For many people, blockchain is a fuzzy, complicated concept associated with similarly complex topics such as bitcoin and NFTs. It’s the future, not the here and now.
Benjamin Wilson would disagree.
Wilson is one of the foremost experts in blockchain. The technology has been around since 2009, and he’s been involved since 2013. He is the founder of several blockchain projects, including Lynx, Logware, and Clevver. Dualboot Partners has partnered with Wilson to bring the value, security and accessibility of blockchain data storage to our clients.
Specifically, Wilson is working with Dualboot Partners on DSO, a startup founded by serial entrepreneur Mac Lackey that aims to disrupt the sports fan experience and industry through digital seat ownership. Digital seat ownership gives you the right to own a seat in a stadium and access exclusive benefits, and the blockchain is the foundation that makes this disruption possible.
A concept like digital seat ownership shows us the power and the potential of the blockchain when it comes to the storage of critical data and information.
“The first use case for blockchain was related to financial assets, like Bitcoin,” Wilson said. “Now, it’s about permanently owning your own data assets – like art, historical archives, databases, images, and code. When it comes to data storage, forever is better.”
What does all of that mean? Let’s start with the basics.
What is blockchain?
Decades ago, financial transactions were logged in paper ledgers — books of critical financial data that offered a historical, if imperfect, accounting of critical data. Blockchain is essentially a digital version of that — an unhackable network of computers capable of permanently storing limitless amounts of information across a network of computers around the world.
Wilson describes it as “a platform to relay trust — because the information you’re viewing, no matter what it is, is accurate and authentic. His business philosophy is ‘transparency is trust.’”
Unfortunately, the web is an adversarial space and businesses need a way to protect themselves against “bad actors.” “How do you ensure that content is 100% original and has never been tampered with?” Wilson says.
The answer: Put it on the blockchain.
“Traditionally, it was very expensive to do, but that has changed. It’s also decentralized and doesn’t require you to ask a counterparty for permission when you want to access it,” Wilson says.
Although Bitcoin is the most popular and prevalent example, the use cases for the blockchain extend far beyond that. For instance, Wilson works with a company in Canada that collects data from 100,000 realtors across the country. That company has enlisted Wilson to store transactional data on all homes, and store that information on the blockchain.
“The expectation is that, in 50 years, this company will have data that will show a history of Canada at the real estate level,” Wilson explains. “They’re archiving all this data onto the blockchain inexpensively. They can repackage and sell elements of it later on, and once the data is stored, it can never be edited, deleted or lost.”
The benefits of blockchain
Every day, humans create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data.
Not all of that data should be stored forever (your Twitter profile pic, for instance, doesn’t need to stand the test of time). But for the data we do need to keep intact for the long term, where can it live?
First, the answer was hard drives. Then came cloud storage providers. But both of those options come with certain limitations when it comes to long-term data storage.
Your hard drive, for instance, is vulnerable to viruses or cyberattacks, to getting lost or stolen. It’s also limited in the amount of data it can store before reaching capacity.
Cloud storage is limitless, but it can be expensive. You have to pay monthly (or yearly) to access your own data! And if the credit card linked to your cloud storage account expires, the cloud storage company can shut down your account and sever access to your data.
Blockchain, on the other hand, solves a lot of those shortcomings, with a few other added benefits.
- Blockchain data storage is cost-effective: When you store data on the Lynx blockchain, you only pay once. “Once it’s stored, you can always access it, and there are zero recurring fees.” Wilson explains. “For companies that have critical data and want assurances it’s never going to be lost, you don’t have to trust me,” Wilson says. “If I die or get hit by a bus, your copy is stored on 999 other computers around the world, and you can access it for free whenever you want.”
- Data in a public blockchain is very hard to destroy: There are copies of the blockchain on computers all around the world, so if one goes down, there are more than enough nodes to keep the blockchain running, meaning your data stays secure. Even Wilson’s backups have backups. “To lose data on the blockchain, you’d have to run down every participating computer in the world and destroy it,” Wilson says.
- Data in a public blockchain can be trusted: Once data is written onto the blockchain, it cannot be edited or removed. Even if the data belongs to you, you can’t log in and make an update or a change. You can always access it, but you can never alter it. If a computer is part of the blockchain, it has been verified “at the 1’s and 0’s level” to have a full copy of what all its peers around the world have, Wilson explains. In an era rife with cyberattacks, ransomware, and digital danger – you can trust the blockchain.
What does this mean for businesses?
If you need to store important data for the long-term, the blockchain is a powerful tool.
“In the history of humanity, we’ve never had a technology that allows you to take a piece of data, see no degradation and have it stored for potentially hundreds or thousands of years,” Wilson says. “It’s quite exciting for a business owner or entrepreneur or Fortune 500 company to say, ‘We have this data set. It’s safe, and it can’t be manipulated.’”
And it’s exciting for us at Dualboot Partners to partner with experts like Wilson who can help our clients harness the power of blockchain, whether that’s through cryptocurrency, NFTs, Web3 and more.