Five Blockchain Projects Worthy of Mass Adoption

Every advocate of blockchain technology has their favorite decentralized applications (dApps), i.e. projects that are built off a blockchain. The most popular are Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, this post will evaluate those dApps which aren't known to the general public, but should be, as they contain utility value for today's world. There will not be included any coins like Bitcoin or Monero, or underlying smart contract platforms like Ethereum or EOS. Reason being is because those blockchains developed for payments or smart contracts are in abundance and in high competition with one another. An entire post or two can be dedicated to all the projects in each of these two categories alone.

For now, this post will focus on dApps that are re-shaping certain industries in today's world. Most people aren't aware of how revolutionizing blockchain technology can be in the future and is right now. Consequently, the dApps mentioned below are fully functional and ready for user adoption (except for Storj, which will launch this fall), so the majority of people can get a taste of the benefits that blockchain technology provides. For more information regarding each dApp, click on its name to open its website, or click on the white paper link for an in-depth explanation of all the project's aspects. 

1. Augur

White Paper

Augur is a platform that hosts decentralized prediction markets where a user can buy and sell shares of an outcome of any event, ranging from the weather to government elections. If the future of any given entity is uncertain, then essentially you can bet on its outcomes. Augur is built on the Ethereum blockchain, so all the perks of blockchain tech is incorporated. There are plenty of markets to take part in, and if there doesn't exist one for the event you want to bet on, you can just create your own market for it. To enter a market, a user buys and sells shares (the probable results) with ETH. Augur has its own token which is utilized in a rather intensive way:

Reputation (REP) is a cryptocurrency, used by reporters during market dispute phases of Augur. REP holders must perform work, in the form of staking their REP on correct outcomes, to receive a portion of the markets settlement fees. If you do not report correctly, you do not get the fees. If you report incorrectly, you lose your REP. If you don’t participate in a fork (when the network has a very large dispute over an outcome), you lose 5% of your REP. Passive holders of Reputation (REP) that are not using their Reputation (REP) within the Augur protocol to stake on disputes and forks are penalized. The treatment of REP within the Augur protocol is governed not by the Forecast Foundation but by the protocols smart contracts as described in the Augur white paper and documentation.

The Forecast Foundation is simply a group of developers and tech professionals whose goal is to support technologies like Augur. They have no power over the dApp. Once everything is settled and the market is resolved, users who hold shares of the winning outcome are then paid out from the market contract. The market creator, along with the REP holders that did the reporting and disputing, are awarded their fees.

This article is a great beginners guide that goes more depth into what Augur is and how it operates.

Why Blockchain Based Prediction Markets?

In order to make well-calculated decisions today, people need to have assurances of certain outcomes. Prediction markets exist to further the idea known as wisdom of the crowd , which implies that "large groups of people are collectively smarter than even individual experts when it comes to problem solving, decision making, innovating and predicting." Being built off the blockchain gives these prediction markets an advantage by easily allowing people from around the world to come together and provide trustworthy (thanks to winning incentives) and immutable predictions. 

Weather services are the best example of a prediction market that people rely on to make decisions, especially for farmers. Sadly, weather forecasters are infamous in the realm of bad predictions. However, if all weather services pooled their information together and predicted on a forecast in a certain region for a specific time horizon, then farmers would be able to access this data through a platform like Augur. This allows the farmers to determine how much they should invest into their crops since the prediction market will yield an either good or bad harvest, thus giving the farmers valuable information about their return on investments. 

Prediction markets also can impact hedging, "hedging is the ability to reduce one’s risk exposure to a given event. This is already very common in the financial world through derivatives such as forwards and futures. For example, an apple farmer can lock in the price he will sell his apples for in the future by making a deal with the apple pie maker. This financial transaction is called a forward contract and removes the risk for both parties from volatile apple prices. However, today it isn’t possible to hedge risk in the more random or one-off events that can exist, especially in less developed countries...the value of blockchains for hedging risk like this opens the possibility for anyone to hedge as long as someone’s on the other side. In extension of this I can see all sorts of new types of insurance being created." This article also touches on "oracles" in blockchain prediction markets, which help keep an outcome's integrity and to make sure it best reflects reality. This problem of maintaining integrity is solved different ways by dApps who host prediction markets. As a result, Augur has competitors like Gnosis and Bodhi.

2. Steemit

White Paper

Steemit is a social media platform similar to reddit but differs based on the fact that it's built off the Steem blockchain. From its whitepaper: "Steem is a blockchain database that supports community building and social interaction with cryptocurrency rewards...steem is the first cryptocurrency that attempts to accurately and transparently reward an unbounded number of individuals who make subjective contributions to its community." When you create a Steem account, you also have access to other social media platforms that it hosts, like DTube (the decentralized version of YouTube). Steemit is favored among many since it has generated its users a lot of money, over 40 million USD rewards paid since June 2016.

