It’s clear to see that blockchain technology is growing in popularity at a fast rate. While widespread adoption has not yet been achieved, its relevance and impact are proving to be huge. Ethereum, in particular, is among the many blockchain-based innovations whose popularity is continuing to increase. There is a noticeable boost in the number of organizations that are embracing Ethereum technology for new projects. The sheer variety of projects that are utilizing Ethereum as their main foundation is practically boundless.
If you take a look at the State of the DApps website, it will show you how many Ethereum projects exist. Not just in the different categories, but also how popular they are. With this website, you can explore an extensive amount of popular decentralized applications (DApps). If you want to stay up-to-date about trending DApps, then this website serves as a great resource for it.
Admittedly, these Ethereum projects are nothing overly tremendous. If anything, they are just a small sample of all that is really out there. They will give you some exposure to – and a taste of – what others are doing with the incorporation of Ethereum. This article will highlight 10 use cases that pertain to the utilization of Ethereum. With luck, you might discover some new ideas for exciting ways in which Ethereum can help transform your project.
A brief overview
Let’s first provide some context on why Ethereum is such a popular technology to use as a foundation. It is an open-source, decentralized software platform that utilizes blockchain technology. The most common use of this platform is for its own cryptocurrency, ether. It enables the construction and operation of both smart contracts and DApps. And it does so all without any third parties engaging in downtime, fraud, control, or interference of the project.
As a whole, Ethereum is a peer-to-peer network consisting of virtual machines (EVM). These machines are ones that any developer can use in order to properly run DApps. These computer programs could be almost anything, but the network’s design allows it to carry out rules. Specifically, rules that mechanically execute upon the meeting of certain conditions; very similar to a contract. In fact, Ethereum makes use of its very own decentralized public blockchain. With this, it can cryptographically store, execute, and ultimately protect these contracts.
Each computer that is on their network downloads a small virtual machine. This machine syncs with the Ethereum blockchain and maintains availability for the execution of any and all contracts. In a convenient twist, this distributed network of computers offers security, reliability, and computing power. These are necessary factors when it comes to carrying out designed arrangements.
As one can probably imagine, this consensus network is not free, nor is it private. Therefore, the only time developers use it is for consensus on outcomes and when their data can go public.
In a nutshell, Ethereum aspires to be a ‘world computer’. In essence, something that would decentralize – and, to many, democratize – the pre-existing client-server model.
With the incorporation of Ethereum, thousands of ‘nodes’ will replace servers and clouds. The operators of these nodes are volunteers that live all over the globe, thereby forming a “world computer.” The overall vision is that Ethereum will be able to facilitate this same functionality to people anywhere in the world. In turn, it will allow them to compete against each other to offer services on this infrastructure.
Let’s use the act of scrolling through a typical app store as a relatable example. When doing this, you will see a wide variety of colorful squares that represent an array of activities. From banking to messaging to fitness, all of the apps are there on display and ready for purchase. These apps rely heavily on the company (or another third-party service) to store your credit card information. Moreover, providing storage for your purchasing history and other personal data. The location of this storage is usually in servers that third parties control.
Your choice of apps is obviously also under the control of third parties. Apple and Google, for instance, maintain and curate – or, sometimes, censor – the specific apps you can download.
With that in mind, take the example of an online document service such as Evernote or Google Docs. Assuming all goes according to plan, Ethereum would make a change regarding control. It could return that control over the data in these services to its owner. Furthermore, it could return the creative rights to its original author.
Getting a wallet
The first step to using Ethereum is acquiring a place to securely store your ether. Or, at the very least, a place to store your private keys. This is where Ethereum ‘wallets’ come in.
There are an array of options for wallets to store cryptocurrency. Some of these include desktop wallets, web wallets, hardware wallets, and paper wallets. Now when it comes to picking the best one, that is entirely subjective. Like anything, choosing one depends solely on your preferences for convenience, as well as security. Oftentimes, these two concepts find themselves at odds with each other. Put simply, the more convenient the wallet, the worse the security is, and vice versa.
So, you now have a wallet. What about actually getting your hands on some ether?
Well, the fact is, acquiring ether varies by country. Alternatively, it varies by currency. You will need to track down someone either online or in-person who has ether. Moreover, someone who actually wants to trade. You always have the option of meeting in-person to buy or sell ether. This is possible if you live in a city with frequent ethereum meetups, like New York or Toronto.
That, however, is not always an option in areas with a significantly smaller population. Exchanges typically allow users to purchase ether directly with the use of dollars or bitcoin. Most of the time, there is a sign-up process, and buying ether with another currency may take an extra step.
Out of all the thousands of cryptocurrencies that are available, Bitcoin is by far the most popular. Because of this, there is a better chance of people all around the world wanting to trade for it in their currency. For example, let’s say that you want to purchase ether for rubles. In this case, the easiest way might be to purchase bitcoin at an exchange. Afterward, you can then trade that for ether.
