Ethereum, this is just the Beginning
In recent days, we saw Ether, the native token of the Ethereum network hitting new highs in volume, price and market capitalization, closing the gap between Bitcoin and driving speculation to what some call a “flippening” — a shift in attitude from Bitcoin to Ethereum. Here we take a look at the synergy Ethereum provides and attempt to convince you to explore Ethereum further.
Ethereum went live in July 2015, a mere 1.6 years since its genesis, led by founder Vitalik Buterin with the goal of building decentralized applications. Starting from an online public crowdsale, Ethereum had since grown to a market capitalization of $3.6b. Ether, the native token of the Ethereum network is used to pay for state changes on the blockchain. Ethereum enables smart contracts to exist on the blockchain, akin to an open Application Programming Interface (API) of sorts, allowing public interactions with smart contracts. This brings unprecedented flexibility and potential beyond just mere payments and value transactions. In fact, Ethereum is so much more complex that even the New York Times quoted it to be “complicated enough that even people who know it well have trouble describing it in plain English”.
To those who are new to Ethereum, the underlying technology running this system is the blockchain. The blockchain is like a permanent ledger that stores all the records of transactions that took place since the genesis. To interact with this, users can run a node by downloading all the blocks in this ledger. There is a group of miners performing proof of work to verify transactions and add them to the blockchain. Users performing transactions will need to pay a small fee in gas costs (ether) to the miners in order for their transactions to be verified and confirmed. People who are interested in more details can refer to the Ethereum whitepaper.
The Potential of Ethereum
Traders may be really happy to delve into another crypto-token (ether) and take more profits. And indeed this is one good opportunity as with all other currencies. But lets not lose ourselves just yet. Beyond just another trading instrument, ether is a means to run many services on the Ethereum blockchain, like fuel for energy. Smart contracts when deployed can provide many different use cases. Even as we write, we are already seeing many decentralized applications making use of smart contracts to provide a myriad of services on Ethereum. Below is just a small non exhaustive list of examples.
AKASHA is a next-generation social media network creating a planetary-scale information network immune to censorship by design, where your thoughts and ideas will echo throughout humanity’s existence.
Attores is a Smart Contracts as a Service platform. We make it easy for you to write, submit and execute Smart Contracts on the blockchain.
Augur combines the magic of prediction markets with the power of a decentralized network to create a stunningly accurate forecasting tool — and the chance for real money trading profits.
Balanc3 is a smart contract powered Triple-Entry Accounting system. Balanc3 uses the non-repudiability and comprehensive audibility of the blockchain to guarantee the integrity of accounting records.
BoardRoom is a next-generation organization governance apparatus that enables distributed decision-making on the blockchain. The platform has systems associated with the stages and organization of decision-making.
CodeTract provides a service for employees to receive their salary in Ethereum fiat money tokens and providing a seamless on-boarding experience onto Ethereum.
Decentralized Capital provides users with a secure, convenient way to bring Dollars, Euros, and other government backed currencies onto and off of the Ethereum network.
Digix is an asset-tokenisation platform built on Ethereum. They leverage the blockchain’s immutability, transparency and auditability by applying it to precious physical assets.
Edgeless is a Ethereum smart contract-based casino that offers a 0% house edge and solves the casino transparency question once and for all.
Ethereum Name Service offers a secure and decentralised way to address resources both on and off the blockchain using simple, human-readable names.
Etherisc is building decentralized insurance applications, making the purchase and sale of insurance more efficient, enable lower operational costs, provide greater transparency into the industry of insurance compared to traditional operations, and democratize access to reinsurance investments.
EtherLoan is a decentralized crowd-lending platform that enables financing transactions without middle-men, at very low cost and with a high security level, thus facilitating access to loans for developing economies and small loaners.
Etheroll is an Ethereum smart contract for placing bets on provably-fair dice game using Ether with no deposits or sign-ups.
Etherplay is a skill game platform where players compete for highscores while playing fun little games. Similar to arcade machines, players pay a small fee to enjoy some fun time. The twist is that you get some money back if your score is among the highest.
FirstBlood is a decentralized eSports gaming app that will allow individuals to test their skills and compete in 1v1 and team vs team matches for popular online games such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Gnosis is enabling complex predictions with an easy to use prediction market.
Golem is a global, open sourced, decentralized supercomputer that anyone can access. It’s made up of the combined power of user’s machines, from personal laptops to entire data centers.
hack.ether.camp is creating the ideal innovation environment for startups by utilizing blockchain technology for the release of a Virtual Accelerator.
Humaniq is developing a completely new banking experience by dissolving all the barriers of archaic banks such as the need to come to a branch, doing endless paperwork, dealing with hard-to-use, buggy mobile apps, and protecting data with hard-to-remember, complex passwords.
Iconomi enables the creation of your own Digital Asset Arrays™ (DAA) from a wide variety of digital assets. Manage them and compare your performance with others. Attract supporters and make your mark in the new distributed economy.
iEx aims to provide distributed applications running on the blockchain a scalable, secure and easy access to the services, the data-sets and the computing resources they need. This technology relies on the Ethereum smart contracts and allows building a virtual Cloud infrastructure that provides high-performance computing services on demand.
JAAK connects songs, films, and TV shows directly to the artists, producers, writers, and organisations that create, own and distribute them.
Lunyr is an Ethereum-based decentralized crowdsourced encyclopedia which rewards users with app tokens for peer-reviewing and contributing information. We aim to be the starting point of the internet for finding reliable, accurate information.
