Cryptocurrencies, in their inexorable march forward, are here to consume and change everything you touch, including supplanting the iPhone’s “there’s an app for that” with an even broader “there’s a coin for that.”
There have been plenty of jokes and strange coins that have come and gone, from the successful Dogecoin to big failures like Coindash and Veritaseum. It’s a wild market, with some reports suggesting more than $100 million in investment has essentially vanished into failed coinage.
That news makes it even more interesting that new models continue to emerge, and different concepts are tested at all levels of investment and value. We’ve put together a few current efforts and categories that make a compelling case for tokenization as well as put up plenty of red flags for what the current state of cryptocurrency looks like.
Enjoy the dive.
Still largely in the ideas spacer are a variety of platforms hoping to tokenize assets in the real estate space. Investors can buy smaller portions and units so that they’ll get the benefit of investing with some minimized risks, hopefully.
They’re often akin to a REIT, or real estate investment trust, but have a token requirement that manages some entry. Similar to a REIT, you’re somewhat limited on what you can invest in based on what’s selected and approved by the service.
Blockchain can significantly help with some transparency issues that have happened in the past with real estate, but most records won’t look far back into the history of the home beyond what’s publicly available — so it won’t likely tell you that the foundation is bad unless you or the token provider gets an inspection.
Rex is an early entrant that focuses mainly on being a listing service and allows you to buy or sell as needed, mainly serving as a blockchain and contracting service that helps remove global limitations on seeing and buying what’s available. Today, this type of business model seems safest for real estate, though investing and tokenization of assets themselves may catch up if trust concerns can be addressed.
Every wanted to buy something silly and small like a bottle opener for a party favor?
Well, now you don’t need to go through the hassle of finding your wallet or credit card. Just fire up Fuzzballs and use a token ecosystem that claimed to be able to let you buy small knickknacks as well as a variety of other digital items that were small, cheap, and meant as mostly a joke.
What’s most important about this market is highlights the dangers of these strange offerings. As of the end of February, the company’s pages featured this warning:
Luxury Assets Get Tokenized
Not all of us can afford a Porsche Speedster, but you might be able to secure a piece of it. TEND is a crypto-startup that takes and tokenizes luxury goods, including a Porsche. Goods are divided, and shares of each are available to trade on TEND, allowing you to get your hands on something, at least for some time.
This is crypto equivalent of a timeshare.
The interesting part of this currency is that you’re paying for access, not necessarily hoping for value appreciation. For the Porsche, a local dealer will care for the car and hand over keys to the appropriate user based on their tokens. Some items in its service, such as a vineyard in France, may increase in value. Others are just to have the experience of luxury goods come to you.
Sink Your Teeth into DentaCoin
Here’s a favorite in the offices you’re probably afraid to enter: DentaCoin.
This token and related blockchain are designed to help dentists and related businesses, plus their patients, afford care and related services. Initial efforts are focused on getting dental offices up-and-running with electronic health records as well as a variety of tools. An eventual goal is to help use it to pay for procedures and even potentially reduce costs for patients through some blockchain-based data sharing.
It can sound a little strange, but it’s a smart look at the industry. You might think of it, but it’s very likely your dentist used dentist-specific marketing and advertising partners to reach you. They’ve got specialty devices, insurances, representatives, trade groups, publications, events, and much more.
It’s a huge industry and having a coin focused on that gives DentaCoin plenty of potential to reach into a lot of services and pockets, without having to worry into bleed over into different industries with different requirements.
Papa’s Got a Brand New Crypto
We wouldn’t be surprised to see paying for music become decentralized, but what about music development itself?
Well, the Cypherfunks got us. This collaborative of musicians says that they plan to make and share music in a way where everything is decentralized, including the band itself. Musicians and collaborators provide pieces and get tipped with FUNK coins, and eventually, the platform plans to sell a variety of music and tools that help others make music.
Enjoy or make new music from around the globe with this interesting cryptocurrency.
Full Embrace of Things Likely Illegal
One of the early fears about cryptocurrency would be its use to facilitate payments for illegal activity, around drugs, firearms, and much more nefarious dealings. Now, there are tokens that appear to cater specifically to this market.
DeepOnion is one such token that claims to be a completely anonymous and 100% untraceable cryptocurrency. It uses the TOR network and just might be how you get started learning what nightmares are made of today.
Lease Your DNA for Tokens
Harvard and MIT geneticist George Church is a tour de force behind CRISPR and started Nebula Genomics, a company that wants to use the blockchain to encourage people to get their DNA sequenced.
Tokens will be used by Nebula to provide a way for people to get paid to give their genetic information to researchers once it is sequenced. You can turn to the company to get your DNA sequenced and use it as you see fit. One new option for use is leasing your DNA to scientists, helping their research but not allowing them to take over rights to your data.
DNA, the data of who we are, will be protected on the blockchain so you can remain anonymous on an individual level even as you share general information for research.
KFC Canada and the Bitcoin Bucket
Not everything is getting its own coin. Some services and existing products are merely adopting existing coinage.
One of the more interesting takes — more marketing than a business model — is the sale of a bucket of chicken from KFC Canada. The company allowed a small group of people to exchange $20 worth of Bitcoin for ten pieces of chicken and some fixings, plus delivery.
While we can see this as a gimmick, there’s potential for companies to try this model as a quirky way to test the validity of these currencies. The downside for KFC Canada, at least in the near term, is that it sold these buckets in early January when the value of Bitcoin was close to $15,000.
Honorable Mention: The Chicken Blockchain
We think it’s only a matter of time that live animals join everything else on in the token economy. Our bet for where that starts in a major way is the chicken.
Today, a variety of services are tracking food via the blockchain, and the chicken may be getting the most interesting approach in China. Consumers are seeking ways to know that their food is safe and are also hoping to learn that their food was also raised properly. That’s given rise to blockchain-capable ankle bracelets.
ZhongAn Technology, from the Chinese insurer ZhongAn, developed the technology that will track the chicken throughout its life as well as build out metrics for age, air and water quality where it lives, how much exercise it gets if it gets sick, and when it is slaughtered, among other things.
“It’s difficult for ordinary consumers to distinguish a captive chicken and a free-range chicken,” Xuefeng Li, CTO of ZhongAn Technology, told Fast Company.
It isn’t far off to expect to see a coin come about that reserves a chicken for you and you exchange it when the animal is turned into food.