Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin has been quite vocal about the non-financial applications of blockchain technology lately and published an article on June 12 listing several use cases.
In an article titled “Where to Use Blockchain in Non-Financial Applications,” the Ethereum mastermind said that one of the biggest challenges in the cryptographic account system is the issue of changing private keys.
He argued that one use case for blockchain could lie in “user account key changes and rollbacks.”
Per Buterin, the paper “Decentralized Society” (DeSoc), which he co-authored, explores the idea of non-transferable Soulbound tokens (SBT), proposing “to maintain non-transferable , social restoration (or “community recovery”) of records” can solve this problem.
A second use case for blockchain could be “certificate modification and revocation.” Buterin stated that issuing a fully digital record off-chain or on-chain using a non-fungible token (NFT) would make it difficult to modify and revoke as needed. .
“So instead we can use a hybrid solution: turn the initial level into an off-chain signed message and do the on-chain revocation,” he said.
He also noted that this is the approach already used by OpenCerts, a blockchain platform that creates cryptographic protections for educational credentials.
Another example of blockchains being valuable from non-financial perspectives is the “commitment of scarcity“. In a word, blockchains can be used to determine if a certificate has a limited number of permission, which can then affect the effectiveness of that attestation – i.e. the more restrictive, more valuable.
Blockchains are also very powerful because they create “common knowledge,” meaning they can allow participants to access data on-chain and also know others can access it. This makes coordination between multiple parties more possible.
Another potential use case Buterin discussed is open source metrics, a nascent concept for measuring diversity and decentralization.
“An ideal voting mechanism would somehow take into account diversity, giving greater weight to projects that are backed not only by the largest number of coins or even by the largest number of coins,” said Buterin. people, but also by the greatest number of truly divergent points of view,” Buterin said.
Buterin also noted that a “controversial” use case for blockchains is for data storage. He said that since there are other tools for storing data that can better respect user privacy, there is not much need for blockchains. However, there are still certain cases where blockchain can be useful for storing data.
He argues that,
“Blockchains are data storage for short-text records that may or may not be significant, but I expect at least some of those uses will continue to occur. retrievable. whether the app has two or two million users.“
This article comes after, earlier this year, Buterin explored the idea of soul-connected tokens, which are tokens that cannot be sold or separated from their owners. And in mid-May, he co-authored the aforementioned research paper explaining how non-transferable soulbound tokens could create a richer, pluralistic ecosystem in Ethereum, called “Decentralized society” (DeSoc).
Buterin argued that the soulbound token could be used to tokenize trusted social relationships. However, this did not happen without controversy.
“Identity & reputation are complex and subjective variables that can never be characterized by numbers on a blockchain,” argued Polynya, a nicknamed Ethereum researcher at the beginning of June.