All About Blockchain For Business And Cryptocurrency Offerings

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While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin get a lot of the publicity, the technology backing these currencies is even more important. While specific cryptocurrencies might not stand the test of time, blockchain tech is here to stay. 

The future of blockchain technology grows brighter by the day -- and it’s surprising people in every industry. Innovators across the globe continue developing blockchain use cases that leave people saying “how did they come up with that?” and “I wish I had that idea.” Here are several such blockchain uses aside from crypto, from ones that help people in their everyday lives to others that are, quite literally, out of this world. 

Blockchain Technology In Space 

In 2017 NASA awarded a $330,000 grant to Dr. Jin Wei Kocsis of the University of Akron. The purpose: Use blockchain technology “to monitor floating debris and send instructions ... to take evasive action.” An ambitious and applaudable goal. After all, The Guardian reports on the danger of floating debris in space, noting that for an astronaut -- “Being hit by a 'sugar-cube' of space debris is the equivalent of standing next to an exploding hand-grenade. And the problem is only getting worse.” Dr. Kocsis proposes to track all those deadly fragments by using the Ethereum blockchain. How exactly this will all work is yet to be shown by this true-to-life Rocket Scientist. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the usefulness of blockchain technology is not only global -- but will soon be extraterrestrial too. Great news for anyone planning on taking one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX ‘tourist flights’ up there. 

Theme Parks, Music Venues, And Ticketing On The Blockchain 

For those who have a more -- earthbound -- way of seeking their thrills, blockchain could permeate and be used in your favorite theme parks, concerts, and sporting events. Since tickets on a blockchain cannot be pirated or faked we can finally rest assured that the ticket we buy on eBay, Craigslist, or “from a friend of a friend who’s brother sister’s boyfriend can’t go now” -- is the real deal. After all, nothing worse than getting hyped up for your favorite show, or traveling a few hundred miles to a theme park, only to be denied entrance at the gate. 

The concept extends to theme parks and their fast pass systems. A fast pass, such as those sold by Universal Studios and Disney World, could benefit from Blockchain. Right now the fast passes simply let people get on rides. But by incorporating blockchain tech and smart contracts these fast passes can also allow ticket holders to discounts at in-park restaurants and souvenir shops. In fact, Disney began kicking around that idea back in 2017 by creating a blockchain called Dragonchain.

The Future Of Fantasy Football

Speaking of tickets and other such electronic items that should not be pirated: blockchain is now moving into the wide world of sports. The advent of ERC-721 tokens could see widespread fun. An ERC-721 is a type of smart contract token on the Ethereum Blockchain. It’s ‘Nonfungile’ -- which simply means that each token is completely unique. So now, for the first time, you could own an autographed LeBron James basketball card or Super Bowl ring … online. 

No one can copy it, pirate it, or damage it. You could own a mint-condition card and it will always be in mint condition. There’s already a company called Cryptostrikers who are pioneering the way. And here’s an even better kicker: Imagine playing Fantasy Football, creating a team of your favorite sports stars, owning their digital ERC-721 cards --- and then as the season progresses your cards will change. The stats of your players will change in real time along with how the actual athlete performs. Not only will your cards be even more secure than regular paper cards (because no one can pirate or destroy them) but they will also come alive -- changing and growing as the players themselves progress in real life. 

What's more, with cards like these on the blockchain you’ll always own them -- just like paper cards. This is thanks to blockchain’s decentralized nature. Traditional online card companies would go down and take all your cards with them. However, using the example of Cryptostrikers, they are developing on the Ethereum blockchain -- “This means that as long as you control a card in your digital wallet, nobody can take it away from you, no matter what happens to CryptoStrikers.” 

