November 30, 2022


Quietly Brilliant

How the technology that powers crypto is being used for more than money

From powering cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to digital property like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), it appears to be as nevertheless the blockchain technology is everywhere you go.

Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that outlets and records details, and is ideal known for facilitating transactions for digital currencies these types of as bitcoin.

It also has several people hoping to get wealthy, by investing in digital assets like GIFs and artworks — some of which sell for millions, like the electronic art Everydays: the Initially 5,000 Days by American artist Beeple, which sold for $69.3 million U.S. in 2021. The technologies has also been criticized for its harmful environmental influence.

But buyers and celebrities are not the only kinds investing in the technology or the cryptocurrencies that blockchain enables.

In B.C., Indigenous artists are leveraging blockchain to secure their artwork, whilst scientists are researching how the technological know-how can far better secure particular health data.

Indigenous NFT art

In an ethereal studio in Burnaby, B.C., artist David Fierro of the Okanagan Nation makes drums using traditional hides, like those people of elk, and acrylic paint that appears to appear alive below black light-weight.

But the drums, section of the 400 Drums venture, aren’t made to be sold as they are. At the time performed, the instrument is photographed and sold as a non-fungible token or NFT.

An NFT is a digital asset that usually exists on the Ethereum blockchain, and stores unique information that includes a file of ownership and transactions. NFTs can not be replicated, and as opposed to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, each individual NFT has a unique price.

That unique nature is one of the explanations NFTs appeal to Indigenous artists like Fierro, as the theft, replication and product sales of inauthentic Indigenous art stays a big challenge, even at important galleries.

Indigenous artist David Fierro of the Okanagan Nation produces these handmade drums, which are photographed and turned into NFTs. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The skill to document and verify the authenticity of an artwork through blockchain is also desirable to Tamara Goddard, Fierro’s business spouse. Goddard is the head of 400 Drums, a marketing campaign supporting Indigenous creators harnessing on the net platforms to share teachings and stories.

Fierro and Goddard strategy 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 cash will support initiatives for Indigenous youth and artists, such as media education and workshops for starting their possess NFT jobs.

“Our artwork is our benefit, our artwork is our lawful tradition. We experience that as Indigenous peoples, we want to enter this room to protect the authentic character of art as a worth, artwork as cash,” stated Goddard, who is of the Saulteau Initially Country.

“It’s a extremely good fit for us because we consider that the NFT, even even though it can be a digital asset that you are holding, will get on a financial worth and develop in value as does all of our Indigenous artwork.”

Securing well being details

At the College of British Columbia’s university of data, research is also becoming conducted on how the know-how can assistance secure wellbeing information and facts.

Victoria Lemieux, associate professor of archival science and one particular of the several women of all ages in the entire world leading a research lab focused on blockchain, is working on a “particular wellness wallet,” where wellness information and facts is securely saved on a person’s smartphone utilizing blockchain.

Victoria Lemieux is studying how blockchain technologies could be employed to secure own health and fitness information on a smartphone. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The technologies, she says, is extra protected than present information and facts systems because it does not depend on common safety measures like passwords, and it decentralizes information unlike shared third-get together services like the cloud.

This usually means facts on the blockchain is much less susceptible to hackers that may possibly want to watch or modify any of that information, she claims.

“They are not getting accessibility to this big pool of information that they can keep for ransom,” she mentioned. “They have to get the job done more durable to get scaled-down bits of info.”

The health and fitness wallet she’s operating on will let men and women to share wellness data with a health practitioner securely and competently, she claims, and permit individuals to preserve their details from staying utilized for investigation applications.

“If you’ve experienced, for case in point, some variety of a transplant, you may have numerous different health professionals, you will have pharmacists and so on. All of that data demands to be brought together to assist the care group look just after you proficiently, but it’s extremely siloed proper now,” she said.

“It is really all part of this craze to empower people today to manage their knowledge, acquire ability absent from platforms that have tended to hoover up our details without inquiring.”