Steem has a rather complicated ecosystem. There are well over 100 dApps and tools that have been created on the Steem blockchain, a look at them all can be found here. The categories of these projects aren't limited to only media platforms, as there are wallet, trading, and programming tools along with e-commerce markets. Primarily, developers are building social media platforms off the Steem blockchain. One reason being is to allow creators to make money off each other through community incentives known as "Proof-of-Brain" which is "a type of tokens rewards algorithm that encourages people to create and curate content. It enables tokens to be distributed by "upvote" and "like"-based algorithms and can be integrated with websites to align incentives between application owners and community members to spur growth." 

This token reward system is Steem's Smart Media Tokens (SMT). Publishers of content, regardless of which website it's posted on, can create their own SMT. Content tokenization, much like security tokenization, is a way to collect capital. In this case, content publishers will raise capital by selling tokens to their subscribers who can also be rewarded with tokens by commenting. Click here for other intriguing SMT use cases.

Why Blockchain Based Social Media?

The internet has seen an explosion of content creators through the past few years. Whether you are creating cinematic YouTube videos, writing blogs on Tumblr or Medium, live streaming on Twitch, or uploading photos on Instagram, today's average creator isn't being sufficiently paid for their content. Ad-revenue is hard to generate if you don't have a large following, and when you do generate money from advertisements, large portions of it are taken by the platform your content is on. 

With the advent of blockchain technology, earning money through social media has become more achievable for creators large and small. With the Proof-of-Brain concept, communities of creators and consumers can easily be established and sustained. Even more exciting is the possibility to tokenize your content with your own Smart Media Token (SMT). Steem provides developers with the ground work to create social media platform counterparts that are decentralized and pay creators their due.

3. Storj

White Paper

Storj is one of a few dApps that is taking cloud storage to a whole new level with blockchain technology. From their FAQ page: Storj is a "platform, cryptocurrency, and suite of decentralized applications that allows you to store data in a secure and decentralized manner. Your files are encrypted, shredded into little pieces called 'shards', and stored in a decentralized network of computers around the globe. No one but you has a complete copy of your file, not even in an encrypted form. Because of this, Storj can be faster, cheaper, and more secure than traditional cloud storage platforms. Faster because multiple machines are serving you your file simultaneously, cheaper because you are renting people's spare hard-drive space instead of paying for a purpose-built data center, and more secure because your file is both encrypted and shredded."

How exactly does one rent out their extra hard drive space? Running Storj Share allows for this operation, which is called "Drive Farming":

Users allocate a portion of their available hard drive space and specify a folder on their drive to store network data. This space stores small encrypted shards of Storj users’ files. This means that no farmer holds the entire file that a user uploaded, and because the file is encrypted, it's unlikely that the farmer could read it anyway. If someone attempts to access and alter the files that they are storing, the shard will fail the next challenge issued by the owner of the data. This will result in the malicious node being dropped, and the network will select another location to store the shard. And of course, the network doesn’t pay cheating nodes. The simple Storj Share GUI will allow you to specify how much storage space you want to share, add a STORJ address (an ERC20 compatible wallet) for payments, and specify a Storj node to use. Then, when people upload files via Storj, if your node is online, you will start getting file chunks hosted on your drive and you will get a reward for them.

Why Blockchain Based Cloud Storage? 

Granted, most users are satisfied with the current cloud storage providers, and getting them to transfer to a newly developed dApp like Storj would be quite the marketing endeavor. As most dApps exist now, they are primarily being used by those who have trust issues with centralized third parties and a desire to keep their information secure. However, blockchain based cloud storage projects can grab a broader customer base by being more cost-effective than other cloud storage providers. Also, current popular cloud storage applications like Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, and OneDrive are of course centralized and susceptible to data breaches, making them unappealing to the customer base. 

An average user of cloud storage doesn't necessarily have a desire to understand the technology behind it. Rather, all they want to know is how secure it is and how much it costs. For one, information doesn't get more secure if stored on a public blockchain. Encryption through cryptography, decentralization through nodes, and the immutable nature of blockchain are all enhanced security measures.

As for price, the utilization of blockchain reduces the costs for performing multiple actions that must be done in order for a cloud storage application to operate. Yes, some centralized providers offer free storage to users, but the storage limit is small and costs increase depending on the storage amount. Cloud storage providers using blockchain are able to offer a lot of space with a very small price tag because, as quoted above, an individual's hard-drive space that is unused can be rented out to those on the Storj platform. Getting people to switch to decentralized cloud storage providers like Storj shouldn't be that difficult, especially with the rising popularity of blockchain technology.

4. Brave and Basic Attention Token

White Paper

Brave is a web browser famously founded by Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript and co-founder of Mozilla. The goal of Brave is to enhance the world wide web by allowing a user to browse the internet faster and more securely since Brave "blocks the ads and trackers that slow you down, chew up your bandwidth, and invade your privacy. Brave even lets you contribute to your favorite creators automatically." These contributions are known as Brave Payments, which use the cryptocurrency Basic Attention Token (BAT). Since Brave blocks ads, it offers a contribution system to support creators. By utilizing BAT, Brave is taking digital advertising to another level as the token "can be used to obtain a variety of advertising and attention-based services on the Brave platform. The utility of the token is based on user attention, which simply means a person’s focused mental engagement." When employed in conjunction, this ecosystem benefits the user, publisher, and advertiser:

The Brave browser knows where users spend their time, making it the perfect tool to calculate and reward publishers with BATs. This service creates a transparent and efficient Blockchain-based digital advertising market. Publishers receive more revenue because middlemen and fraud are reduced. Users, who opt in, receive fewer but better targeted ads that are less prone to malware. And advertisers get better data on their spending.