Safer And Faster Trips To Your Doctors

Moving from the world of thrills and spills, we take a look at blockchain’s more serious use cases. The medical records industry is stuck in the stone age. Papers get lost. Patients get misdiagnosed. One CNN reporter put it this way: “Lack of information kills people," she says. "Having your medical records can save your life." The blockchain is a technology that is immutable, trustless, and decentralized. This means that medical records stored on the blockchain would be easier to access while simultaneously becoming more secure. A Forbes article reported that blockchain would help in things ranging from personalized medicine to “reducing fraudulent billing, counterfeit drugs, and the medical supply chain.” Advances such as these, though more mundane perhaps, are just as incredible. 

Blockchain Vs The Zombie Title 

Many of us, if not all of us, dream to own our own place someday. Perhaps our own condo or apartment in the city or a nice home in the quiet suburbs. “A man’s house is his castle,” they say, but few realize what buying or selling a home entails... and that it could land them in jail. Buying and selling a home involves hefty sums of money. This requires a title. A title shows who owns the dwelling. And transferring it between the buyer and seller is and has always been a lengthy, arduous, costly process. And when that process breaks down or hits a snag -- serious ramifications ensue. According to a recent Reuters article -- if a title is improperly transferred it may become a “zombie title” -- a title that makes the previous owner of the home legally responsible for all taxes, repairs, even gardening costs. And for those homeowners caught in such a legal quagmire, the Reuters article goes on to point out that “In some cities, people with zombie titles can be sentenced to probation - with the threat of jail if they don’t bring their houses into compliance.” 

Blockchain Big Business

By contrast, if the titles were simply put on the blockchain then an immutable record could be kept of not only who owns the home when it was bought or sold, but also who accessed the records and when they did so. Such a process would streamline title transfers, reduce costs, and secure both buyers and sellers. Again, perhaps this use case is not as glamorous as astronauts battling space debris, but for the average Joe avoiding surprise bills and possible jail time is certainly an incredible thing. 

Fast Forward To The Future

The blockchain technology is shaking up every industry. It will continue to do so. From helping people purchase their dream home to saving them from counterfeit medicine to helping keep their tourist space suits free from exploding space debris -- blockchain is squarely in our future. Those select few people who see this bright future know that the time to prepare is now. Understanding blockchain technology will put you ahead of your friends and colleagues, and maybe will you be the one inventing the next incredible blockchain use case!

Classic Cryptocurrency Business Blockchain

So while there are countless other applications for blockchain technology besides crypto, the world of cryptocurrencies is growing in leaps and bounds. One of the biggest new trends in cryptocurrency is ICO's, or Initial Coin Offerings. But is it really the best option for companies and customers?

STO Vs ICO

The days of the initial token offering, or ICO, are over. They were something like a flash in a pan. The first one was held in July 2013 and since then ICOs have raised an astonishing $10 billion. But their time is done. Too many people think of ICO’s as scams, schemes, and the spawn of ‘shitcoins’. Yet companies still need to raise money. Energetic entrepreneurs still need funding. What to do, what to do. 

Enter The STO: Security Token Offering

Here is a way to raise money that has the potential to be safer, far more secure, and -- for the first time -- legally open to the big players: institutional investors. STO vs. ICO -- ding ding, fight! Briefly, in layman's terms, a security is generally anything that is an investment (i.e. you buy a thing only because you think it will go up or down in value). The thing doesn’t actually do anything by itself. Stocks and bonds are securities because those pieces of paper (or digital certificates) don’t actually do anything. 

The Death of the ICO 

ICO’s got around those security laws because they promised that the ‘coin’ they were building would do something -- and was therefore “not a security.” Additionally, these ICO issuers intentionally soft played their white papers and one-pagers. For example, a standard ICO sales contract does everything to avoid the word “investor” (using terms like “buyer” and “purchaser”). But let’s not butter the biscuit too hard here -- people who bought into ICO’s did so because they wanted to go ‘to the moon’ in a ‘lambo.’ In other words, they treated these coins as securities. Consequently, ICO’s filled up with scam artists, exit scammers, and general hogwash. Then, the SEC moved in and began shutting them down. China banned them. Various European countries began cracking down. Basically, all hell broke loose and ICO’s quickly lost steam -- some even vanished in a poof of smoke. Cryptocurrency in general may be canceled in some countries such as India.

