From powering cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to digital belongings like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), it appears as if the blockchain know-how is all over the place.
Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that shops and data knowledge, and is finest recognized for facilitating transactions for digital currencies comparable to bitcoin.
It additionally has many individuals hoping to get wealthy, by investing in digital belongings like GIFs and artworks — a few of which promote for hundreds of thousands, just like the digital artwork Everydays: the First 5,000 Days by American artist Beeple, which bought for $69.3 million U.S. in 2021. The know-how has additionally been criticized for its dangerous environmental affect.
But traders and celebrities usually are not the one ones investing within the know-how or the cryptocurrencies that blockchain allows.
In B.C., Indigenous artists are leveraging blockchain to safe their artwork, whereas researchers are learning how the know-how can higher defend private well being info.
Indigenous NFT artwork
In an ethereal studio in Burnaby, B.C., artist David Fierro of the Okanagan Nation creates drums utilizing conventional hides, like these of elk, and acrylic paint that appears to return alive beneath black gentle.
But the drums, a part of the 400 Drums challenge, aren’t made to be bought as they’re. Once achieved, the instrument is photographed and bought as a non-fungible token or NFT.
An NFT is a digital asset that usually exists on the Ethereum blockchain, and shops distinctive knowledge that features a report of possession and transactions. NFTs can’t be replicated, and in contrast to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, every NFT has a distinctive worth.
That distinctive nature is one of many causes NFTs attraction to Indigenous artists like Fierro, because the theft, replication and gross sales of inauthentic Indigenous artwork stays a significant drawback, even at main galleries.
Indigenous artist David Fierro of the Okanagan Nation creates these handmade drums, that are photographed and changed into NFTs. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)
The capability to report and confirm the authenticity of an paintings via blockchain can also be interesting to Tamara Goddard, Fierro’s enterprise companion. Goddard is the pinnacle of 400 Drums, a marketing campaign supporting Indigenous creators harnessing on-line platforms to share teachings and tales.
Fierro and Goddard plan to promote the NFTs on the OpenSea platform for 1 ether — the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain — which is roughly equal to $4,200.
The funds will assist initiatives for Indigenous youth and artists, together with media coaching and workshops for beginning their very own NFT initiatives.
“Our art is our value, our art is our legal culture. We feel that as Indigenous peoples, we need to enter this space to preserve the authentic nature of art as a value, art as money,” stated Goddard, who’s of the Saulteau First Nation.
“It’s a very good fit for us because we believe that the NFT, even though it’s a digital asset that you’re holding, will take on a monetary value and grow in value as does all of our Indigenous art.”
Securing well being knowledge
At the University of British Columbia’s college of knowledge, analysis can also be being carried out on how the know-how might help defend well being info.
Victoria Lemieux, affiliate professor of archival science and one of many few girls on the planet main a analysis lab centered on blockchain, is engaged on a “personal health wallet,” the place well being info is securely saved on an individual’s smartphone utilizing blockchain.
Victoria Lemieux is researching how blockchain know-how might be used to safe private well being info on a smartphone. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)
The know-how, she says, is safer than present info methods as a result of it doesn’t depend on typical safety measures like passwords, and it decentralizes info in contrast to shared third-party companies just like the cloud.
This means info on the blockchain is much less weak to hackers that will wish to view or change any of that knowledge, she says.
“They are not gaining access to this large pool of data that they can hold for ransom,” she stated. “They have to work harder to get smaller bits of information.”
The well being pockets she’s engaged on will enable folks to share well being info with a health care provider securely and effectively, she says, and permit folks to maintain their knowledge from getting used for analysis functions.
“If you’ve had, for example, some kind of a transplant, you’ll have several different doctors, you’ll have pharmacists and so on. All of that information needs to be brought together to help the care team look after you effectively, but it’s very siloed right now,” she stated.
“It’s all part of this trend to empower people to control their data, take power away from platforms that have tended to hoover up our data without asking.”