Users can load their wallet with BAT, and are able to specify how much of their BAT will be donated to their favorite creators each month. Who gets what of a specific user's BAT is calculated based off the users "attention". So, if you spend 100% of your time on Brave viewing the content of one creator, 100% of the BAT you desired to donate will go to that one creator for that month.

Click here to learn about how to become a verified publisher on Brave.

Why Blockchain Based Web Browsers? 

You here it in the news all the time: user privacy continually being violated and their data being hijacked, along with the controversy over net neutrality. Facebook recently has been under heavy scrutiny as it became known that Facebook was aware of a large scale theft in data, but proceeded to do nothing about it. Mark Zuckerberg even had to testify before Congress to address Facebook's failing to protect users' information. The social media site has over a billion users, and the problem of correctly protecting user privacy and information exists with many other large platforms.

So how can blockchain be incorporated to solve these most crucial issues facing users of the web? In the case of the Brave browser, blockchain tech is put into action with the incorporation of BAT. To my understanding, the web browser itself is not a dApp, but it does more to secure the user's information by keeping all the private data on the device. Thanks to blockchain enabled tokens, the Brave ecosystem is able to offer a multitude of incentives to users, publishers, and advertisers that other browsers can't.

5. Golem

White Paper

Similar to how Storj allows a person to rent out their storage space, Golem allows a person to rent out their computing power. Golem is described as a supercomputer, which thanks to running off the Ethereum blockchain, is open source, decentralized, and can be used by global participants. Because this dApp is able to pull together computing power (whether it be from an individuals PC or a complete data centers) from around the world, intensive and complex computing tasks like "CGI rendering, scientific calculation, and machine learning" can be done cheaply and more quickly. Therefore, Golem allows more people to access these applications who otherwise wouldn't be able to because their PC is too slow.

Like Storj, Golem provides a sharing economy. But, instead of sharing storage, users on the Golem platform are sharing computing power. From their white paper: "Golem connects computers in a peer-to-peer network, enabling both application owners and individual users ("requestors") to rent resources of other users’ ("providers") machines. These resources can be used to complete tasks requiring any amount of computation time and capacity...also core to Golem’s built-in feature set is a dedicated Ethereum-based transaction system, which enables direct payments between requestors, providers, and software developers." A visual aid of the participants in the Golem ecosystem:

The Golem platform is for software developers as Steem is for content creators. Meaning, software developers can publish their software to the Golem platform in order to monetize it. The payment is done using Golem's token which is also called Golem (GNT). The homepages linked in this post for each dApp usually have an explanation video on their site. I highly suggest checking out Golem's video as it's very well put together and will help wrap your mind around its concept.

Why Blockchain Based Cloud Computing? 

For more information on cloud computing, this article is suggested. In summary, just like you would use iCloud as an off-device storage option to backup photos to, there are cloud service platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) that offer computing power and "other functionality to help businesses scale and grow." Businesses and individuals choose platforms like AWS so that they don't have to construct and maintain their own computing power infrastructures on site. Rather, it can be acquired through the cloud (i.e. the internet). Other cloud computing service providers include Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. However, as the Golem white paper states: "such resources are supplied by centralized cloud providers which, are constrained by closed networks, proprietary payment systems, and hard-coded provisioning operations." 

That pretty much sums up why a decentralized cloud computing platform like Golem is going to take over the industry. Again, like stated above with Storj, the customer base doesn't want to know the technical workings of such platforms. All they want to know is: how much? How secure? And how fast? With the blockchain, as stated many times before, platforms like Golem can provide high speed computing power for a low cost. As a side-note, there are three categories of cloud computing services that providers offer: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). To my knowledge, I do not believe centralized cloud service platforms like AWS can offer all three services. Golem on the other hand is capable of such deliverance.


Each of the above dApps brings individuals together to produce some sort of outcome, they are all considered peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Augur brings people together to create reliable predictions, Steem enables a profitable community of content creators, Brave produces a contribution system beneficial for all participants, and Storj and Golem brings people together to create a shareable ecosystem. All except Steemit run off the  Ethereum blockchain. Which just goes to show how valuable of a platform Ethereum is. All but Storj (launching very soon) are available for anyone to use. This goes to show how far blockchain dApps have come, and how they're already beginning to revolutionize industries. As seen in the picture below, each of the dApps mentioned in this post have competitors. Although, I believe Augur, Steemit, Brave (along with Basic Attention Token), Storj, and Golem will continue to be leaders of their fields and great investments. 

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