“Blockchain has the power to further establish a sense of democracy and equality through its disruptive power” – Winfred K. Mandela
Even since the birth of cryptocurrency, businesses and transactions have taken a leap into the unknown mostly with success. Cryptocurrencies have eliminated the middleman such as the bank, energy retailers and governments and this facilitates and hastens things up quite a bit.
Transactions are now carried out more efficiently than before as we do not depend on intermediaries to perform all the business and transaction logic — from authentication, to identification of people, through to clearing and settling records.
Although intermediaries have meant well and done their jobs successfully, they tend to be centralised. This means that they can be hacked and could slow things down. It might effectively take days or even weeks, for money to be sent across a city via banks. Middlemen also tend to take a big chunk of the action i.e. commission just to send money to another country. Also, by capturing our data, our privacy is undermined.
As we enter a new era of technology, we find that times are changing rapidly and blockchain technology is taking centre stage in facilitating the creation of new business models which are more efficient and more compatible with our society.
Blockchain radically speeds up transactions while cutting costs by facilitating a trusted transfer of value without the involvement of traditional intermediaries. Blockchain technology is a means of sending money back and forth whilst eliminating the middle man. It is a means of exchange which is used by people to buy goods and services. It does not necessarily specify that money is essential in these transactions.
“Money is not coins and banknotes. Money is anything that people are willing to use in order to represent systematically the value of other things for the purpose of exchanging goods and services.” – Sapiens (2011) by Yuwal Noah Harari.
One of the problems which Bitcoin had to solve was that it had to make sure that when you send someone money, you were mathematically guaranteed that the money couldn’t be copied or used twice. This is the double spend problem which had to be solved so a virtual currency could be used online. The important part of creating a digital currency was so individuals could send money peer to peer, with minimum infrastructure, and no third party.
However, Blockchain does not necessarily mean Bitcoin. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology to work, but blockchain technology does not need bitcoin to function. Blockchain is distributed which means that the network has no single failure point. To take down Bitcoin you would need to destroy every single computer.
One of the most promising applications of blockchain technology in the electricity sector in the next five years, are expected to be in the areas of “peer-to-peer energy trading” and “electric vehicle charging and sharing”. Blockchain has enabled energy innovators to create a system whereby energy prosumers from the commercial sector or private homes can trade electricity without the interference of a central authority.
Moreover, with the continuous growth of electric vehicles, blockchain also promises to provide an adequate, publicly available charging infrastructure that tackles the “lack of range” challenge, by enabling individuals to make their private EV charging stations available for public use for a fee.