The future of Bitcoin will heavily depend on the future development of the Bitcoin technology and how the currency side of things will play out. While most people currently focus on the block size, there are plenty of things on the horizon for Bitcoin users which are worth getting excited about. Whether those Bitcoin features comes in the form of smart contracts, issuing new assets, notary services, or creating digital identities, all of it will be possible with Bitcoin at some point.
Many Bitcoin Features Are Still in Early Stages
Although Bitcoin has been around for seven years in the form of currency, the underpinning technology is still in the very early stages of development. During the first few years, there has been a lot of focus on the financial side of things. But Bitcoin technology is capable of so much more, and slowly but surely, new features are becoming available.
Smart contracts are a big point of focus right now, and many digital currency enthusiasts flock to Ethereum for this type of feature. Very few people are aware that Bitcoin smart contracts have been possible for quite some time now, thanks to platforms such as BitHalo. Moreover, Rootstock is looking to offer this functionality as well, once their platform rolls out.
This does not mean Ethereum-based smart contracts will become obsolete by any means, as the project has seen developers put in a lot of work to offer this type of functionality to the public. It’s hard to say how different Bitcoin smart contracts will look from their Ethereum counterparts, but it remains one of innovation to look forward to.
Platforms such as Coinprism allow users to issue colored coins by using Bitcoin technology, which can be used for all kinds of purposes. Companies can offer an equity stake to investors by issuing a new token with relative ease. But what if somebody wanted to issue a real asset on the Bitcoin blockchain, similar to what alternative digital currencies such as BitShares and NXT offer?
Colored coins lend themselves for that purpose up to a certain extent, as owners can issue shares and pay out dividends according to a determined set of rules. Although Coinprism offers a user-friendly interface to issue colored coins, future improvements can be made. Additionally, there might be a time in which companies want to release their assets using Bitcoin technology, and peg it to fiat value. That is not yet possible in the current iteration of colored coins.
BitNation has shown the world how it is possible to provide digital notary services through Bitcoin technology, although the use cases of this service remain somewhat limited right now. This is another area of Bitcoin technology that warrants future development, which is exactly what companies such as Blocknotary and Proof of Existence are doing.
One feature a lot of Bitcoin enthusiasts look forward to is creating their digital identities. Not only would such a tool make it easier to sign up for services and platforms — as it could be linked to a token in the associated with a Bitcoin wallet address — but it would create a tamper-proof record of one’s identity.
Once digital identities become widely available, it will only be a matter of time until users can attach a reputation score to each identity. Conducting business with other Bitcoin members will earn reputation although bad deals could cost reputation as well. An interesting way of dealing with reputation was outlined in the Ethereum Community Currency DAPP. Bitcoin developers could decide to go an entirely different way with the reputation system as well, though.
Which of these Bitcoin features are you looking forward to the most, and why? Let us know in the comments below!
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