Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency have been a major news topic for a few years. The most important component of the whole concept is the blockchain, which is designed to allow secure and verifiable transactions without the need for a centralized data hub – a bank, for instance.
Instead, blockchain uses a shared ledger to keep a public record of all transactions. By using unique identifiers for each component (or “block”) of a transaction, and by replicating the blockchain on several devices throughout a network, the system is able to verify complex transactions and detect any attempts to tamper with it. There’s a great explainer video here.
The idea behind blockchain is to create trust when it comes to verifying transactions, even when the transaction is happening between complete strangers. The blockchain concept is so in demand that unrelated companies are seeing benefits by just mentioning it in their name. And as trust becomes more of a challenge in the digital future, publicly verified transactions will grow in popularity and value.
So, is blockchain the hot new premise promising to solve all our security troubles? Or will it eventually be seen as an accomplice to the volatility and unpredictability of cryptocurrency? Once the dust settles and legitimate uses are separated from the noise, understanding how this tech changes trust for our clients will be paramount. Understanding the basics of the blockchain may be a necessary part of the future -- whether your clients are starting a distributed AI platform or selling ice tea.
Another facet of cryptocurrency making its way into the public eye is the initial coin offering (ICO). Businesses and entities are offing their own versions of cryptocurrency to raise funding or to create a marketplace for blockchain-based services. Think of it as a mix between Kickstarter and a publicly accessible venture capital system.
By selling “Coins,” a company provides investors greater liquidity -- and in the current crypto climate, a certain amount of cachet. If the project being funded is based on blockchain, the opportunity to mine these coins forms the basis of a distributed network of computers. That network is needed to support the workload of the service being provided.
Recently, some entities have come under fire, as this underregulated financial tool is ripe for exploitation. Startups looking for funding will sometimes flirt with using an ICO to raise money. Here too, the more we understand, the better we can advise our clients on how to garner customer trust.
Being familiar with new tools for establishing trust, including blockchain technology, will help us to understand the changing landscape. Understanding the data our clients are gathering and the potential consequences of AI will help guide our new business decisions. Some of these technologies are confusing, but they are built on the same human desire for progress that have powered the past.
So while the technological details may be new, the underlying rules are the same as they’ve ever been: Marketing and advertising have always been about trust. As communicators, we inherently know this. The value of organic coverage has never been more valuable. At the same time, it will be increasingly difficult to rely on old methods to garner trust in our messaging.
Here are several additional articles and resources for further study on this topic.
- Blockchains are the new fraud fighters
- Why you want blockchain-based AI, even if you don’t know it yet
If you’d like to speak to someone about how Airfoil can help you create trust with your audience and help shape your communications within the changing technology landscape, connect with us here and be sure to check out Part 1 & 2 of the series which addresses additional disruptive trends on the horizon: