Crypto is about much more than just 'cryptocurrencies'

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Crypto is about much more than just 'cryptocurrencies'
Crypto goes beyond Bitcoin and it may already be a part of life without you realising itCanva
  • Cryptocurrency is the most well-known application of blockchain technology.
  • However, the cryptoverse is much bigger with other use cases still in development.
  • Even today, a number of industries and some of the biggest companies already use blockchain for business-critical functions.
Contrary to how the term is often used, ‘crypto’ is so much bigger than digital money alone. Even without trying too hard, crypto has begun to have an impact on our lives — not just in the abstract sense, but in ways that can be seen and felt in real life.

Depending on the definition you like, crypto refers to anything that uses a cryptographically secured blockchain – a ledger of actions taken – which, may or may not, be decentralised.

Decentralisation — having no one single authority at the heart of it — is one of the biggest selling points of cryptocurrencies, but it’s not a requirement. Centralised applications like central bank digital coins (CBDCs) and other examples are beginning to emerge using blockchain technology.

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Here’s a quick look at the four hottest trends in the cryptoverse that go beyond trading on the crypto exchanges:

Government


Legendarily, the left hand of government may not know what the right hand is doing, with the two working towards opposite purposes. But it helps to remember that a government is run by people and help, like blockchain technology, that streamlines people’s efforts is welcome. If it can help coordinate departments, the different ‘hands’ through which the government works, all the better.

In that spirit, governments that computerised decades ago are looking for the next big leap using crypto. Possibilities being explored include digital identification, digital voting, tamper-proof educational credentials, property title deeds to track ownership, and climate protection.

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Commodities


Better tracking of mass-produced goods has benefited the companies that sell them – the proliferation of bar codes and RFID tags in stores was just the beginning. When you consider the razor-thin profit margins of those companies, the incentive becomes clear.

Commodity and retail companies are using crypto to track fresh agricultural produce, identify counterfeit retail goods, reward loyal customers, monitor supply chains, and track prescription drugs.

Financial services


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Proponents have frequently stated that crypto or blockchain-based systems have the potential to complete transactions faster, with lower overhead, and more economically. Companies have grabbed the chance to test these out in the real world, using existing currency.

Financial institutions are using crypto as a payment network connecting each other, to process payments faster, enable private payment gateways, and settle cross-border remittances.

Emerging applications in the place are normally clubbed into a group called ‘decentralised finance’ or DeFi.

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Business processes


Between and within companies, crypto is disrupting how normal day-to-day business processes are managed. The aim – to improve efficiency, reduce bureaucratic delays, and save employee time.

Businesses are using crypto to streamline legal and medical records, account for weapons sold, enforce workers’ rights, track compliance and taxes, share industry data, and use smart contracts in mining.

In addition, research is ongoing to look into how crypto can help with other areas such as food safety, copyright protection, family wills, equity trading, and so on.
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As illustrated then, cryptocurrency is just the most well-known application so far – and the biggest disruption powered by crypto may be yet to come.

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