Blockchain tech is causing a massive rethink in how the internet can be used across all sorts of applications – from social networking, to financial transactions, to establishing binding contracts, and more.
I have written before how blockchain technologies are disrupting industries from finance, to entertainment, and even in ending global poverty – all through startups that have leveraged on smart contracts in rebuilding industries from scratch.
For example, Smart City initiatives like those in Singapore include proptech upstarts that let users sell real properties through the blockchain – all complete with the contract, cryptocurrency payment, and transfer of title. It’s a matter of time until these smart contracts are accepted as the real-world equivalent of an actual paper-based land title.
What I have not yet touched on is how blockchain technologies can make a big impact on small and practical things that we do on a daily basis. I’m thinking of things like buying and selling of goods and services. Case in point: Do you remember the time when e-commerce was still a novelty? Now, you probably buy stuff online on a regular basis.
It has probably crossed your mind at one point: Will blockchains eventually replace the likes of Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, and just about any other major service that we use on a regular, if not daily, basis?
The case for retail
When Craigslist.org launched in 1995, it revolutionized how people bought and sold products and services. It focused on locales, and it let virtually anyone buy and sell their goods. It was an online marketplace decades before the term “marketplace” came into fashion.
There were certainly limitations. For one, the platform simply connected buyers with sellers, and did not provide a way to exchange payments. Secondly, there was the security issue – the platform has been known as a haven for scammers, since there was no way to verify or rate buyers and sellers.
Its contemporaries like Amazon and eBay offered some advantages.
For example, eBay revolutionized online retail through bidding, and it even acquired payment processor PayPal to facilitate payments. Amazon started out with books and eventually led to the decline of the traditional bookstore, but it later on branched out to just about any product imaginable – all done through a marketplace where sellers can ride on the platform.
Again, there are…