There is a new wave of coders and hackers looking to upend the entire internet, signaling the start of a brand new space race.
No, this isn’t an episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, this is actually happening.
Currently, the internet is built by large centralized services including server owners, data managers, cloud providers, search engines, telecommunication companies, and social media websites. And these entities are beginning to expand their reach.
Internet security and net neutrality are quickly becoming hot topics as more people become aware of the dangers of centralization. And for good reason. Google, Amazon, and Facebook are racing to create new infrastructure that could very well threaten the internet freedom which we have grown accustomed to. The way data is used and abused by massive corporations is taking center stage in discussions regarding the future of the internet, and people are demanding change.
And it’s no surprise that the crypto-fanatics are looking to disrupt this pattern, with some even looking towards the stars for solutions.
Blockchain, the tech that built bitcoin, and 2017’s hottest buzzword, could very well be the answer.
The technology has the potential to disrupt nearly every industry imaginable, and the internet is no exception. Everything is heading to the blockchain, from energy trading to citizenship identification. No stone will be left unturned.
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It brings a voice to the voiceless, accountability to the unaccountable, financial services to those without resources, ownership to those lost in the system, and even identity to the stateless. On top of all of this, it could allow smaller entities a stake in some of the biggest and most powerful industries on the planet, which will ultimately chip away at the entire notion of “too big to fail.”
“The possibilities of this technology are limitless - it is a paradigm shift that will impact every industry in every corner of the world. Any centralized market place that is dominated by a few middle men is likely to be taken over by blockchain technology. Anything you can think of where the marketplace can become more democratic,” says Steve Nerayoff, CEO of Global Blockchain Technologies Corp. (TSX:BLOC,OTCMKTS:BLKCF) the world’s first publicly traded stock that invests in top-tier blockchain and digital currency innovations.
Indeed, this technology has the potential to create an entirely new internet, or at least, an entirely new way to share data in a completely decentralized fashion. And while this is still a long-term goal, some companies are looking to fuel the adoption of blockchain technology in the short-term.
Leading the way in blockchain adoption is Blockstream Inc., one of the world’s leading blockchain innovators. The company is at the forefront of the industry, providing new solutions to scaling issues, privacy issues, and security, and now, the company has created a satellite network with the goal of enhancing coverage and creating opportunity for the 4 billion people without internet access to participate in the blockchain revolution.
Bitcoin has become an entirely new e-commerce platform with the potential to change the lives of millions living in poorer countries with unstable currencies. And with blockchain satellites, anyone with a phone or a computer will be able to make and receive transactions, access data, or add to the distributed ledger.
“With more users accessing the Bitcoin blockchain with the free broadcast from Blockstream Satellite, we expect the global reach to drive more adoption and use cases for Bitcoin, while strengthening the overall robustness of the network,” says Dr. Adam Back, co-founder and CEO of Blockstream Inc.
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Blockstream’s current satellite coverage.
Many argue that Blockstream’s approach is, in fact, centralized. But this is only the beginning. More and more companies are looking to send their platforms into space, as well.
Getting ahead of this trend is Global Blockchain Technologies Corp.(TSX:BLOC,OTCMKTS:BLKCF), an incubator for blockchain startups that are aiming to change the world. If there is something happening in the blockchain space, you will normally find Global Blockchain at the center of it - with the cryptocurrency induced stock explosion of Eastern Kodak being the latest example. And now, as the blockchain races to space, there will undoubtedly be a few Global Blockchain backed companies joining the fray.
The race is already underway however, with Vector, a forward-thinking nanosatellite startup, and Nexus, a blockchain developer, having teamed up to launch a new cryptocurrency hosted in space. According to Nexus, the currency will be completely decentralized, while granting greater transparency and freedom in accessing global financial services. Nexus also notes that, because the peer-to-peer network will be hosted in space, the services will not be tied to a nation-state, further protecting its users from data harvesting mega-corporations and overreaching governments.
Spacechain is another player with its eyes on the sky. Also using nanosatellites, the Singapore based company is looking to go head to head with the likes of Google and Amazon. Zheng Zuo, Spacechain’s ambitious 25-year-olkd CEO noted: “You can run a decentralized ecommerce platform, but in the backend, you’re using [Amazon Web Services],” adding, “It’s their technology infrastructure. After we all start depending on this centralized service, it’s hard to realize true decentralization.”
While each of these projects are looking to space for their own reasons, there is no doubt that others will follow, and as the competition grows thicker, so too will the possibilities.
It would not be farfetched to suggest that blockchain satellites could provide a new hedge against global catastrophe. Even if grids fall and ground-based internet infrastructure fails, satellites will still be able to beam down smart contracts, voting ballots, currencies, and more.
This race into space seems to be the perfect metaphor for blockchain’s unrelenting rise, a rise that investors and industry giants like Global Blockchain Technologies Corp are watching intently.
As the blockchain industry powers through milestone after milestone, it seems that the potential of this new tech is just being realized.
Here are a few other names to watch in the space:
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is one of the most innovative and well-known companies within the tech sector, but its Windows platform is the most widely used operating system on the planet. First launched in 1985, Windows has shaped what is expected from a personal home computer.
Like Intel, Microsoft is diving head first into an entirely new market. Microsoft is one of the founding members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance - With key partnerships utilizing and implementing blockchain technology, the company’s upside could have huge potential as the tech takes off.
Honeywell (NYSE:HON) is a major player in critical infrastructure monitoring. It’s also got its hands in critical infrastructure security and cyber security, recently acquiring cyber security company Nextnine Ltd.
Honeywell, a Fortune 100 software-industrial set-up, positioned itself solidly in this market—and early on—gaining prowess as a key warrior against cyber threats to critical infrastructure.
The company says the cyber security market in the Middle East alone is expected to double from $11.38 billion in 2017 to $22.14 billion by 2022.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company with worldwide interests. While Lockheed reported lower than expected third-quarter earnings, the company remains an interesting target for investors who bet on increased geopolitical tensions.
Lockheed Martin is also integrating blockchain technology into its operations. In May, a spokesperson for the company explained: "With this effort, Lockheed Martin becomes the first US defense contractor to incorporate blockchain technology into its developmental processes, enabling more efficient and assured offerings to the federal government."
Blackberry Ltd (NYSE:BB, TSE:BB) This well-known cell-phone pioneer is engaged in the sale of smartphones and enterprise software and services. The Company's products and services include Enterprise Solutions and Services, Devices, BlackBerry Technology Solutions and Messaging.
Blackberry used to be a worldwide leader in phones, but Apple, Google and other Android manufacturers have rapidly acquired market share. Blackberry has since shifted its focus to software and security. Blackberry’s CEO, John Chen, has even noted: “Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are definitely on our to-do list."
Celestica Inc. (TSE:CLS.TO) (NYSE:CLS) is a manufacturer of electrical devices used in IT, telecommunications, healthcare, defense and aerospace industries. The company has seen strong growth YoY which we expect to continue as the sales expectations are almost 3% better than last year’s.
While many investors thought the stock was overvalued after a stellar run in 2016, the recent correction and volatility in the stock has attracted new buyers and the stock has recovered since.
While telecommunications stocks have been volatile recently, defense, IT and aerospace industries have outperformed and while many see limited upside, these industries continue to surprise both investors and analysts.
By Michael Kern
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