Blockchain beyond the hype: the search for valuable use-cases
Every Web3 summer was driven by hype - be it NFTs or DeFi. However, for blockchain to achieve mass adoption, the industry has to find real world use cases. Lisk revamps its grant program to research, develop and implement real-world use cases.
A sad record has been broken in 2022. 50 million humans on this planet live in some form of slavery. That is more people than ever before. While there are many reasons - domestic or human trafficking, there is actually one that sticks out: millions of people have either no identity documents or belong to a vulnerable group who have no power over their documentation. That makes it easy for traffickers to keep them under control. No paper, no identity, no rights.
Safety with a thumbprint
Lisk has a project in its grant program that works on the technology that can solve the problem of documentation. The project is aptly called Idntty. Its attributes of immutability and ownership make blockchain ideal for this use-case. Individuals can transfer their passports, birth certificates, drivers licenses and other documents onto the blockchain. They can verify their identity via the blockchain. As this record is immutable and only that individual person has access to it, it can’t be taken away.
In the global north, this digital identity is a nice feature, making life more comfortable. It could replace the paper (or plastic) documents currently in use. In countries where human trafficking is rampant, this could be a life-line for millions. It doesn’t take much imagination to see blockchain technology contributing to the betterment of the human experience on the planet in such an important field. This is what many - and Lisk is no different - went into blockchain in the first place.
Digital, blockchain-based identity could work like a third thumbprint. Let’s envision a future where people can prove their identity with that thumb.
Beyond the hype machines
Until the untimely crash in May 2022, Web3’s most successful products were DeFi, NFTs, Play2Earn and real estate on the metaverse. They were hyped up and equally hyped down again. They all have in common that the main and mostly only motivation of humans to participate was greed - to earn money. Who would play a game like Axie Infinity because it’s great to play? Nobody, as it offered a grinding experience that one only did to earn a few tokens.
Who really needed a plot of virtual land next to the one of Snoop Dogg? In the hype phase - everyone. Now? Not so much. The author of this article had bought a few NFTs “because he loved the artwork”. But when the values tumbled, so did his love for digital art.
It is safe to assume that most web3 fans were in it for the money. What happens if we put 10 people in a room and everybody wants to earn money? How many will earn in the long run? Zero. This appears to be a learning from the “physical laws” of markets. They only work when people want to spend money.
Axie Infinity? Meh. NFTs in Fortnite? Now you’re talking. Hype and subsequent hype machines are good for onboarding humans to web3. But it needs use-cases where customers are happy to spend money. This can be in entertainment - how about a blockchain-based app that allows consumers of social media to tip their favorite videos and insta’s with a few cents? This could make creatives more independent of the goodwill of big platforms where it is known that their will is not always good.
Blockchain from the bean to the mouth
Use cases can also be triggered by the needs of commerce and industry. Take chocolate. High end manufacturers have picked up on the desire of many people to get high quality chocolate, made out of ecological beans from sustainable productions, bought in fair trade. There is more demand for these delicious products than there are quality raw materials available.
Manufacturers battle for the most precious beans as if they were gold. Now there is a supply chain in place - the bean growers, national bodies certifying origin, transport companies, shipping lines, custom officers, the manufacturers themselves. In a market with extremely limited high end goods, there is a potential financial incentive for each link in the supply chain to add inferior quality beans to the mix.
Chocolate manufacturers and many other industries see a growing need to account for their raw materials, they seek transparency for their supply chain. They want to (re-)gain trust with their customer base that their products are what they claim they are. Accountability, transparency and trust. Sounds like a use-case for blockchain, doesn’t it?
Lisk grant program
By the end of 2022, Lisk has onboarded nearly 20 projects into its grant program. The projects range from infrastructure (such as Idntty), to educational gaming and live university courses (Histopia and Lisk Labs), through the more traditional NFT platforms and metaverse worlds (Colecti, Enevti, and Topas City), to market places that may have real impact on current and future economies (Bazar and Jellyspace). “We have onboarded great projects and have learned a lot in the process,” says Dominic Schwenter, Business Development Lead at Lisk. “We are revamping the program for 2023 and I can announce one big cornerstone in our drive to get web3 apps to mass adoption: we will now support the best projects and use-cases with up to CHF 250,000.”
The Lisk grant program helps founders accelerate their growth through access to funding, developer reviews, community building and more. The new grant program, scheduled to launch in Q1 of 2023, will expand this support even further with the addition of external consultants providing expert advice to projects on various topics such as token design and go-to-market strategy.
“2023 will be a great year to test how mature blockchain is for the real world,” says Dominic Schwenter. “Lisk will do its part in this global fact finding mission, and we want to be there for our projects each step of the way.”