Taking the block chain out of Bitcoin and applying it to concepts beyond currency will be a key part of 2015. Their trustless, decentralized nature and future smart contracts provide more than just currency.
Today, block chains are the data structure core to decentralized cryptocurrencies. Block chains are bubbles of market-driven nascent economies and platforms of permissionless innovation.
Block chains, the concept, are even more important than the bitcoins they safeguard.
I’m a big believer that the Internet of Things will grow one very compelling use case – Paul Brody, IBM
For a glimpse at what the future may hold one need look no further than Ethereum. The crypto-savvy startup recently raised upwards of $18 million selling its cryptocurrency – ether. Ethereum is a next generation platform to build decentralized applications. Users interact entirely with software on a censorship-proof foundation – a block chain.
The Adept project launched by IBM’s Business Value Institute is working on a block chain project. Adept is taking the block chain out of bitcoin to wrangle the internet of things. In this application, block chains would be used as a communication medium between devices.
A home, for one example, could connect all of its smart devices to a block chain of its own. Smart light bulbs could publish energy usage, on/off time, whether or not someone was in the room using it, etc. Software running on top of the block chain would analyze the data, optimizing power usage.
Paul Brody, IBM’s Head of Mobile and Internet, said the project would be released open source on GitHub. The technology will be free. IBM plans to monetize the venture selling services that run atop the block chain, managing the devices that rely on it for communication. Announced last October, Adept is slated to debut at CES.
Bitcoin 2.0 is not taking the block chain out of Bitcoin. Projects like Ethereum , altcoins, and side chains build Bitcoin horizontally. All of them are running on top of the technology that Bitcoin brought to the forefront. All of them are demonstrations of what the technology can achieve.
Though the idea of applying block chains to concepts outside of finance continues to receive pushback in the community. It might be beneficial to step back for a moment and remember not long ago many of ourselves considered something like digital currency to be impossible.
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