This week David Dhannoo explores the interesting relationship between blockchain technology and Millennials (aka Generation Y). Blockchain may just be the biggest new development since the Internet (a bold claim!); the full range of possibilities is staggering. Millennials’ worldview is substantially different to that of generations that have come before, so – along with their next iteration, Generation Y – it’s fair to say they’ll adapt to this new form of technology quicker.
Blockchain and The Millennials: A Match Made in Data Heaven
If you’ve not heard of blockchain technology before, in a nutshell, it’s a way of recording data. It is also the foundation for cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. This innovative form of technology is made up of blocks of transactions (think of it like strands of DNA being joined together), and are added in chronological order.
In layman’s terms, a blockchain is a stored database with contracts added in. The technology might seem complicated with the mathematical equations that it runs on, but the concept is simple: just adding an agreement to the chain makes processes more transparent, and is a powerful gamechanger. The blockchain can be used in many versatile ways, and will severely curb the threat of cybercrime in many forms, as it is genuinely unhackable.
Blockchain and Event Ticketing
Millions of people use online platforms to buy tickets for gigs and football games, and most of the time, they get what they pay for. But sometimes, they are duped into buying fake tickets by some fraudulent internet criminal. Blockchain has the potential to eradicate this kind of cybercrime, as ticketing companies can create a blockchain of their own, or using a platform such as Ethereum. By doing this, the company would be responsible for validating customer transactions.
Venues that offer customers a way to check if a ticket is valid stand to gain, both in customer trust and in sales. Using a type of technology that cannot be hacked is a huge step, and one which will inevitably lead to more ticket sales for those companies who implement it.
The blockchain application issues a unique hash number for each individual transaction, and works with a huge block of complex mathematical equations behind the scenes. If you get a bit excited over the term ‘complex mathematical equations’, you can read more about blockchain maths here.
Smart Contracts for Generation Rent
Those who work in Real Estate, for example, understand the residential habits of Millennials well. Research conducted by Ernst & Young indicated that 47% of millennials work more hours and prefer the flexibility of apartment rentals. No surprises there. But what has this got to do with blockchain technology? The answer is smart contracts.
With blockchain, each rental lease would have its own unique hash, linked to a specific public key. So what happens when a renter wants to sublease? Again, smart contracts would also be applied.
A customised smart contract would contain details of the leasing date plus the costs involved. Once both parties have agreed the contract, the new renter’s bank account will be charged accordingly.
Smart contracts are detailed by ‘if’ statements (also known as ‘recipes’), which set out a particular outcome if a certain criterion is met. For example, “if the date is 01/03/2017, transfer £500 on the first of every month from x account until 01/12/2017.”
Ticketing and residential rentals are just two of the examples of blockchain use that may appeal to the Millennial generation. However, there is one more that deserves a mention.
The Millennial generation is one of the most socially-conscious generations we’ve seen so far. Many are widely concerned with political and ecological issues, distrust their governments, and want to bring power back to the people. So the idea of decentralising power from the large global energy companies and making it work for the community is something that will appeal hugely.
Blockchain and Energy
Teams of blockchain and energy experts are working on just this. Leveraging the power of blockchain in exchanges of both data and electrons, they can apply the same ‘smart contract’ idea used in residential lettings to energy provision. In short, they are seeking to create smaller, decentralised energy grids to be used within small geographical areas.
Each residence is linked to this grid, which is managed via blockchain, monitoring consumption of energy on a very accurate level, detailing exactly what is being used, and thus charging appropriately. The local aspect eliminates the excess costs of huge energy grids and the enormous amount of work taken to run them.
But that’s just the start of it. There is a strong incentive with this system for householders to start generating their own energy supply. Installing solar panels and other sustainable energy generation tools, the home can feed that energy into the blockchain for their own use.
Where an excess of power is produced by one household, they can choose to store it up within their chain, or share it with other homes on the grid.
The residents, therefore, pay less for energy overall, and can actually earn money on energy they produce at home by selling it within the local grid to homes that are producing less, for example when the household is away on holiday, the excess energy they don’t need can go to power other homes and rack up cash in the house’s own account. They can even give it away to poorer households.
So much for being overcharged by profit-driven big energy conglomerates.
Just the Beginning
There are so many examples that can be used and linked with the Millennial lifestyle. These examples are simply the tip of the iceberg.
Currently, we are still in the early phases of what can be achieved with blockchain technology. In the years ahead, we can certainly expect to see blockchain infiltrate almost every aspect of how we live. It has potential for social good, for cybersecurity, and for completely streamlining legal processes.
New to blockchain technology? I recommend reading Don and Alex Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution to get a sound knowledge on how it all works. You can also check out how the UK blockchain industry currently looks with the TDMB Blockchain Infographic.
David Dhannoo is Social Media Specialist at TDMB. A massive fan of Brutalist architecture, David is very interested in the applications of technology within industry. You can contact Dave on Twitter, or drop him an email directly, to chat about today’s post, as well as his other articles and work for TDMB.