By: Andre Boysen, CIO, SecureKey

Blockchain, merged within the sharing economy principles, has the potential to transform our economy and the way we consume goods and services. 

What classifies the “sharing economy?” Many experts have referred to the sharing economy as an umbrella term with a range of meanings, often used to describe peer-to-peer online transactions[1]. Airbnb and Uber are among the most popular examples, allowing apartment and car owners to make money by sharing them for short periods of time.

As technology advances, so does the sharing economy.  In more recent developments, the sharing economy has turned to revolutionary technologies, like blockchain, to advance. Like apartments and cars, other assets such as computing power, storage capacity and even personal data are being shared using blockchain-based developments. It allows resource owners to increase asset utilization – to offset costs of ownership.

For example, Storj, a blockchain-based digital storage and data retrieval method in Atlanta, has recently announced the beta release of its cloud storage platform, which would allow individuals to rent out their unused hard drive space. Companies looking to store data can rent this space, while encryption and other security processes ensure data remains private. Just like Airbnb hosts, renters can choose to stop renting whenever they want.

The substantial difference in the number of computers in the world when compared to apartments/houses or vehicles – with the former far surpassing the latter –  allows for a greater number of people to participate in the shared economy model powered by blockchain-based initiatives. Moreover, thanks to the increasing number of emerging companies that are taking advantage of this model, users can benefit from lower costs, improved trust and transparency and simplified – and almost immediate – transactions at a global scale.

What’s particularly interesting is that the uses of blockchain in the sharing economy are not limited to monetary transactions. Initiatives, such as the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) developed by the University of California, are purely used to voluntarily share compute resources to cure diseases, study global warming and other scientific research projects. Using blockchain-based infrastructure, the BOINC aims to enable researchers to tap into the enormous processing resources of multiple personal computers around the world, with absolutely no monetary exchange.

At SecureKey, we recognized this trend and thought about the ways to leverage it to help achieve our goal of solving the online identity challenge. How do we create trustworthy digital identity for business, without creating a huge identity honeypot, that is distributed to increase resiliency, while also increasing privacy? And it has to be super simple for users (no one should need to understand the security model to transact safely). The solution: blockchain-based solution Verified.Me. With this solution, we are bringing together an ecosystem of trusted organizations across industries – including financial institutions, government services, wireless providers, sharing economy services and many more – to put control of people’s identity in their hands, at no cost. After launch later this year, Verified.Me users will be able to choose what information to share, when to share it and with whom, by using the credentials they already share with their banks, wireless providers or other established Verified.Me partners – all powered by decentralized information.

Blockchain isn’t slowing down, and we’re glad to be a part of the new wave.

[1] Taeihagh, Araz. “Crowdsourcing, Sharing Economies and Development” on Journal of Developing Societies. Vol 33, Issue 2, 2017. June 19, 2017