While the blockchain concept is a decade old, its full potential is not fully known. Blockchain’s connection to cryptocurrency is just one facet of what the technology could potentially offer, and companies are beginning to embrace it for its record-keeping capabilities.
Mass utilization may still be years away, but the short-term future of blockchain is also incredibly bright. If you are wondering what the blockchain landscape may look like over the next several years, here’s what you need to know.
After Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017, the world has become fascinated with cryptocurrencies. The virtual currencies were designed to be an alternative medium for payments, employing new ledger mechanisms to record transactions and monitor the flow of funds.
However, the largely unregulated cryptocurrency market has also come under fire. Scams aren’t uncommon, and some question whether they help support illegal activities simply based on how they are designed, even if it is an unintentional side effect.
Cryptocurrencies are shaking up the global market. If you aren’t familiar with how they are used, here’s what you need to know.
The Appeal of Cryptocurrencies
While initially considered a novelty by many governments, cryptocurrencies have significant potential when it comes to international dealings. The funds are easy to use and can provide alternatives to individuals or companies operating in countries where the local currency is unstable.
Additionally, cryptocurrencies are primarily unregulated, providing people with the ability to circumvent strict controls regarding taxation and the flow of money, both internally and across borders.
The technical mechanisms are also appealing to some. Blockchain ledgers provide some benefits for the recording and tracking of transactions, being mostly transparent and unalterable.
Government Responses and Perspectives
As cryptocurrencies gained traction, many governments began examining the digital currency market in an effort to develop proper controls, particularly when it comes to preventing issues like tax evasion. However, few limitations on the use of cryptocurrencies are currently in place, and it may take time to resolve any potential problems, as some may not yet be especially apparent.
Issues of High Volatility
One of the biggest concerns regarding cryptocurrencies is their volatile nature. At one point in 2017, Bitcoins were valued at over $19,000 each. However, the market has since experienced significant declines, even falling below the $8,000 mark.
While the high experienced by Bitcoin has led some to invest in it and other altcoins as a means of diversifying their portfolios, the future of most cryptocurrencies is incredibly uncertain. Some financial experts fear that a crash is inevitable while others claim that a recovery is on the horizon.
A boom or crash can impact global markets in a variety of ways, though the low total market capitalization should prevent a drop from having the same level of impact as those in other areas, such as when mortgage-backed securities led to a global financial crisis.
The size of the market likely means that there is little systemic risk today, though that may change depending on how much traction cryptocurrencies gain and how investors react. Additionally, new legislation will impact the effect virtual currencies have on larger markets, but the precise impact of regulations won’t be fully known until they are in place.
Ultimately, cryptocurrencies are a fledgling part of the global market, so the full effect of their presence may not be known for some time.
If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding blockchain, especially due to its association with Bitcoin, which skyrocketed to a value of just under $20,000 per coin before experiencing a significant decline. With all the chatter, many professionals have considered making a move into the field of blockchain development. But the big question is, is blockchain actually creating jobs?
While any new technology that garners as much attention as blockchain will certain lead to the creation of some new jobs, the actual number available may surprise you. If you’re curious about positions in blockchain, here’s what you need to know.
Requests for Blockchain Skills are Rising
Since there was a bit of a fervor surrounding blockchain, it’s no surprise that the number of employers looking for people with that skill has increased throughout 2016 and 2017. The technology has a lot of potential, particularly in industries where virtual contracts would be beneficial.
It is likely that requests for blockchain skills will continue throughout 2018, but the rate at which this occurs may leave some disappointed.
But It Isn’t Rising as Fast as You’d Think
One survey showed that, in early February, there were on 133 positions listed that explicitly asked for blockchain, while a total of 36 mentioned Bitcoin specifically. Additionally, there are a suitable number of professionals apply to these roles, making it apparent that tech workers are interested in getting an opportunity to work with blockchain.
Further, throughout 2016 and 2017, the number of available positions associated with Bitcoin tended to fluctuate, and only a few dozen employers were seeking workers with the blockchain or Bitcoin skills.
What Does the Future Hold?
While it is impossible to predict with any level of precision just how many blockchain jobs will be created in the future, there is potential for a notable uptick. The technology could provide significant benefits to a range of employers in a number of industries, particularly when it comes to records management and bookkeeping or in healthcare.
However, blockchain technologies are largely in their infancy outside (and even occasionally inside) the cryptocurrency realm. As new solutions are developed that can assist businesses with their operations, demand may increase, potentially sharply.
At this point, demand for blockchain and Bitcoin skills is fairly low. But, if adoption rates increase, which they very well could, so will demand. But, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo a career in blockchain now, as there are many employers who would be happy to bring on a skilled developer, even if it is just in preparation of future projects.
If you are interested in learning more about what a career in blockchain could offer you or are seeking a new IT position, the professionals at The Armada Group can provide you with critical information and connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can help you take the next step in your career, both inside and out of the blockchain field.
Blockchain has garnered a lot of attention thanks to its association with cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin. The solution allows transactions to be tracked in a new way, using an approach that many consider more secure than many other options available today, increasing interest in the technology and how it can benefit a number of industries.
Since blockchain is relatively new, many companies have just begun exploring how they can benefit from the technology, particularly when it comes to ensuring transactions and data exchanges are more secure. If you are wondering how you can get your start in blockchain, here’s what you need to know.
The Appeal of Blockchain
As mentioned above, most people associate blockchain with cryptocurrency, though its potential stretches well beyond that role. As a mechanism, blockchain increases accountability and security related to various transactions or information exchanges, including contract signings, while also reducing error rates.
