blockchain. Smart contracts are like regular contracts but they are executed automatically when certain conditions are met. This creates a trustless environment where you don't have to depend on a third party.
So now you learned how blockchain technology allows for digital ownership. But it does not end with cryptocurrencies. Thanks to NFTs (non-fungible tokens) there are many more use cases for digital ownership. NFTs boomed with art but nowadays they can represent anything from digital collectables like art and music, event tickets, membership access to even real houses or apps. They can be also used to build powerful loyalty programs to empower brands and customer relationships.
To sum this up, blockchain allows digital ownership in the same way as real-life ownership. You are the custodian of your digital assets and you are free to do anything with them. Blockchain is a ledger with key features like decentralization, lack of permissions, immutability, transparency and programmability.
The potential for blockchain technology is really huge because technology is open-source and free to use for everyone. It can be bent any way and its limit is only our imagination.