Even though the world of blockchain is in its infancy, there are literally millions and even billions of bits of data stored on blockchains across the world. The value of this information is immense but at the moment there is no easy way of extracting it, viewing it studying it, tracking it, or putting it to any kind of good use.

A missed opportunity

This is a huge missed opportunity because there is so much potential in that data. For example, it could be used to create vast and comprehensive data models that would allow us to track trends and behaviour and even allow us to prevent things such as drug trafficking or piracy.

Right now, we are only using blockchain technology for the purposes of transactions- in other words, to send money from one address to another or to call for a function on another address.

How, where, who?

For some reason, no one is paying much attention to how the money is being used, how it is moved, where it is going, and who is doing what. We don’t even know which addresses we can identify as terrorists or criminals.

If we could tag these addresses, we would be able to create a model that could prevent money from going to an address or exchange that we know may belong to terrorists or drug traffickers. The ability to do this would prove immensely useful for companies, individuals and even intelligence agencies, as well as providing a useful economic insight.

The problem is we do not have the technology or the ability to do this yet. Users of a blockchain are able to look at it and access information on transactions that they and other users have made, but it is not possible to do it on a bigger scale. With Ethereum it is easy to track a user through etherscan, but it is not possible to track multiple users all at the same time.

The data is there to be used, we just need to figure out how to harvest it.

Many comparisons have been drawn between the blockchain now and the internet back in its infancy. When the internet first started, it was little more than a community of computers that were all connected to each other- this community-generated data but there wasn’t much to look at. As more and more people started using it, the amount of data that was available increased dramatically. People realised that this data could be used on a large scale and that it was possible to learn from it.

It was then that the search engine was born and the possibility of searching enormous amounts of data was brought to life. It seems that blockchain is due a similar sort of development.

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