With the public meltdown in the cryptocurrency market in 2022 garnering so much attention, it might be easy to miss the opportunities being created by blockchain technologies in other areas. In fact, experts expect that the global blockchain market will generate revenue of over $94.0 billion by the end of 2027. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why DevSkiller reports a 552% increase in interest in blockchain technologies and the developers needed to build blockchain-based solutions.
So, which industries and use cases can benefit most from blockchain technology? What new skills might you need? Which skills will be most useful?
In this blog, we’ll try to answer these questions and give you insights into how you might consider blockchain as a way to future-proof your software development career.
How are organizations leveraging blockchain?
Cryptocurrency may be the first thing you think of when you hear the word “blockchain,” but its capabilities extend far beyond that scope. In fact, companies across many industries are actively using blockchain to:
- Increase transparency: Users in a blockchain system can easily see and monitor transactions, and this increases legitimacy and accountability. Examples include:
- Ensure traceability: Users can see where products originate from and how they move through a supply chain. This is proving especially useful in tracing food products, organic products, and luxury goods. An example includes:
- Luxochain—An authentication service for luxury goods, such as designer handbags, allowing buyers to validate that a seller actually owns the product, and whether that owner is the original owner
- Validate transactions with smart contracts: Programs that automate the execution of an agreement, so that all participants have the ability to immediately validate the agreement’s outcome, without losing any time or requiring the involvement of an intermediary time loss. Smart contracts are especially useful in real estate, business transactions, and bank loans. Here’s one interesting example:
- Enhance event ticketing and attendance: Blockchain can help users avoid misplaced tickets, replace damaged tickets, and prevent quick response (QR) code forgery. These solutions can also offer ticket holders exclusive benefits at the event or even become event memorabilia and valuable collectibles after the event. Solutions based on this proof of attendance protocol (POAP) are gaining traction with large enterprises such as Pepsi:
- At the Strength of a Woman Summit hosted by Mary J. Blige and Pepsi, attendees were offered a selection of four commemorative POAPs featuring artwork from Shaylin Wallace, Rachel Winter, Amber Vittoria, and Varvara Alay. POAPs were displayed live at the event, and attendees could prove physical attendance in the form of digital tokens, while also collecting awesome art.
- Increase community participation with membership passes: With blockchain, brands are discovering new ways to connect to their communities. NFT-based membership passes can offer loyal consumers exclusive rewards that can increase in value over time. NFT projects from Bored Ape Yacht Club’s parent company Yuga Labs are well-known examples, but even global brands are exploring innovative ways to leverage this capability:
- Time, a major global media company is developing a Web3 community to “bring together artists, collectors, and fans in a collaborative manner with the goal of building utility and community value over the long term.”
- Verify identity with soulbound tokens (SBTs): First proposed by Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin and co-authors Glen Weyl and Puja Ohlhaver in a whitepaper published in 2022, SBTs are non-transferrable NFTs that would offer an ideal way to manage permanent records. Medical histories, academic achievements, criminal records, employment status, and more can all be minted to verify one’s identity and reputation. While the concept is still new, one early use case comes from Binance:
- The Binance Account Bound (BAB) token launched in 2022 can be used as proof of identity for Binance users who have completed KYC verification.
- Connecting digital and physical worlds through phygital goods and experiences: Phygital (a compound word composed of “physical” and “digital”) pairs in-real-life (IRL) experiences or physical goods like toys, jewelry, art, and clothing with NFTs, offering brands new ways to engage with consumers. For example:
- The Whiskey Barrel Scotch Club is an NFT brand that authenticates individual bottles of Scotch whiskey on the Solana blockchain. While users assemble their own custom digital collection of Scotch, the company ships the physical bottle that corresponds to each NFT to the physical address provided.
- Creating and selling NFTs using generative AI: The use of generative AI tools such as DALL-E 2 and ChatGPT has soared in the last year. Bringing generative AI into NFT creation is opening up new opportunities, and ultimately, many NFTs may be created almost entirely by Al. Here’s one interesting example:
- Alethea AI and Polygon launched the AI Collectibles campaign, which allows anyone to use Althea’s CharacterGPT, a generative AI system, to rapidly create, train characters, and then trade characters as NFTs on the Polygon blockchain.
What programming languages should you learn for blockchain?
Here’s a quick overview of the major blockchain programming language options and where they are most commonly used.
|Blockchain language||Common uses|
|C++||A little-known fact in the blockchain world is that Bitcoin is written in C++. It’s also used in Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Stellar, and Monero. Its speed and efficiency make this highly versatile language an excellent choice for blockchain and other web3 projects.|
|Golang (Go Programming language)||Originally designed at Google in 2007, Golang is an open-source programming language focused on simplicity, reliability, and efficiency.|
|Python||With its simple syntax, Python has become one of the most popular blockchain programming languages. Developers use Python to write smart contracts for Hyperledger Fabric as well as for Neo.|
|R3 Corda||R3 Corda uses Kotlin and Java, and it is mainly used to build distributed ledger applications for the financial industry. As an open permissioned blockchain, Corda shares data only with the parties involved in the transaction.|
|Rust||A general-purpose blockchain programming language that was first developed in 2006 by former Mozilla developer, Graydon Hoare.
Developers widely consider Rust for building immutable, innovative, and secure blockchain solutions. It is ideal for projects such as Solana, Polkadot, Hyperledger Sawtooth (for financial institutions), and the privacy coins Zcash (for anonymous transactions).
Rust is also used to build smart contracts on blockchains like NEAR.
|Solidity||Built specifically for creating smart contracts on Ethereum, one of the most popular decentralized software platforms powered by blockchain technology. It is widely known for ether (ETH), its native cryptocurrency.|
When it comes to blockchain, the key is staying curious
It’s exciting to learn about all the unique and innovative ways blockchain is being applied in the world today. By expanding our knowledge and building new skills, we can make sure that we’re part of this rapidly growing area of software development. I hope this post will inspire you to continue learning and helping others who may need your encouragement and insights. As Charles Darwin wrote:
“It’s not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survives, but the one that’s most adaptable to change.”
Hyperledger Vs Corda Vs Ethereum: The Ultimate Comparison. Jan 20th, 2023.
Top 11 Programming Languages Used in Blockchain Development. Jan 20th, 2023.
All You Need to Know about Blockchain Programming. Jan 20th, 2023.
The Top Programming Languages Used For Blockchain Development. Jan 20th, 2023.
The most popular programming languages used in blockchain development. Jan 20th, 2023.
5 Unique NFT Use Cases That Will Dominate 2023. Jan 20th,2023. https://nftnow.com/features/5-unique-nft-use-cases-that-will-dominate-2023/