Blockchain: Ethiopia and Beyond
If you've come to be familiar with blockchain technology, chances are you know it in relation to the cryptocurrency trade. In our blog post 'Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Cryptocurrency in Ethiopia' we covered some of the basics: how blockchain technology works, how it's given rise to cryptocurrencies and related businesses, and so on.
Those concepts still comprise the bulk of what blockchain tech is known for. Over time, however, it's become increasingly clear that the blockchain is also going to serve purposes beyond the crypto markets.
Some would actually argue that there's virtually no end to the potential applications of blockchain technology. In terms of imminent, mainstream uses though, the following are some of the most noteworthy next steps for blockchain, both in Ethiopia and beyond.
Forex trading has been around for ages, and by some measures is actually the most popular form of trading (or at least the highest in volume) in the world.
A breakdown of the forex market by FXCM provides a lot of the basic details for those who aren't familiar, explaining what said market is and how one trades in it.
To sum it up though, forex trading is a means of leveraging currency values against one another. For instance, "buying" the ETB/USD pairing would mean you expect the ETB to increase in value relative to USD; "selling" the same pair would mean the inverse.
Where blockchain comes into play is in potentially starting to handle these transactions. Right now forex trading is primarily conducted through a whole population of online brokers.
Some forex companies are already experimenting with blockchain, however, such that the technology could soon become a secure, high-speed support system for the world's most liquid investment market.
Private Industry Blockchains
When we talk about the blockchain in private industry, we're not necessarily suggesting that companies or industries are creating their own cryptocurrencies to handle transactions.
Granted, that sort of practice may become more common in certain industries, such as travel (where tokens could be used across borders) or various corners of the entertainment world. Rather, though, we're talking about the use of blockchain technology to track goods and actions.
The clearest instance of this is in supply chain management. Because the blockchain is at its core a digital ledger meant to record information in an incorruptible way, it is increasingly viewed as a potentially ideal tool for tracking goods and affirming transactions across supply chains.
As a result, we could see all sorts of industries building their own blockchain networks to make their own operations more internally transparent.
Travel, Blockchain and Ethiopia
We just reference travel as one area in which we might actually see the creation of industry-specific, token-like cryptocurrencies.
However, the blockchain also has other, more practical applications in travel and tourism. Revfine examined blockchain in travel and explained some of those applications - most notably, the handling and sharing of traveler information.
Whether it's travel agents passing on customer details to airlines or hotels, airlines tracking passengers' baggage, or anything else similar, there is actually a great deal of private information changing hands.
In theory, the blockchain can make this process smoother and more secure, ensuring that information gets where it needs to go, but remains private.
With Ethiopia sometimes ranking among the most visited East African nations, this in particular is a blockchain concept we may be seeing close to home, in the local hospitality industry.
Lastly, digital ID is also expected to represent one of the next major frontiers in blockchain usage. Tech HQ looked into banks and how they are leading the charge in this regard.
As the piece stated, "Banks have a lot of skin in the Digital ID game - many are exploring various technologies (including blockchain) to create these systems."
Ultimately, through banking systems and elsewhere, many are expecting blockchain technology to give rise to a whole new form of identification. Some believe this could even give people more autonomy over where their information is shared in the digital world.
These applications and ideas don't tell the whole story of where the blockchain is headed. They should provide a clear indication, however, that the technology goes far beyond cryptocurrency. In the coming years, it may well come to impact our lives in all kinds of exciting ways.