A Personal Digital Assets Manager — Blockchain Applications of Data Science Part 1

The Potential of Blockchain Technology

Unless you’ve been living with your head under a rock for the last 4 years, you will definitely have heard of Bitcoin. You would also have heard about the technology behind Bitcoin, Blockchain. Now cryptocurrencies are banned in most cases in India and China, but the Americas and Europe still use cryptocurrencies extensively. And in my opinion, Asia stands to lose a lot if blockchain is not adopted extensively everywhere. Because make no mistake about it — blockchain technology will change the world as we know it. Forever.

Blockchain is the technology powering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. To explain what blockchain is and what bitcoin is you can go through anyone of the articles below. Don’t worry these articles are carefully selected to be as interesting and fun to read as possible. (This also gives me space to add my own original ideas instead of copying or rewording existing articles — and I have plenty (of ideas)!

References to Understand Blockchain

For technical readers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain

For non-technical readers:

https://www.quora.com/Whats-Blockchain-in-a-plain-English

For the researchers:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5047482/

For those of you with no time and who like visual explanations:

http://graphics.reuters.com/TECHNOLOGY-BLOCKCHAIN/010070P11GN/index.html

In fact, that last link is so amazingly simple visual and clear that I recommend everyone read it. Just so that we’re on the same page.

Exciting Applications

Cut to the chase. A little confession here. I was asked to do this article nearly 16 days ago. Now I have some experience with blockchain before since having gone through it extensively as a research topic for my own blog. Then a remarkable idea hit me. An idea for a startup that could (in theory) become a multi-billion dollar enterprise. I spent a few days refining it, even going so far as to see if I could start this company with this area myself, until reality set in — I lacked the experience and the business skills.

No sooner had this realization struck me and the excitement cooled a little, another idea to improve blockchain struck me, and I promise to sketch out that idea as well. I am doing this for two reasons:

  • I am staunch support of the FOSS (free open source software movement and would like to be credited with the idea, and I am starting a free to use, open source project on GitHub — working on it, currently moving towards an alpha release as of now.
  • I believe in the power of technology to remove economic inequality. Now you may say that technology has evolved to the point that 4–5 monolithic companies dominate the entire world. But I believe that technology when used ethically has the potential to create more opportunities than it removes.
  • Blockchain has two major problems — energy consumption and resource consumption. But there are techniques that can alleviate both of these problems. We’ll deal with that as well in Part 2.
  • Finally, the vaunted hype about security for blockchain and cryptocurrencies is ridiculous when you think about it. For the sake of brevity, I will address the main security issues with blockchain in a separate article on Medium — (not here, since it has no relation to data science).

Application — A Personal Blockchain For Every Person On The Planet

In points (I assume you’ve gone through the graphical explanation of blockchain at least — if not you can review it here):

  • The trouble with end products of all types that are produced today is that there are so many intermediaries between the producer and the consumer that the producers receives a pittance compared to the end final price. It would be nice if we could track a product everywhere that it is used.
  • This is also applicable for books, music, articles, poems, pictures, any digital content of any sort. Currently Amazon and YouTube monopolize content distribution, the latter with a complete disregard for copyright and media ownership and payment. Suppose we had a tracking system that viewed every view of a video, and rewarded the original producer for it?
  • To emphasize the previous point, let us consider the case of Lindsey Stirling. Lindsey Stirling is a famous contemporary violinist who dances while playing. Her 118 video uploads have earned her 2,575,305,706 views, 2.5 billion approx, and her earnings from YouTube ads last month was 100K a month. Her net worth as on 10th April 2019 is 12 million USD (12,000,000).
  • But suppose Lindsey Stirling distributed her videos at a price of 1 USD every view. Her net worth would be 2.6 billion USD at the very least! She would be a multi-billionaire had this platform existed. It doesn’t — yet. And because it doesn’t exist she is 2.49 billion USD poorer!

Now everyone who knows blockchain technology will now realize this idea, the concept, and how blockchain can be used to overcome this problem — and its power. Disruptive power!

The Solution

The blockchain is a service that immutably assigns ownership.

The blockchain is also a database that stores every single transaction on a particular digitisable entity.

Finally, the Ethereum smart contract technology means that we can assign payments to go to every person on his own personal blockchain of all his digitisable goods.

This means we can build a world where producer pays a user-defined amount to every entity which created a particular digitisable product.

On this platform or website or marketplace, producers can adjust their prices and their payments and consumers can buy directly from them.

Everything can be tracked on the blockchain. Your own database of your own transactions can be used with smart contracts to pay the maximum possible fee to the most deserving person in the supply chain — fixed by each producer.

Hugely, Massively Disruptive

If you are interested or want to know more, you can leave a comment below with your email address. If you want to be a part of this new revolution and the new decentralised world — with all services provided free — please provide a comment below asking for my email ID with a statement of what and how you want to contribute to this endeavor. I promise to reply to every sincere query.

This is a fledgling project and a lot of work remains to be done. I will be writing articles and creating a team to work on this idea. Those of you who are interested please mail me at thomascherickal@gmail.com.

This will be an open source project and all services have to be offered free of cost. How do you go about making a profit from this? You don’t! The only way this can be fair to all players in countries like India is if it is specially designed to be applicable to anyone.

So this article gave a small glimpse into a world without intermediaries, corporations, money-making middlemen, and running purely on smart contracts. This is applicable to AI and data science since this technology will not reach anywhere significant without extensive use of AI and data science.

The more data that is available, the more analysis can be performed on it. And unless we have analysts who are running monitoring fraud detection systems fulltime on such a system, we might as well never build it — because blockchain data integrity cannot be hacked, but cryptocurrencies are hackable and have been hacked extensively since the beginning of Bitcoin.

As always, enjoy artificial intelligence! You are privileged to be at the forefront of humanity’s push into the new uncharted future. All the best!

This article was first published on the Dimensionless Technologies Blog at www.dimensionless.in/blog

Dimensionless Technologies is a premier data science training company with unique pedagogical methods that include live remote learning, GitHub portfolio mentoring and exemplary data science training from professional IITians (alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology — IIT).

Visit www.dimensionless.in for more.