Blockchain and Business: How Emerging Technologies Can Help Prevent Centralization
IBM, Microsoft, and Walmart lead a growing list of companies that are experimenting with blockchain initiatives, but each of these companies brings in billions of dollars each year in revenue.
According to a summer 2017 report, two thirds of the world’s large corporations–defined as companies with more than 20,000 employees–expect to integrate blockchain technology into their systems by the end of 2018. The report notes that this anticipated growth is because “companies across the board have a significantly greater understanding of blockchain technology than was the case 12 months ago.” Greater understanding has largely come at the behest of company research and development departments who are beginning to recognize that blockchain technology not only has applications for fintech and financial firms, but also the potential “to be deployed in a variety of use cases.”
However, some wonder whether or not blockchain powered solutions are out of reach for small and midsize businesses who have less resources than tech giants and other large corporations. IBM, Microsoft, and Walmart lead a growing list of companies that are experimenting with blockchain initiatives, but each of these companies brings in billions of dollars each year in revenue. Unsurprisingly, these firms have the capital and resources to develop blockchain solutions, while smaller companies do not. This could lead to a type of centralization in the blockchain industry–large tech firms crowd out the space and buy out smaller firms, such that there is now a monopoly (or oligarchy) on blockchain resources. If anyone thinks this idea is ludicrous, just look who runs the big data show–Alphabet / Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Thankfully, several blockchain startups are working on platforms that make blockchain integration and development much easier for businesses with less resources. In addition, the user interfaces are easy to install on mobile applications, making blockchain integration much more accessible.
What’s So Great About a Hybrid Blockchain?
One blockchain startup, Qtum, is developing an open source blockchain project that focus on a hybrid blockchain application. It combines Ethereum’s Virtual Machine, a Bitcoin Core fork, and a proof-of-stake protocol. This unique setup means that smart contracts and dApps (decentralized applications) will operate on a flexible infrastructure while permitting developers to code in an efficient environment. The platform synthesizes the best aspects of both the Bitcion and Ethereum networks and creates a hybrid blockchain capable of several unique processes.
The platform marks the first time smart contracts can run on the Bitcoin UXTO model, including all UTXO based blockchains–e.g. Zcash or Litecoin. It uses a proprietary account abstraction layer that serves as a bridge between Bitcoin Core’s UXTO model and the Ethereum Virtual Machine. This facilitates blockchain interoperability as well as platform independence.
The Qtum platform thus weds the security and consistency of Bitcoin’s network with the flexibility of Ethereum’s smart contracts, providing an avenue for cross-chain transactions. With this new system, Ethereum-eaque smart contracts function on a Bitcoin-esque blockchain.
Small and medium sized businesses will benefit greatly from this setup. Developers will be able to transfer projects from the Ethereum and Bitcoin networks with ease, thereby maintaining compatibility with ongoing functions started on the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains. Central projects and dApps will not need to be redesigned or reconfigured; they can be mapped directly and easily integrated onto Qtum’s hybrid blockchain.
Additionally, the platform will provide a secure foundation for small blockchain startups. In this sense, Qtum is similar to the Ethereum network, as it also serves as a base platform others can launch their projects and decentralized applications off of. Developers will have a tremendous amount of flexibility as they work on their projects because the platform is well suited for a variety of different industries.
All things considered, this is an excellent resource for non tech giants to help with blockchain integration. Whether a seasoned company looking to integrate blockchain solutions, or a new startup looking to begin with blockchain, the Qtum platform can play a valuable role in helping companies get their feet off the ground.
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