Emerging Digital Currency Tech Could Change the Way We Use the Internet

by Alex McCreary

A new age is emerging out of a community focused on developing distributed computing. Some are calling it “the new internet,” and its ideas are quickly reaching the mainstream. The ideas behind this new distributed computing network have been mentioned more frequently in TV shows and news networks, and the network, itself, has even penetrated large companies.

In 2014, a new blockchain network called Ethereum surfaced. Ethereum has a few key differences compared to other digital currencies: speed, mining algorithm and a development platform. Ethereum’s network can confirm currency transactions more quickly than Bitcoin, which means it takes less time to transfer currency between entities. Also, Ethereum’s mining algorithm allows for a greater number of miners at a lower hardware cost.

 

Ethereum has a development platform built into the blockchain, which uses a technology called “smart contracts.” Solidity, a programming language, was designed to develop these smart contracts. Some simple applications of these smart contracts are voting systems, gambling games, crowdfunding and blind auctions. The Ethereum network recently took a step towards a new internet; developers created a domain name service for the network called Ethereum Name Service (ENS). The ENS was deployed to the Mist wallet and implemented a blind auction to allow people to claim ‘.eth’ domain names for use on the Ethereum network.

Some companies even have smart contract application ideas and plans that are crowdsourcing funds. Similar to a new stock company’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), some companies plan to develop blockchain applications to raise funds in what is called an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). These ICOs have piggy-backed off of the Ethereum network and developed their own currencies called tokens. Companies raise funds by selling their tokens. For example, Bancor has plans to develop a management system of these tokens, and during its ICO, it raised over $150 million worth of Ethereum’s currency in three hours. Another example is Civic, which recently raised over $33 million to develop an identity verification system on the blockchain.

There are so many potential applications for decentralized computing technology, and we’ve only just begun recognizing their potential. What could be the next great blockchain application? And will it replace what we know today as “the internet”?


About Alex McCreary

Alex is a Senior Developer at Merit. Alex’s background in security and risk analysis, along with his expertise in tech starts-ups and cryptocurrencies, gives him a unique point of view on solving client challenges. The Non-Conformist, he believes that Ethereum > Bitcoin.

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