Generally, blockchain is prized for its ability to verify a transaction’s validity. Blockchain records cannot be altered after the fact, and all transactions can be published to shared ledgers, allowing trusted involved parties to easily review details while maintaining a suitable level of access control.
It also offers companies a way to increase the speed at which transactions can be completed while also providing a method for substantial cost-savings, as blockchain eliminates the need for intermediaries, such as banks or government agencies, to be involved in the execution of an agreement.
Blockchain for Business
As of today, “blockchain-as-a-service” isn’t a common offering, so some businesses have struggled to find an entry point to begin using the technology. However, two tech giants have embraced the concept, giving organizations a way to get started with relative ease.
Microsoft has provided blockchain tools into Azure, its popular cloud services offering. In just five simple steps, you can get started with blockchain through Azure through the “labs” profile. This gives you a relatively quick way to create a blockchain instance, opening the doorway to the larger world associated with the technology.
IBM also has a solution that includes a little more polish than Microsoft’s offering thanks o the ability to not just create a blockchain instance, but satellite features as well. Along with the developer environment, chaincodes and contracts can be generated through IBM Blockchain. The solution is also interoperable with Hyperledger Composer, a Linux Foundation offering. Through IBM Blockchain, it is possible to do anything from create a single blockchain application to building an entire network.
Over time, additional options for bringing blockchain into business will certainly arise, including possible “as-a-service” providers who can make the technology more accessible, though gaining an understanding of what blockchain can do now is indeed a worthwhile venture.
If you are interested in learning more, need a blockchain professional to join your staff, or are looking for a blockchain developer position, the knowledgeable team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our specialists today and see how our services can benefit you.
Bitcoin, best known for being a form of digital currency with no fees and the ability to remain anonymous in transactions, has been gaining steady ground as an accepted online payment. But now, this virtual currency may be evolving into much more than a payment method.
These developments are not a direct result of Bitcoin itself so much as the technology behind it. Bitcoin’s unique underlying code makes it possible to handle a broad range of financial tasks that are now served by middlemen like banks, exchanges, and ecommerce providers — all for a fee, of course. But by using Bitcoin’s technology to drive financial transactions, fees for both buyers and sellers in the $1.22 trillion global ecommerce market could be significantly reduced.
That’s what a new crop of entrepreneurs, backed by major investors, are banking on.
The Internet of Money
BitAngels is an innovative angel investor group with a focus on backing projects that involve Bitcoin technology. In a recent interview, BitAngels co-founder David Johnston said, “People are just starting to realize that Bitcoin isn’t a currency and a payment system, it’s the Internet of Money.” He added that the investor group is currently considering more than 30 “Internet of Money” projects for backing.
Even financial firms are now recognizing that the underlying technology of Bitcoin is extremely flexible and viable for financial purposes. Two of the most crucial functions this technology satisfies are authentication and payment verification — functions that are typically carried out by a third party. But with Bitcoin, the process is both contained and completely secure.
Blockchains: The building blocks of Bitcoin
Blockchains are the primary reason that Bitcoin shows such promise in multiple types of transactions. The building blocks of the virtual currency system are designed to validate each transaction — and they can be adapted for any type of exchange, whether or not they’re attached to a currency. Blockchains make secure, accurate authentication and verification possible.
According to investor group Andreessen Horowitz, which is now looking to fund startups based on this technology, “If you have online trust like the blockchain provides, you can reinvent field after field after field.” The group is considering funding for “a whole sequence of companies: digital title, digital media assets, digital stocks and bonds, digital crowdfunding, digital insurance” — all built around blockchain.
Theft-proof, zero-fee buyers and sellers
Some entrepreneurs and startups are already diving in to the potential of Bitcoin technology-powered business. A decentralized bank and exchange called BitShares X, developed by Invictus, is set to debut in the second quarter of 2015. This exchange lets users save, trade, borrow, and lend all types of financial securities without using a bank or brokerage as an intermediary, with transactions handled on the users’ own computers and publicly verified (just as Bitcoin transactions are) — which eliminates the possibility of theft or fraud.
CEO of Invictus Dan Larimer said of the project, “With a traditional exchange, you send your dollars, and they record an IOU for so many dollars. The exchange can default on their IOUs to you — Mt. Gox [a Bitcoin exchange that was shut down after more than $450 million in Bitcoin went missing and was presumed stolen] is an example. In our case, no one can steal the balance from your account.”
In addition to extreme security, the use of Bitcoin technology makes it possible to eliminate fees, which are typically levied to pay for banking services, accounting systems, and account holder verification. The BitShares X system eliminates most of these fees.
Potential beyond the financial category
The underlying technology of Bitcoin has potential for a wide variety of uses and service types. As a conceptual example, combining Bitcoin technology with wireless network-connected vehicles could create a self-organizing industry around courier services. Theoretically, anyone with a vehicle could become an independent courier, picking up and delivering packages on their commutes or while running errands — and use Bitcoin-powered systems to collect sender fees and get paid.
A company called MaidSafe has used the technology behind Bitcoin to develop an alternative to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other cloud providers. The service allows users to share storage, processing power, or both with other users, rather than draw from a server network. MaidSafe is currently partnering with around 20 companies to develop web applications for the service.
As another example, San Francisco-based programmer Dave Cohen is working to revolutionize voting by developing a way to let users cast votes — and have the votes tallied almost instantly — through Bitcoin-based verification. Convenience and counting have long been issues for voting systems, and the security issues have so far prevented electronic voting from being adopted widely.
Bitcoin’s future may be the Internet of Money, and the technology that powers this virtual currency could transform the ecommerce landscape.