Blockchain’s ascent in the tech world has caught most observers by surprise. Suddenly sprung on the world from the genius mind of a still-anonymous programmer, it can be described as a network consensus algorithm helping decentralized groups of users behave efficiently.
Less than a decade after making its debut alongside bitcoin, blockchain is now the star of the show and is finding new applications in industries far and wide. In healthcare, public welfare, voting, finance, and even videogames, blockchain is quickly showing just how outdated the status quo is. However, despite its penchant for challenging existing models, individual blockchain applications are still very much reliant on their users.
A blockchain network that supports a complicated process suffers when participation decreases, unlike centralized solutions that will always work no matter how many people are using them. Take a shared data storage platform for example: without users, the network doesn’t have anywhere to store data (nor anyone who needs storage). It becomes important for individual blockchain solutions to cater to their target market very specifically, and to think ahead to where their users will be in the future.
For many blockchain products, this has meant one thing: going mobile. As phones get bigger, more powerful, and take a larger slice of internet traffic, blockchain must follow along. It’s not only the climbing power of phones that blockchain will benefit from, but also the amount of time we spend with them. There are studies being released every year that indicate our phones are an increasingly frequent companion in our everyday lives. One published in 2015 illustrated that we don’t even recognize how absorbed we are in them. Young adults spend upwards of 5 hours per day on their phones but were cognizant of only half of that time.
At the end of the day, blockchain’s decentralizing capabilities turns each of us into a hub for traffic and productivity, and if the medium for this productivity is a 5-inch screen, blockchain must inhabit this valuable real estate. Being on the cutting edge means that several blockchain projects have already considered this inevitability, and are therefore creating unique ways for blockchain participants to interact from their phones.
NAU is a retail blockchain solution that is highly applicable to consumers on the go. The company recognizes the trend of mobile searches that are becoming increasingly local in origin, and are using blockchain to allow retailers to reach these users better. Using the NAU cryptocurrency, retailers can pay users to spread the word about their latest deal, and create coupons for customers to redeem in the shop.
If you’re walking around your city and log into the NAU app on your smartphone, you’ll see many local deals to hunt down. NAU allows retailers to more effectively attract customers because of the accuracy with which blockchain can identify retail preferences, disseminate within a network, and support inexpensive overhead built on smart contracts.
Golem seeks to build a decentralized network of computers that pool their unused power together and offer it for rent. Using the idle computer power from all its users, anyone can login to Golem and use this collective power to run complicated scenarios that would otherwise require immense, cutting-edge machinery. Not everyone has access to a supercomputer, but the company wants to change this for the good of industries like machine learning, science, and even graphic design. Their soon-to-be-released product Brass Golem will let users employ Golem’s power to render CGI projects that currently necessitate days of processing time. Golem also understands that mobile computing power is key to their future business model, and are developing ways to take advantage of the idle processing power of those users who connect via their iPhone or Android device.
Smartphones are an integral part of financial solutions like TenX. The cryptocurrency debit card solution allows coinholders to access their funds on their phone, which is paired to a smart debit card that works with all normal card readers. TenX is simultaneously a mobile cryptocurrency wallet and payment method, because it allows one to use the app to change which cryptocurrency the debit card uses in real time. Before arriving to the register to pay, one can enter the app and tell their TenX card to pay with ethereum, rather than with bitcoin, for example. There are several applications like TenX, including CryptoPay, BitPay, and more.
Neglect Mobile at Your Own Peril
Look around you on the bus, train, restaurant, basketball game, or any public space, and you’ll immediately notice how many people are buried in their tiny phone screens. The world at large is the very same, and those who are building useful solutions for it must integrate mobile, or risk losing their audience from the very beginning. For blockchain especially, leaving mobile out of the equation is a fatal mistake, and so it’s encouraging to see solutions with such potential for mobile use being created.