Blockchain Finds New Use Cases Beyond Crypto


In the great debate over cryptocurrencies — what they should be used for, whether they have a place in everyday commerce — there seems to be at least some consensus forming:

Namely, that blockchains, the public digital ledgers underpinning it all, have usefulness well beyond making crypto transactions (between buyers and sellers) possible.

In one example, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, Pyth is a new blockchain-based  service, developed by Jump Trading Group.

Generally speaking, as noted by the Journal, Jump is in the midst of providing free data in real time (after all, the speed of data delivery is critical) that is in turn fueling a number of crypto projects.

Pyth is backed by the Pyth Data Association, in turn backed by a number of financial firms trading huge volumes (measured in the billions of dollars) of assets. The data from some of their trading activities is being streamed onto Pyth’s network. That data, in turn, can be used by developers in the bid to forge applications that give rise to decentralized finance.

The idea (and practice) of using the ledgers to use, store and transmit data as the asset transmitted opens up a whole world beyond bitcoin, with which it has been long associated. In short, blockchain, at its arguable best, is a transparent way to improve record keeping.

At a high level, a blockchain allows for an exchange of agreed-upon value between several parties, with no intermediary in place — i.e., no broker, bank, platform or agent.

In recent years, we’ve seen the ways in which a real-time, transparent ledger can make all manner of interactions streamlined and speedier.

Examples abound, of course, particularly where smart contracts, which are electronic and self-execute, can help transform, say, the insurance industry, or health care or finance. Immutable data records are free from the threat of manipulation and thus do not need independent, third party verification.

India’s Blockchain Embrace 

To get a sense of the bifurcation between cryptos and blockchain, at least in some quarters, consider that, as noted in this space in recent weeks, India’s government will present a bill in the upcoming winter session of parliament that, among other things prohibit cryptos — with a notable exception of cryptos that help promote blockchain.

Read also: India’s Looming Crypto Ban May Limit Bitcoin to Emerging, Volatile Economies

Digging a bit deeper, specialized use cases — say, specific financial contracts or the creation of ecosystems that involve a limited set of parties — might be best served by private blockchains. Private blockchains allow for the implementation of at least some “parameters” that limit access, and who is able to read/write data on the chain. Supply chain sourcing and tracing — as goods move from, say, raw material to finished product to store shelves — might be best served by a private blockchain.

Bitcoin may trade up, bitcoin may trade down, but the constant in the evolving world of digital assets may be the blockchains themselves.