I originally commissioned an article from a cryptocurrency expert that described themselves as expert level English with 100% grammar and instead you are now reading my article on blockchain. In short I expert level content spinning at its finest and maybe in a few years time, content spinning software will be superior to humans. Putting my grumbles aside, I could have written on numerous topics on design, affiliate marketing or even about the process of putting together this magazine. Instead I’m choosing to go with the original article I wanted to have which was on blockchain and perhaps it is best written by me sharing my thoughts on why I believe blockchain is the real deal.
I believe that blockchain is the real deal and that more people should pay attention to this space. As much as I think cryptocurrencies themselves are cool, I treat cryptocurrencies as a subset of the blockchain ecosystem. There are many people that work in the blockchain space that are very quick to point out they are not associated with cryptocurrencies. My philosophy and hope on blockchain technology is that people will come to the space for money but hopefully leave with something greater. I’m writing and sharing this article because I truly believe that blockchain is going to disrupt affiliate marketing more than what most people think. It is beyond Bitcoin casinos and using cryptocurrencies for payments. They say blockchain is like the new internet and I truly believe it is. People might think of cryptocurrencies as some ponzi scheme or bubble that is going to burst but regardless of what happens there, blockchain is here to stay.
Blockchain Futurist Conference Toronto 2018
I thought I knew a lot about cryptocurrencies and blockchain before I went to this conference but after Anthony Di Iorio’s first talk at the event, I quickly realized that I was starting at the bottom in terms of knowledge. His message was simple, that the internet gave us the exchange of information where blockchain gives us the exchange of value. I probably could have gone home after that talk and would have considered that conference the most value to date but it didn’t stop there. It was a 2 day event and I was exhausted from the non stop technical discussions all day on top of being emotionally drained from the excitement. I felt like I was in a secret society where I was learning stuff that most of the world didn’t have the privilege of knowing. The best part of all is this knowledge is available for anybody and everyone inside only wants to share it.
Blockchain vs iGaming
Even with iGaming being considered one of the most lucrative aspects of affiliate marketing, I have watched quite a few people pivot away from this industry towards the blockchain. While many have left with intentions of earning lucrative sums of money, I’m also sure they left for new and unique challenges. In my view, blockchain is far more interesting than igaming where I don’t really see anything innovative coming out in igaming. For most people, money can be a driving force of their business but I see more money in blockchain than in igaming along with innovation, challenges and disruption.
Decentralization: my explanation of blockchain technology
I’m not very adept at explaining how blockchain technology works and I find this is where most people get lost in the understanding of it. I’ll start with sharing Wikipedia’s link of blockchain:
“A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data.”
There is a lot more to explain than that but that is the basics and it translates to this: you cannot delete or erase old records. It is like the archive.org of data where history just can’t be erased.
You can skip over the technical aspect of blockchain but understand that blockchain technology gives us decentralization and understanding it, is where that “aha” moment comes in where people fall in the rabbit hole and realize why it is powerful. I’d like to point out that I’m not expecting everyone to read this article and then all of a sudden get it. What I am saying is that the learning curve is steep and it takes some time to learn and absorb the concepts but is what everyone should do before they write it off as nonsense or a fad.
Looking at Wikipedia again for decentralization gives us:
“Decentralization is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision-making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, authoritative location or group.”
Decentralization is going to bring a lot of disruption to everything that is centralized: money, finance, social media, and everyone’s favourite topic: politics. Centralization gives you monopolies which then leads to power and abuse of power.
Everyone’s favourite topic these days is politics and the best place to discuss that is on social media. I don’t enjoy discussing politics and find it to be a great way to lose friends or business opportunities. Up until knowing about blockchain, I had no hope for change in how politics operates around the world in both dictatorships and democratic societies. In dictatorships, you have centralized power and almost always there is an abuse of power. In democratic societies, people vote politicians to act as custodians of power for the people, unfortunately absolute power corrupts. There are 2 fundamental things that blockchain and decentralization of governments that I think need to happen.
- Elections on blockchains
- Democracy on blockchain
Elections on blockchains
Vote rigging and fraud are still popular topics and as long as any person believe voting fraud exists then it damages the trust users have in the system. Whether in the United States, Canada, Turkey or Iran, these are real issues that seems to be a problem for any country. If people believe in democratic societies then we should be using voting technology that ensures votes can’t be manipulated in anyway.
Democracy on blockchain
An election happens and you vote someone into power for a set number of years. While their policies may not reflect your own you hope they are better than the alternative options. That politician fails to act on policies that you believed in and is untouchable until the next election. 4 years later you vote for a different political party hoping for change but the results are the same. Sounds like a broken record? Well it is and I personally didn’t see this broken record changing if it wasn’t for blockchain technology. Blockchain has the power of removing these custodians of power. The big obstacle in all of this is like the same analogy of banks not wanting to support cryptocurrency in any capacity, why would politicians want to adopt a system that makes them obsolete?
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT)
Ok I probably lost you again but let me try to explain this in the most crazy way possible. Have you heard of CryptoKitties? Great! CryptoKitties was one of the first examples of NFT technology and that has exploded into a whole subset of blockchain technology with a lot of real world applications. Actually can RarePepe or Book of Orbs on the Bitcoin Blockchain were the first uses of NFT but CryptoKitties is where NFT took off. In short, there are no 2 cryptocats alike so they are all unique. What Bitcoin did for blockchain, CryptoKitties probably did for NFTs so let’s start by explaining what Non-Fungible Tokens are:
“A non-fungible token (NFT) is a special type of cryptographic token which represents something unique; non-fungible tokens are thus not interchangeable.”
Here is a short list of examples of things that you could find on a blockchain as an NFT:
- Intellectual property rights
- Land or property ownership
- College & University degrees
- Video games
So CryptoKitties lead to all of this? Somehow it did and all of these examples are fairly significant. Land and property ownership can be verified on a blockchain and also be traded as well. Tired of hiring people with fake degrees, not anymore, or at least make it easier to verify this information.
Protecting User Data
User data is always a hot topic. On one side of the fence we have giant corporate monopolies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, they abuse centralization to collect private user data. On the other side we have governments that are trying to fight for data protection but none of this is going to stop the flow of data including the theft of it. A decentralized system of data protection and ownership is one way of solving it and I think this is where things can really change in affiliate marketing. If you think about the idea of using a Single Sign-On (SSO) for accessing sites and logging into anything, this could act like a layer to validate yourself as a user without handing over your data.
In the same way you can have a digital wallet to store your cryptocurrencies, you can have blockchain verify your identification and encrypt your data. Projects like Shyft (www.shyft.network) are leading the way in this area.
There are a lot of people that assume anything to do with blockchain is connected with Bitcoin and essentially unregulated.
Blockchain Rabbit Hole
If you work in any area of online marketing, you should at least be aware of how blockchain tech can disrupt the field you work in. There are so many rabbit holes in blockchain it can leave you overwhelmed. This might be your opportunity to stay ahead of the game in whatever industry you work in. If you remember a time when people and companies used to think only geeks used the internet and it wasn’t a serious business for ecommerce, I do think blockchain is going to be the next major disruption and I’m far from alone in that thinking.