The Birth of the STO 

STO’s propose to be completely different. 180 degrees, night and day, different. Instead of doing everything in their power to avoid rules, laws, and regulations -- they embrace it. After all, it’s in the name: Security Token Offering. 

Specifically, STO’s are trying to stick to and adopt the SEC guideline on securities which has been around for almost 100 years. This regulation has two levels: Tier 1 and Tier 2. The first allows for offering up $20 million in a 12 month period. The second increases the offering to $50 million. 

Both offerings require jumping through a few basic hoops: “company eligibility requirements, bad actor disqualification provisions, disclosure, and other matters. Additional requirements apply to Tier 2 offerings, including limitations on the amount of money a non-accredited investor may invest in a Tier 2 offering, requirements for audited financial statements and the filing of ongoing reports. “ 

The benefits of jumping through the hoops? The firm gains legitimacy, trust, and transparency -- three essentials which are sorely lacking in almost every ICO -- three essentials which have the potential to open the floodgates of institutional investor funds and even, quite possibly, mass adoption. 

Institutional Investors And Mass Adoption 

Here’s a bit of a bombshell to highlight the point: Coinbase, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the U.S., offered up its President and Chief Operating Officer Asiff Hirji, in a press briefing so that he could say: "Coinbase will soon be capable of offering blockchain-based securities, under the oversight of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)." 

This news from Coinbase shows where they are going. They acquired Keystone Capital, a financial services firm, just so they could speed up the process of becoming a fully regulated broker-dealer. In other words -- they are preparing for STO’s. They are ready. They are eager. 

And why not? With an STO, a company has a chance to offer exactly what they are intending: investments. No more beating around the bush or saying ‘buy our coin because it will do X, Y, and Z.’ No more selling hot air. Well, maybe they will be selling hot air but at least they’ll be upfront about it -- and at the very least if they don’t fulfill on their promises then they will be legally liable in court for it. 

Furthermore, an article at INC written by Darren Marble, states that: “STOs are an excellent option for companies looking to raise industry capital from individuals and institutional investors in a way that’s both fully compliant with securities laws and also allows for a highly tailored form of investment vehicle. For startups seeking capital, STOs are a viable and attractive option.” 

As more startups turn away from ICOs and into STOs, and thus lay the groundwork for what to do and how to do it, then more startups will pour in. And by adding existing regulation to coins and tokens, by jumping through the hoops of government regulation, by doing what it takes to become ‘legitimate security offerings’ -- these startups will build trust. And what is that trust worth? It’s worth the biggest prize of all: mass adoption. 

Tens of millions of people around the globe have not purchased Bitcoin, and most likely won’t. They’ve read the headlines calling crypto ‘a bubble about to pop.’ They’ve seen the TV reports of money laundering and criminal activity. They’re scared. 

Nevertheless, all these people want to retire comfortably someday. All these people want to park their hard earned money somewhere. Unfortunately when they hear the word ‘Bitcoin’ they first think about all the negative headlines. But when a big, established pension fund, hedge fund, or other rock-solid institutional investor is finally able to present them with a regulated, approved investment vehicle (an STO) -- these people may actually listen. 

STO -- It Stands For A Brighter Future 

Coinbase and myriad large players are preparing for the future of cryptocurrencies: the STO. Many budding new companies are doing the same. This combination of eagers startups creating projects and eager platforms seeking to represent these projects may lead to a bigger boom in financing than the ICO age. We must be prepared. But learning about STO’s -- and more specifically -- picking the right STO’s requires a bit of knowledge. If you’re new to cryptocurrencies, a good diving board would be reading this ‘Blockchain for Dummies’ guide to get a solid and necessary understanding of the blockchain technologies on which they are built. 

Crypto Conclusion

All in all, the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is bright. From Smart Contracts to STOs -- it’s time to learn about where our digital world is going so we can be there when it arrives. Make sure to visit our Cryptocurrency page to keep up to date on the latest new on Crypto, Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Forex.

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