Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but it can do so much more than just digital payments. There are currently applications being developed to use blockchain for many more activities than previously thought possible. We are heading past Bitcoin to making money from blockchain — and the whole system.
On the blockchain, documents like property records, secure voting records, authentication of rare and valuable items like art are secured privately. We’ve all heard how much safer our oprivate issues (like health records) but what about even nonsensitive medical records? Even if you want to find a way to make money from the blockchain boom, you aren’t limited to Bitcoin — or even cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin: A Decade Old and Still Misunderstood
People who got in on the ground floor of Bitcoin are sitting pretty. In January of 2011, you could buy over 300 BTC at $100USD. If you held onto it until today, it would be worth $1.7 million. If you held it until Bitcoin was close to $20,000 in December of 2018 it would have been worth nearly $6 million. Unfortunately, most people didn’t have a crystal ball and were unable to purchase Bitcoin when the price was low.
Many people had never heard of Bitcoin, which was already several years old at that time — until it started to become so valuable in 2017. But, yes, a decade old and still misunderstood.
Most people are priced out of Bitcoin at this point, but there are dozens of other types of cryptocurrency out there. By some estimates, there are tens of millions of cryptocurrency users worldwide on various cryptocurrency exchanges, and many of them own multiple different kinds of cryptocurrency.
Digital payments are starting to move more toward cryptocurrency, but Bitcoin wasn’t built to function that way.
Each Bitcoin transaction requires massive amounts of energy and computing power across a vast network to complete, making everyday purchases too cumbersome. Bitcoin can handle seven transactions per second, while Ethereum can do double that. Even Ripple, built for transaction speed, can only handle 1500 transactions per second, compared to Visa’s 24,000 per second.
Other types of cryptocurrency will have to be built with transactions in mind.
While Bitcoin and Ethereum do a great job of preventing tampering and can be trusted with significant transactions, newer types of cryptocurrencies can be built to handle rapid, small transactions like putting gas in your car or buying a soda.
One of the potential upsides is lower to no transaction fees for merchants, while for consumers it can protect your actual currency by only giving access to a digital currency that isn’t necessarily attached to your personally identifying information.
Cryptocurrency Isn’t The Only Way To Earn From Blockchain
As the cryptocurrency bubble has gone up and down, there have been other developments in blockchain technology that warrant our attention. According to the Brookings Institution, blockchain based voting can reduce fraud significantly while increasing voter turnout thanks to the ability to vote from a mobile phone. Blockchain voting is already being used in places like West Virginia, but skeptics are wary the systems will work as intended.
There are also blockchain applications being tested for nonsensitive medical records such as physician office information.
That type of information can be shared across networks to keep records up to date with minimal human hours needed. Because this technology has so many possibilities, it is also an excellent way for investors to invest in a future technology boom.
Here are several different ways to invest in the blockchain:
Invest in physical mining and trading enabling platforms.
These are the nuts and bolts of the operation, used across the board for everything from trading cryptocurrencies to mining cryptocurrencies, without the risk of having to own cryptocurrency.
Invest in companies that provide Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), such as Amazon Web Services and IBM Blockchain.
These companies build the infrastructure and then lease it out for others to use for various applications, a sector that is likely to multiply in the coming years.
Invest in companies that use blockchain for various applications.
Banking on the fact that blockchain is likely to streamline their services in some way and lead to higher profitability.
Invest in emerging blockchain industries and blockchain applications that can disrupt industries.
- Invest in ETF funds, ETNs, Digital Asset Funds, and Futures of the companies that are building, using, or disrupting with blockchain.
There Are Also Many New Ways To Invest In Cryptocurrency Itself
You no longer have to own Bitcoin to have a viable cryptocurrency option in your portfolio. There are several different kinds of cryptocurrency available, and not all of them are even of the coin variety. Security tokens give investors ownership in real-world assets, such as real estate or fine art.
Utility tokens grant access to exclusive products or platforms or allow for secure digital transactions. Non Fungible tokens, such as CryptoKittkes, provide ownership over unique digital assets or collectibles and can end up having monetary value if they become wildly popular.
One can even earn cryptocurrency without purchasing it with money. Attention tokens are a way to reward users for their attention with a cryptocurrency payment — learn something new and earn cryptocurrency for it, or watch an advertisement and earn a reward.
Bitcoin faucets use this type of reward system to pay people with Bitcoin, and today there are multiple types of cryptocurrency faucets out there. You can also win the cryptocurrency lottery through airdrops, which means that if you meet certain conditions, you can be selected at random to receive a spontaneous deposit of cryptocurrency to your hot wallet.
Mining cryptocurrency has also become more accessible than ever.
While you need specialized equipment to mine Bitcoin, you can still mine many other types of cryptocurrency with basic hardware. Run a master node either through your home computer or through a cloud rental service that specializes in mining cryptocurrency. There’s minimal effort involved, and it can earn you some pretty high rewards.
There are also creator platforms that reward contributors with cryptocurrency and status in lieu of money. The more you contribute, the more powerful you become on the platform, and the more cryptocurrency you can earn. People can vote to make you more powerful, and you will earn more, and you can vote for others in turn to do the same.
Get a Job in Blockchain or Cryptocurrency
Currently, there is a severe skills shortage for blockchain developers, which means that salaries are quite high for this emerging skills set. A job in blockchain pays on average 62% more than the national average.
In August of 2018, a surge of 300% more job listings for cryptocurrency and blockchain related professionals were posted than had been published the previous year. If you have technical skills to build these systems, you can almost name your price.
Crypto Jobs List is a great place to start looking for these jobs.
There are jobs listed from all over the world for every specialty from developer to trader to meme specialist (it’s real – look it up). There are also gig economy opportunities for blockchain and cryptocurrency companies if you don’t want to quit your day job. You can even do gigs and get paid in Ethereum if you’d like to diversify your income streams and start a crypto nest egg.
Blockchain Is Just Getting Started
Even if you don’t want to have anything to do with this technology, reality check: you probably already do. Blockchain is booming, and there’s no slowing it down right now. As more uses for this technology are identified, we’re all going to find ourselves talking blockchain at the dinner table.
It’s time to include cryptocurrency in your portfolio diversification plan. If you are thinking about getting your toes wet, do a little bit of research to figure out what blockchain applications you are most comfortable with. You can even opt to work in the blockchain industry in some capacity. You don’t need to get left behind in the blockchain boom.
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.