What is Blockchain?
User-owned, tradeable digital goods
With a blockchain, you can (easily) create tokenized assets that users can keep and trade outside of your site. For example, Gods Unchained is a Magic-the-gathering style collectible card game where users can physically own their cards and trade them outside the platform. What’s interested about this is that individual cards have an identity, and could be used elsewhere or traded on 3rd party marketplaces. You could, for example, have a card that was used in a championship match sell as a c
ollectible, in the same way that a MLB championship home-run
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Payments and value transfer
Because of the fundamental integration of cryptocurrencies, accepting payments and facilitating value transactions is streamlined: bank transfers, credit cards, paypal, all require substantial effort on the part of developers to integrate. These benefits are particularly true for communities with reduced access to banking and credit services: we have a case study on the use of Ethereum to facilitate value transfer and aid disbursement in refugee camps in Jordan.
User identity and data privacy
There are unique characteristics with how a user establishes their identity via a blockchain network. Using software like Metamask, users could have single sign-on to the whole internet. You may not need to handle passwords or login on your site, which means fewer lost password requests. Data privacy can be enhanced by giving the user control over who gets access to their information, and giving them the opportunity to sign transactions. When a user leaves a site, site operators no longer can access their data directly.
Global, persistent state of the Internet
The internet of today is built of many technologies, but there is no central authority on what is true. Internet giants like Facebook may hold the keys to their respective kingdoms with vast networks and databases that function somewhat like a persistent state, however, they are privately held, and their scope is generally limited to their own organizations. A blockchain, as a network containing immutable data over time, highly secure and resistant to tampering, and with no single owner, can serve as a source of truth for community participants.
Tradeable tokens and cryptocurrency rely on blockchains to provide the infrastructure for scarce digital assets. Where digital assets in the past were either infinitely copyable or protected by complex DRM schemes, a persistent-state single-source-of-truth like a blockchain permits the creation of unique digital assets that can be owned but not copied, which means those things can possess real value.