Despite the negative drone of legacy players, there’s little doubt that applications of blockchain technology are going to be a big deal. While the financial use cases for blockchain-based instruments — including digital currency and their progeny — are virtually limitless, it’s a mistake to think that the rabbit hole ends there. New non-financial blockchain use cases are popping up every day. To be fair, some are downright silly, but many are potential game changers.
Sales and marketing are not exempt from transformation via blockchain. If you are a veteran of the internet revolution, you’re well aware how quickly a staid marketplace can be transformed by technology. With the rate and scale of change constantly increasing, there’s no excuse for a marketing professional to miss the boat when it comes to blockchain technologies.
Here are five areas that could experience a significant impact from blockchain technology:
Contrary to their name, smart contracts are conceptually simple, but their implications are potentially huge. A smart contract is a bit of code that executes an action via blockchain. One obvious example is a payment transfer that occurs when a triggering condition is met. As the functionality of blockchain technologies grow and as cross-chain transactions become ubiquitous, the smart contract becomes significantly more potent. The enforcement mechanism of the contract is the decentralized, open and immutable nature of the blockchain itself. Given the historical assumption that agreements between individuals are impossible to enforce outside of a governmental or judicial framework, the potential impact of smart contracts is massive.
Identity Management And Authentication
There’s likely more active development in identity management and authentication than any other non-financial blockchain area. And with good reason — the drawbacks of storing sensitive personal data in a centralized database have been demonstrated repeatedly. The decentralization component is the blockchain’s winning application for identity management. There is no central point of weakness for hackers to target. An ancillary benefit for the individual is the granular control of their personal information. They’re in control of what information is given (or sold) and to whom. Widespread use of blockchain-based identity management will have implications for marketing, but the specifics are difficult to predict. There will likely be opportunities (obtaining demographic data directly from consumers) and challenges (credit card solicitations based on soft credit inquiries could be a thing of the past) as the end user is given greater control over information access.
There are several projects under development that could forever alter the business dynamic of media and eliminate low-quality information (i.e., fake news) in the process. The basic concept is the remix of online media distribution as a peer-to-peer-based platform. Writers would reach readers directly and be compensated based on their popularity and community reputation. Several projects are planning to disintermediate the buying and selling of advertising on the platform.
Advertising Sales And Inventory Management
The aforementioned media projects aren’t the only ones shaking up the digital advertising status quo. The most ambitious endeavor is the Basic Attention Token (BAT), which will not only measure user attention but serve targeted and more relevant ads in the process. The BAT will provide an exchange of value between publishers, advertisers and users based on the above metric. Advertisers get a more accurate assessment of engagement, publishers receive an ad inventory better suited to their audience and the end user gets more control over what ads they see. Other blockchain applications focus on the back end of the advertising industry by creating a peer-to-peer marketplace for inventory with payments enforced by smart contracts.
Travel is a necessity in any industry and the boom in remote work and virtual offices hasn’t changed that. Blockchain applications are on the drawing board targeting every aspect of the travel industry, both for transportation providers and consumers. Several startups are looking to refine proven business models for booking transportation, including Bee Token and Arcade City, which are offering decentralized blockchain-based versions of Airbnb and Uber respectively. Other projects target digital nomads by providing information on workspaces in cities around the world and giving these far-flung entrepreneurs a sense of community. Development is underway on platforms to track and aggregate frequent-flyer information while simultaneously providing a marketplace for the exchange of miles and rewards. Both airlines and consumers could benefit greatly from a blockchain-based platform for baggage management and real-time luggage tracking.
These examples barely scratch the surface of the work being done with blockchain-based technologies, let alone their potential. Blockchain isn’t just for finance anymore. All marketers can give themselves a professional edge by keeping up with the technology and its applications.
Images from DocumentaryTubes
Author: James Murphy
Five Non-Financial Blockchain Use Cases Marketers Need To Understand appeared first on Forbes