CarVertical and Selfkey, two new cryptocurrencies, are using blockchain technology, joining a rush of other development teams who are expected to transform industries in every sector in 2018. This will be a critical year for experimentation with Ethereum leading the way.
A steady drum of ERC-20 tokens are being built on its protocol. Ethereum is coping with its immense popularity and the CryptoKitties game that brought the network to its knees. Founder Vitalik Buterin and his team are running a version of Casper on its testnet, a new protocol that abandons the verification of transactions through proof of work (PoW) for a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. The move is expected to allow Ethereum to scale so that it can handle more than the deluge of gamers who are trading CryptoKitties.
Meanwhile, new projects are trying to harness the power of the blockchain, creating ledgers with pertinent information for everyday people doing everyday transactions that involve documentation and trust. File cabinets full of paperwork are targets for obliteration as more information can be moved onto the blockchain, either eliminating or dramatically streamlining bureaucratic paper pushing.
If all goes according to plan, notary publics will no longer have to verify authenticity of documents and consumers will no longer have to search for records. They will be hosted on public ledgers that are immutable and resistant to tampering and forgery.
CarVertical is a blockchain-based solution to aggregate and register cars’ histories across different sources. Using centralized country registries, police and Interpol databases, insurance, leasing, claims handling service databases, privately owned registries, paid APIs and other sources, the carVertical team aims to create an international environment where users grant permission to retrieve data on the vehicles they own. The registry will include mileage, insured accidents, buyers and sellers and other historical data. The upside is a de-centralized and publicly accessible registry. The downside is transparency infringing on privacy. Since this is an opt-in system, the dev team will need to change consumer behavior in order to create a robust registry.
The alpha release is up and running for users to check.
SelfKey is a blockchain-based digital identity system that allows individuals and companies to own, control and manage their digital identities. SelfKey aims to create a marketplace for products and services where users can securely access ID attributes and documents, then verify and notarize them through qualified certifiers, and ultimately share them with relying parties listed on the SelfKey Marketplace. As an ERC-20 Token, SelfKey joins a surging number of blockchain developers that are reliant on the Ethereum network and the success or failure of Casper.
Mass adoption is predicated on mass trust in SelfKey and its underlying Ethereum protocol. Given last year’s hack of the Parity wallet (and the non-blockchain hack of Equifax), the developers will have to prove that users entrusting the network with sensitive documents, such as passports and social security cards, will not be compromised. Due to the lack in government oversight, SelfKey is part of an emerging path beyond “smart cash” and “smart contracts” to become a full fledged “smart government”. Its success requires a major shift in consumer behavior and our understanding about governance.
A quick look at the Selfkey Marketplace reveals where the technology can go and the breadth of transactions it can regulate and execute. Working seamlessly, the technology has the potential to reduce the need for traditional governments, rooting out regulators and paper-pushing bodies whose sole purpose is to confirm documentation and verify transactions. It would also eliminate the endless proliferation of “white paper” websites that own consumers’ identities and sell the information they aggregate, without consent, to customers.