As soon as you have ether, you can send it directly to another person; in other words, conduct a ‘peer-to-peer’ exchange. There is a storing possibility that there will be a small transaction fee, which will be paid to the miners. Users with ether in their possession can join or create smart contracts. In other words, they can create code that automatically executes the terms of an agreement.
Regardless of the functional diversity in each project, they all have one thing in common. Each one of their constructions took place on Ethereum. The projects below use smart contracts running on the EVM to execute functionality. Moreover, they each use the Ethereum blockchain as a way to store state data.
1 – Gnosis uses Ethereum as a way to predict future events
Gnosis is one of many innovative companies that is utilizing Ethereum’s system in interesting ways. Gnosis provides users with a solid platform for prediction markets. The product, Gnosis Olympia, is the alpha version of what their platform is. By using Olympia, participants will get an initial balance of Olyseum (OLY) tokens, which pretends money they can use in Olympia. With it, participants are able to make predictions on a wide variety of topics. Those who participate have the potential to win GNO tokens (Gnosis’ native token) if they make successful predictions.
2 – Aragon uses Ethereum to oversee decentralized organizations
Aragon is a platform that focuses primarily on aiding the management of decentralized organizations. These are groups that often suffer from a severe lack of both infrastructure and functionality. Those who participate in Aragon’s platform will purchase Aragon Network Tokens (ANT) from one of many popular cryptocurrency exchanges. Afterwards, they use ANT as a means to pay for Aragon services.
3 – Augur uses Ethereum to help crowdsource event predictions
Augur is another platform that you can add to the prediction market category. Similar to Gnosis, participants are able to record events before providing a prediction on the probable outcome of the event. Augur rewards its participants with REP tokens (Augur’s native token) in exchange for providing accurate data. Specifically, data that relates to the event. Moreover, participants receive these tokens from voting with the majority.
4 – Exchange tokens with the IDEX platform
There are thousands of ERC-20 tokens that are currently in use. Obviously, before you can use a token to pay for something, you first need to obtain it. While there are some tokens that are free, others you must purchase. In order to buy a token, you need to exchange currency or cryptocurrency. To do this, you will need an organization that provides exchange services.
IDEX is a decentralized exchange (DEX) whose specialty is in trades occurring between ETH and ERC-20 tokens. It validates transactions within its smart contract and it is all without having to wait for Ethereum block mining.
5 – Breed and collect Cryptokitties with the use of Ethereum
The focus of Ethereum is not just on cryptocurrency and business purposes. As a matter of fact, there are an array of fun games in the Ethereum space. Among the most popular games of this type is Cryptokitties. It is one of the first Ethereum-based games and its popularity only continues to grow. This revolutionary game introduces the concept of blockchain-based crypto-collectibles, with the Cryptokitties being collectibles themselves.
6 – Share what’s on your mind on the blockchain with the use of EtherTweet
As the name implies, EtherTweet is a blockchain alternative to the popular social network platform, Twitter. The main difference between the two is that EtherTweet is censorship-free. This is due to all messages being put into storage on the Ethereum blockchain. Moreover, you are able to post up to 160 characters.
Admittedly, prices will change based on whatever the current value of ether is. However, the cost of creating an EtherTweet account is only about 2 cents. Not only that, but each tweet costs roughly one-third of a cent.
7 – Use Ethereum as a way to construct your digital identity with uPort
The uPort DApp is an innovative initiative that has a very simple objective. It aims to provide each and every user with a decentralized identity, which is in the storage on the Ethereum blockchain. All the users need to do is register their identity via uPort. Upon authentication, users will be able to use the uPort digital identity to sign digital contracts. What’s more, they can interact with other services that require legitimate identities.
8 – Buy and sell computing power with Golem through the use of Ethereum
Golem is a decentralized marketplace where you can buy and sell computing power. For some, they have excess computing power that they want to sell. For others, they need to temporarily rent more computing power in order to finish a project. Whatever the reason may be, Golem is the ideal platform. You are able to use Golem supercomputers following payment with the native token, GNT. Alternatively, you can earn GNT in exchange for allowing others to use your excess computing power.
9 – Search for the perfect job with EthLance by using Ethereum
EthLance is a distributed platform that is ideal for freelancers and employers alike. With it, they can find each other, engage in jobs, and transfer ether payments. EthLance is part of the district0x network, which consists of decentralized communities and marketplaces. Among many of EthLance’s outstanding features is its lack of fees.
10 – Use TenX as a way to pay with ether and various other cryptocurrencies
TenX is a platform that allows customers to use ether and other cryptocurrencies at retailers. These currencies provide a way for them to pay for purchases worldwide. A majority of retailers do not necessarily support cryptocurrencies. However, TenX was successful in creating their own line of crypto debit cards, as well as credit cards. These effectively link up with its proprietary crypto wallet. In addition, the TenX cards construct a bridge between cryptocurrencies and conventional payment vehicles.