Why you’re better off being a number – Blockchain explained, and how it can save our oceans

Paying safely is a number one concern in the digital age. Making money is exciting. When it’s social it is fun. Blockchain makes transactions safe, lucrative and it’s for the community. While it’s hard to describe the exact workings of Blockchain, this is in essence how that revolutionary technology works.

Here’s an analogy. Simply put, a social network (like Facebook or Instagram) has many subscribers, Blockchain is a community too. When its members interact the blockchain technology creates a “smart contract”, an algorithm that defines each unique transaction. Everybody’s transaction joins a ledger, a digital ledger: the blockchain (imagine each contract is a block, as it attaches to the previous one). The more users the network has the more value each transaction’s protocol (marker) has. Translate the protocol into a token or a coin, and you can theoretically (and actually, if you believe in it) exchange that token for a more traditional form of value, like money. More precisely: that token has a value dependent on the number of transactions, and it is registered in a number sequence which cannot be changed. A change would no longer denotes that transaction. Because you can’t change it, but also because the information is shared – there is no central control – that transaction is safe, and verifiable by the network community. (I will not go into the fact that those tokens can be stolen from your digital wallet!).

See, it’s complicated. However, once delve into the subject, and people are doing that in conventions, meetups and social groups around the world, you can start finding uses for the technology.

Like saving the environment! For example, I was racking my brain, trying to find a way to link blockchain to cleaning the oceans and I found The Plastic Bank. This company based in Vancouver is developing ways to create value out of plastic, so that nobody would ever want to throw plastic into the ocean. Through blockchain technology, you could “exchange” plastic items for digital value. The Plastic Bank, which has a set up a partnership with IBM, are trying to find ways for us to do this. Specifically, they have a project in Haiti and the Philipines where people pick up plastic trash from their beaches, oceans and waterways, handing it over to The Plastic Bank. They dispose of the waste and hand out tokens in exchange. With these people can purchase real items they need.

As I wade through this description of what they do, you might be interested to read about this initiative firsthand at The Plastic Bank

Seems far-fetched? I can believe in it. If algorithms can save our planet, then it’s worth doing the maths and being a number.

 

 

 

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