Maker is a decentralized autonomous organization on the Ethereum blockchain seeking to minimize the price volatility of its own stable token — the Dai — against the IMF’s international currency basket SDR.
Matchpool will allow individuals to create “pools” based on particular interests. These pools aim to facilitate connections among friends and niche communities and will come with a number of features including messaging and a digital currency wallet.
Melonport enables participants to set up, manage and invest in digital asset management strategies in an open, competitive and decentralized manner.
Monolith brings the Visa payments network to Ethereum. It represents a generational leap from traditional debit cards by putting the user back in control, offering an entire platform of features and setting the bar for security.
Project Oaken makes ‘ACORNs’, for each physical application within the real world. Our IoT blockchain platform design uses Nodejs to interact with the gpio of the machine where hardware can be monitored and controlled. Our secure hardware environment utilizes Secure Elements in each acorn to protect against external threats. Acorns each have a special purpose, but can be easily scaled and replicated for multiple applications.
raidEX is a decentralized exchange built on Ethereum and Raiden off-chain state channel technology that fixes the custodian issue but preserving high throughput and low latency.
Singulardtv is a blockchain entertainment studio, smart contract rights management platform and video on-demand portal.
Slock.it makes Airbnb apartments become fully automated. Smart objects can be rented on demand and unused vehicles get a new lease on life. We’re developing the future infrastructure of the sharing economy.
Status is a mobile Ethereum OS. Seamlessly interact with the emerging ecosystem of DApps, wave goodbye to central intermediaries, and take control of your data.
uPort is an open source software project to establish a global, unified, sovereign identity system for people, businesses, organizations, devices, and bots.
Ujo is a new shared infrastructure for the creative industries that returns more value to content creators and their customers. Their open platform uses blockchain technology to create a transparent and decentralised database of rights and rights owners and automates royalty payments using smart contracts and cryptocurrency.
Weifund is making crowdfunding user-friendly, thoroughly-tested, and interoperable. It is an open platform for crowdfunding campaigns.
WeTrust is a collaborative savings, lending and insurance platform that is autonomous, agnostic, frictionless, and decentralized.
Winsome is leading the gambling revolution powered by Ethereum through dapps that provides a full user experience to our players with a graphical interface, 3D and very fast play times.
Since they all live on Ethereum, they are able to interact with each other easily, creating synergy and building an ecosystem of applications.
Evidently, Ethereum has the vast potential to reach many parts of society and not just the technically inclined and the domain experts. These mentioned Dapps are just the tip of the iceberg; many practical problems remained to be solved and Ethereum could be the answer. The advent of IoT could bring much convenience to users but also problems in the management and communication of these smart devices. There is yet to be an international standard for all devices plugged into a network to be communicating with each other, bringing about inefficiencies when owners want to build their own smart homes or even manufacturing processes. Ethereum has the potential to monitor and track all such devices and interact with others on the same network. It doesn’t stop here. Supply chain management had been a pain for many system integrators. Component and sub-component tracking is tough and companies spend millions each year to maintain a system just for database tracking. Ethereum might also just solve that.
With the launch of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, big corporations like British Petroleum, JP Morgan, Microsoft and Wipro have started to come on-board the Ethereum bandwagon. We can expect wider use of Ethereum in enterprises and better compliance with regulations. The list goes on.
Further developments by the Ethereum Foundation like Casper and Sharding allows for the scaling of the platform, ensuring sufficient capacity to manage future growth in users and transactions. Swarm, on the other hand, will enable decentralized cloud storage of files.
With this much potential in Ethereum, there is little reason why it can’t be the top platform of choice for services and applications. Why build another blockchain when we can just concentrate on building apps on Ethereum to provide services? However, a fine line stands between hype and growth. To the man in the street, there is still much uncertainty to enter into this vibrant eco-system. As with all developments, sustained growth and long term progress requires mass or mainstream adoption beyond speculation and trading. Hence, mainstream adoption of Ethereum by all, enterprises and individuals alike, should and must be the aim.
A Push and A Pull — Steps Towards Mainstream Adoption
It is important that Ethereum is developing as a holistic eco-system to sustain its own growth. Many initiatives and improvements in recent months to improve the user and dev experience had helped in attracting more participation in the Ethereum platform, both from other blockchains and people totally new to this industry. Many aspects are being worked on by the community, from making more stable clients, creating services distinct to Ethereum, creating payment options, creating proxies or substitutes of existing traditional services, to communicating with other chains. Yet it would be challenging to sustain this continual push without a pull to Ethereum.
We believe Ethereum is poised for mainstream adoption. Beyond building familiar mediums of exchange like US dollars and an easy platform for exchange like our Token Auction, it is also imperative to create a stable and recurring usage of these services — a pull factor. Salary satisfies these criteria as it is stable, recurring and is the source which spur other routine transactions such as expense on products and services to occur. Therefore, if the salary transaction occurs in Ethereum, it will increase the likelihood for subsequent transactions to be executed in Ethereum, pulling more people to use the platform.
We have set out to create a service in cooperation with employers such that employees have the option to receive their salary in USDCT, a US dollar backed Ethereum token. For existing Ethereum users, this will provide an avenue to reduce dependencies on centralized forms of exchanges. For many other users of this service, this will be their first contact with Ethereum and it is very important to leave them with a good impression consisting no less than a fully end to end mobile experience.
The initial targeted markets will be academia, startups, venture capital firms, tech companies, companies already experimenting with Ethereum and blockchain, followed by the wider community. This has the potential to dramatically increase mainstream adoption of Ethereum.
This indeed will be an exciting time for Ethereum. A beginning it shall be.