Ever since Satoshi Nakamoto released the bitcoin white paper and made the genesis block, the world entered a new era. The era of decentralization. The Bitcoin network revealed to us what a world without a central authority could look like. A world where decisions about the state of things are made by a consensus, and not by a central authority. A world where security and authenticity is the primary concern, and the truth reigns since every actor checks out on his peer and every actor is considered to be potentially corrupt. This decentralization was initially made to replace the corrupt financial institutions we have today, but smart tech-savvy individuals found a way to apply the decentralization to other aspects of life using blockchain technology. This has given rise to amazing solutions that may shape our future in the years ahead. Here are 5 Disruptive Web3 Innovations the blockchain brings us.
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Self-managing forest with Tera0
Tera0 is a project that aims to place humans in the role of service providers to an autonomously operating forest. That is a forest that automatically decides the logging of its trees, when certain environmental conditions are met, and certain trees reach a certain height.
How is this possible?
They brought the concept of self-managing forests. They use a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain to manage the logging and selling of trees from a forest in Germany.
They do this by using drones and satellites to gather data and monitor the growth of the forest. This data is then sent to a software called Oracle. This oracle then communicates with the Ethereum blockchain and sends the data to a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. The smart contract then processes the data and based on its instructions and the data, it will instruct the logging of trees or not. But obviously, the forest won’t cut down its trees itself. Once instructions are given by the smart contract, the system will issue logging licenses to companies or individuals automatically and they will cut down the trees.
You might be wondering, what is an oracle or what is a smart contract.
What is a smart contract?
A smart contract is a self-enforcing agreement, whose terms are established and executed as code that runs on the blockchain. This is basically a piece of software, and the agreements found in this contract are enforced by a consensus mechanism that runs on the blockchain. Since this consensus is made by nodes on the blockchain, you can’t tamper with the rules in a contract once it is established.
What is an Oracle?
Smart contracts can be invoked from within the blockchain, and out of the blockchain (that is, off-chain) the entities that invoke smart contracts from outside the blockchain are called “Oracles”. Oracles can be software or hardware entities.
Thanks to the blockchain and defi, innovative solutions are made possible even in the insurance sector a great example of this is in Kenya.
Thanks to DeFi, mostly the Ethereum blockchain, and Chainlink’s Oracles a company known as Etherisc created a DeFi solution that insures and protects hundreds of thousands of Kenyan farmers against drought and flooding. This is wonderful.
How do they do this? They leverage Chainlink’s (A very famous crypto project with its own tokens) decentralized oracle networks to get reliable external weather data about the area where farmers plant their crops. This data is broadcasted by the oracles to their smart contracts, and it can be verified by anyone. And during extreme weather events, policies are triggered by the data, and this results in fair and timely payouts to the farmers. The farmers can then be compensated when they lose their crops. There are several innovations, especially in the DeFi sector. I’ll soon release an episode about DeFi, stay tuned to not miss it.
Supply chain: How IOTA revolutionizes International Trade:
The IOATA partnered with institutions in east Africa to improve cross-border trade and ameliorate the supply chain of goods from this region of Africa to other countries and continents. But what problem does it try to solve? How does it do it?
When you go to a shop and take a cup of coffee, or buy a chocolate bar, have you ever wondered how the coffee or the chocolate bar got to that store for you to be able to enjoy it? Thanks to supply chains, raw materials, and goods are transported from one part of the world to another for processing or consumption, but this transportation process involves a lot of steps and a lot of actors. And at each of these steps, data about the items transported must be verified before the items change hands and are transported to the next step. The ever-growing flow of goods is complex and sometimes important documents about the goods get missing, goods get stuck at customs and sometimes perishable goods get bad while waiting for clearances and this costs a lot of money to be lost.
IOTA Helps different actors in the supply chain that is, government agencies and traders to seamlessly share and verify the authenticity of documents needed in the supply chain. They also facilitate the traceability of products in the supply chain that is, tracing the history of their location and the distribution of these products.
How do they do this?
IOTA gets events from every step on the supply chain, using IOT devices (Internet of things, devices that can send information about their usage via the internet) that communicate about their state and critical logistic information like the date stamp, their location, temperature etc. with each other, and with the IOATA network then uses a distributed ledger technology called the Tangle, to provide a single version of the true states (where the goods are, where they come from etc.) of goods in the supply chain.
You might ask what is the Tangle ? in short, it is a kind of blockchain technology that ensures the authenticity of the data sent about the supply chain and it also ensures that this data is not tampered with.
