How the technology that powers crypto is being used for more than money


From powering cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), it seems as however the blockchain technology is almost everywhere.

Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that outlets and documents info, and is finest identified for facilitating transactions for electronic currencies such as bitcoin.

It also has quite a few people hoping to get abundant, by investing in digital assets like GIFs and artworks — some of which sell for thousands and thousands, like the digital art Everydays: the To start with 5,000 Days by American artist Beeple, which sold for $69.3 million U.S. in 2021. The technological innovation has also been criticized for its harmful environmental influence.

But traders and famous people are not the only kinds investing in the technology or the cryptocurrencies that blockchain enables.

In B.C., Indigenous artists are leveraging blockchain to protected their artwork, while scientists are researching how the know-how can far better protect personalized health info.

Indigenous NFT art

In an ethereal studio in Burnaby, B.C., artist David Fierro of the Okanagan Country results in drums using traditional hides, like those people of elk, and acrylic paint that would seem to occur alive under black light.

But the drums, part of the 400 Drums project, aren’t made to be sold as they are. When performed, the instrument is photographed and marketed as a non-fungible token or NFT.

An NFT is a electronic asset that normally exists on the Ethereum blockchain, and stores unique info that includes a history of ownership and transactions. NFTs cannot be replicated, and unlike cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, just about every NFT has a unique value.

That unique nature is one of the causes NFTs appeal to Indigenous artists like Fierro, as the theft, replication and product sales of inauthentic Indigenous art remains a major trouble, even at major galleries.

Indigenous artist David Fierro of the Okanagan Nation generates these handmade drums, which are photographed and turned into NFTs. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The means to history and validate the authenticity of an artwork through blockchain is also captivating to Tamara Goddard, Fierro’s company spouse. Goddard is the head of 400 Drums, a marketing campaign supporting Indigenous creators harnessing on line platforms to share teachings and tales.

Fierro and Goddard plan to promote the NFTs on the OpenSea platform for 1 ether — the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain — which is roughly equivalent to $4,200.

The money will support initiatives for Indigenous youth and artists, which include media teaching and workshops for starting off their very own NFT initiatives.

“Our art is our benefit, our artwork is our lawful society. We truly feel that as Indigenous peoples, we will need to enter this room to protect the reliable mother nature of art as a benefit, artwork as funds,” claimed Goddard, who is of the Saulteau Initially Nation.

“It is a extremely very good in shape for us due to the fact we believe that that the NFT, even while it really is a electronic asset that you might be keeping, will choose on a monetary benefit and increase in value as does all of our Indigenous artwork.”

Securing health facts

At the University of British Columbia’s faculty of info, study is also currently being conducted on how the technological know-how can aid defend wellbeing information.

Victoria Lemieux, associate professor of archival science and a single of the number of gals in the planet leading a research lab centered on blockchain, is performing on a “private health and fitness wallet,” where wellness facts is securely saved on a person’s smartphone using blockchain.

Victoria Lemieux is exploring how blockchain know-how could be utilised to protected personalized wellbeing information on a smartphone. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The engineering, she suggests, is extra secure than recent information systems because it does not count on normal security measures like passwords, and it decentralizes information unlike shared third-occasion services like the cloud.

This indicates details on the blockchain is significantly less susceptible to hackers that might want to perspective or adjust any of that info, she suggests.

“They are not attaining access to this significant pool of data that they can maintain for ransom,” she said. “They have to get the job done tougher to get smaller sized bits of details.”

The wellbeing wallet she’s functioning on will allow for people today to share well being facts with a medical professional securely and proficiently, she claims, and let folks to maintain their information from remaining used for analysis reasons.

“If you’ve had, for illustration, some kind of a transplant, you’ll have quite a few different health professionals, you can expect to have pharmacists and so on. All of that information and facts needs to be introduced with each other to assist the care staff glance soon after you proficiently, but it is really pretty siloed ideal now,” she explained.

“It truly is all element of this trend to empower men and women to control their facts, just take power absent from platforms that have tended to hoover up our information without the need of asking.”


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