What are cryptos for (besides money)?

This is a translation of my article that was published by El Economista and Crypto247 on use cases besides money where Algorand is present:

https://www.eleconomista.com.ar/2020-05-ademas-de-dinero-para-que-sirven-las-criptomonedas/

https://www.cripto247.com/comunidad-cripto/para-que-sirven-las-criptomonedas-190827


What are cryptos for (besides money)?


Cryptocurrencies can and are being used for functions that go far beyond money. Here are some real cases to understand how far this new technology can help us.

"Should I invest in cryptocurrencies? They are going up, right?

"Are there 5000 cryptocurrencies? I understand a couple of them, but why so many? ”

Asking these questions about cryptocurrencies is equivalent to the fact that when the Internet emerged, we only cared about the evolution of the price of "dot com". Just as in that case we would be losing all its potential, in the same way, in the case of cryptos, those who only care about their price are missing the enormous value that they can give.

There is clearly a reason for that to happen. The most important cryptocurrency nowadays, Bitcoin (which was also the first), pursues the goal of becoming money, some say as a means of payment, others as a safeguard of value and some even dare to project it as a unit of account. As it has a limited issue, its price fluctuates based on changes in demand, making it an asset that can be used to speculate.

Why if the rest of the cryptocurrencies do not necessarily want to be money, they are called "currencies"?

First of all, let's remember that cryptos are technologies that allow us to transmit value over the Internet without the need for an intermediary (government, banks, etc.). Any use case where it makes sense to remove that intermediary (for a trust issue for example) may be an opportunity to build on crypto.

The use of these platforms has a cost and to pay it it is necessary to do it with the native cryptocurrency of the same blockchain (Bitcoin for the Bitcoin network, Ether for the Ethereum network, something for the Algorand network, etc). This demand is, in part, what gives them value and therefore a market price *.

Now that we know that cryptocurrencies are used for other things, besides money, let me show you some examples that we have in Algorand of uses of cryptocurrency not related to money: 

Digital Identity

FlexFinTx is a software creator that is developing a platform where it will give 400 million Africans the possibility of having a decentralized digital identity.

Hundreds of millions of African citizens are currently struggling for credit or formal employment, as they cannot prove who they are. With just a mobile phone, these people can create a digital identity or "FlexID" designed to be tamper-proof. No organization will be able to access a user's information without first obtaining their permission, and the user has full control over their data.

Environment

Algorand Inc. technology is also being used for environmental protection in a new project called PlanetWatch. 

This is a "spin-off" that arises from the CERN physics research center and that will monitor global air quality. To do this, it will take environmental data thanks to the "Internet of Things" and these will be recorded in an immutable file based on the Algorand Blockchain.

Copyright

SIAE, the world's sixth largest copyright collecting society, will partner with Algorand to develop a new open ecosystem for copyright management. Isn't it ideal to have the author records in an immutable record that does not handle any centralized entity?

Gaming and content development

Nowadays, if someone makes a video game or a good song, they need intermediaries so that those who use them (play, listen, enjoy, etc.) can pay them.

What if instead of having to use those channels (which obviously charge their commission) we could interact directly between creators and users? That is what RHOVIT allows and in order to implement the payment, it will use the Algorand platform. 

Real estate

AssetBlock allows you to invest in real estate in the USA from anywhere in the world using cryptocurrencies as collateral. The means used to do this is the Algorand blockchain, which eliminates errors, low costs and gives the system greater confidence.

COVID 19

Algorand launched a platform to follow up on Covid19 cases in a decentralized manner. In this way, if a person has or had the virus, they can declare it on the platform safely without having to expose their identity. 

In a Blockchain there is no centralized entity that manages the info and therefore it is not necessary to trust a third party that could put privacy at risk. This element is essential to promote the contribution of data.

Using geolocation by cell phone, each user could know if he was close to someone infected, estimate the probability of having been infected and based on that info take the appropriate precautions.

Conclusion

These are some examples and as you can see, the use of cryptocurrencies makes sense far beyond the money function. Although clearly this is the main destination of this technology today, it is important to understand that the possibilities are much broader.

On the other hand, just as crypto is not just money, it does not apply to any use case either. Today, as they became fashionable, many people, companies and governments want to move any process to Blockchain. 

Before implementing solutions in this technology, it is essential to ask yourself: Why do I want to decentralize? Is it worth developing a more complex process simply to avoid having to trust a broker? 

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. It is a technology that helps us to transmit value over the internet without having to trust intermediaries. Only in the future we will be able to clearly discern the full potential of this tool and in cases it is useful and what cases are not.

* Clearly today the price of cryptos does not only reflect this use value but they also have a high speculative component (as can happen for example in the case of stocks).