In long, The Tangle is a special distributed ledger technology, just like a blockchain network designed for the internet of things specifically that uses proof of work consensus mechanism to ensure the validity of the data in the network and to ensure that this data cannot be tampered with.
NB for developers:
Events are communicated to the IOTA Tangle in the form of JSON-LD which is a special json format adapted to transfer the kind of data IOTA needs to monitor events on the supply chain.
Thanks to this project, the sustainability, and ethics of products we consume could easily be verified. A future where the supply chain is transparent, more efficient, and incorruptible. You could know the transport route, the carbon dioxide emissions produced while transporting items, the transport route of items in total transparency.
Real-Estate: Buying and selling homes as NFTs
Propy is a company that allows real world properties to be bought as NFTs on the blockchain. They take homes for sale, tokenize these homes on the NFTs and assign the property of the NFT to the user who buys the home.
According to Propy themselves, the traditional process of transferring home ownership is long and tedious. The advantage of selling homes as NFTs is that it is faster, and secure thanks to the blockchain technology. It also permits fractional ownership of real estate, hundreds of people could own portions of an NFT for example, and it could also facilitate international buyers to buy homes abroad.
What is an NFT?
Before I start explaining, I need to define this term. NFT stands for non-Fungible token. As mentioned on the Ethereum website, NFTs are special tokens that can be used to represent ownership of unique items. NFTs let us tokenize real world items on the blockchain. These includes arts, real estate etc.…. The special thing about NFTs is that no one can modify the ownership of an NFT if it is yours, then it is yours.
How does Propy accomplish this?
The first step is tokenizing the real estate property into the blockchain. To do that, they need to find a way to transfer ownership in a digital manner. They did this by switching the property ownership from individual ownership to a US legal entity that is an LLC (Limited liability company) meaning that the LLC owned the house. They minted the LLC ownership into an NFT. This made them to be able to transfer the LLC’s property easily since the person who owns the LLC owns the property. They placed the NFT in an auction, and the person who acquires it sends cryptocurrency from his wallet to theirs, then they transfer the NFT to the buyer’s wallet.
I won’t dive into the details of minting NFTs here because it is long, but I’ll add resources in the description for further research.
Creator’s Economy: Receiving Eternal Royalties from your art, music, or asset.
The blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the creator’s economy by making every creator (artist, musician etc) to benefit from the sale and endless resale of their work. That is, I produce a art piece for example, I mint it into an NFT, I put it on an NFT market place online (That is a website where NFTs are sold). Someone who likes my work buys my piece of art using cryptocurrency. A smart contract transfers ownership of the piece of art to the wallet of the person who bought it and if the person resells my art piece, I can get a percentage of the amount for which it was sold. I can even get royalties every time my work is re-sold again and again.
There are several platforms that offer this feature. These platforms are known as NFT marketplaces Some of the most famous are Opensea, Rarible etc.
In 2021, during the bull run, several artists sold their work for millions of dollars. NFT collections where created and sold images tied to NFTs in the blockchain for millions of dollars. Some of the most notable examples are:
In 2021 an artist named Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple, sold several NFTs but the most spectacular one he sold was bought for 69million dollars. The digital artwork he sold for this price was a collage of 5000 digital images he created in the span of several years as a professional an artist. This art piece is called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”.
The gaming industry is constantly evolving, with new games and innovative ways of playing being developed often. Blockchain technology brought features that take gaming to another level. It has the potential to make the user experience better, by providing a more secure and transparent way of making digital transactions, and owning and accessing virtual assets. With the help of blockchain technology like NFTs, gamers can own and trade their in-game assets for cryptocurrencies. Players can earn in-game rewards in the form of cryptocurrencies after completing quests or obtaining rare items. Players can even create virtual worlds and new levels in games and own their creations (By own, I mean that the even company that created the game can’t claim ownership of your asset and you could sell it for a real profit because thanks to NFTs, there is true uniqueness in these assets).
There are many examples of games that leverage these features, but the one I prefer to talk about is the Sandbox.
The sandbox is according to themselves is “A virtual world where players can build, own, and monetize their gaming experiences in the Ethereum blockchain.”. It is based on the Ethereum blockchain and is a decentralized NFT gaming metaverse.
Initially, the sandbox was initially a user-generated content game on mobile devices it was a success and had millions of users. It is a game similar to Minecraft and Roblox. In 2018, the company behind the game decided to bring this game to the blockchain.
The sandbox is a game, but it is reputed to be an entire metaverse, where users can create characters and assets they own and can trade these assets in the game, build experiences, buy land and much more. I’ll talk more about the sandbox and the metaverse in an upcoming episode. In that episode, I’ll tell you all you need to know about the metaverse.