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Despite the stellar growth in the cryptocurrency markets and all the innovation and developments in segments such as DeFi, there’s still one major problem with cryptocurrency. It’s relatively low-hanging fruit for any cryptocurrency critic, and it’s unfortunately still all too valid – how can you spend it?
While plenty of weary crypto enthusiasts have fought off this particular allegation with justifications of Bitcoin’s market cap, the vast billions locked in blockchains, and the record inflows of VC and institutional funding, it’s still a stinger – because it cuts close to the bone.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have many benefits, but they struggle to maintain any meaningful connection to the real world. For instance, during the recent Bitcoin 2021 event in Miami, Cointelegraph reported that although participants were invited to pay for their cocktails at the bar with Bitcoin, in reality, the transaction fees were prohibitively high.
However, technology takes time to adapt and gain adoption. Although it may still be a pain to spend your BTC, there are still ways that crypto is gaining real-world utility if you care to look for them. Here are four projects bridging the gap between digital assets and the physical world.
The rise of Uber and ridesharing has given way to food delivery platforms, uniting all our local takeouts into one handy ordering interface. Food delivery more than doubled during the pandemic, and the chances are your pocket is feeling the after-effects. If not yours, then your local takeout is taking a hit – many of these platforms are raking around 30% commission from the price of the meal itself.
Bistroo started life pre-Covid-19, but its timing couldn’t have been better as its business case is more relevant now than ever before. The company was founded in the Netherlands in 2018 after the Bistroo team noticed the effect the food delivery platforms were having on local businesses. It launched in 2020 as a decentralized food delivery network based around its own BIST token. Restaurants retain control of their product selection, payments, orders, advertising, and analytics.
The company has gained significant traction on its home turf and is planning an immediate expansion to neighboring Belgium, following by further global growth.
Decentralized finance has been one of the most significant growth areas in crypto during recent years. However, it also struggles with developing a real-world connection – a point noted by the hosts of Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast during a recent DeFi-focused conversation with Dragonfly Capital’s Tom Schmidt.
Convergence Finance aims to address this gap. DeFi has allowed users to gain access to entire markets of liquidity enabled by tokens and smart contracts. Convergence Finance has developed a proprietary protocol that allows anyone to tokenize a real-world asset and transfer it into the DeFi ecosystem. From there, they can use it in the same way as any other token – stake it for liquidity and lending purposes to earn yield.
Convergence foresees that the protocol can be used to unlock the liquidity of real-world assets potentially worth trillions, leveling up the value of the DeFi markets even by the standards of its current exponential growth.
Many blockchain solutions tend to focus on industry-transforming solutions and start from the global context. Triffic is notably different. It’s an advertising and loyalty-based platform that uses geolocation services combined with gamification. Users actively participate in the Traffic app by collecting loyalty points for being logged in as they move around doing their daily business. The Traffic app will serve them up with adverts providing localized rewards and loyalty incentives as they move about.
For instance, a local cafe could advertise a meal deal to users who are in the vicinity around lunchtime. It’s hyper-targeted and encourages real-world connections between businesses and users. Users can also redeem their points in-store where applicable and can level up their rewards with special geocache prizes which may reward them with real-world prizes such as a free coffee or discounted parking.
Triffic is developed on the Ardor blockchain, which has gained adoption for other real-world use cases such as the Austrian government-sponsored “Hot City,” a gamification project aimed at recycling waste heat.
Community Gaming is a project that evolved directly from the need to solve a real-life problem in e-sports, that of hosting grassroots gaming tournaments. The group behind the project came together to host in-person esports events in NYC in 2017, but quickly came up against issues including slow and expensive payments and tournament software that offered a poor UX.
The team decided to build a platform combining registration and ticketing, bracket management software, and player payouts. By the time the pandemic hit in early 2020, Community Gaming was ready with a web app as esports moved online.
The project has strived to become as easy as possible to onboard to ensure the platform appeals to non-crypto users. Anyone can now register and create a tournament in under five minutes or sign up as a competitor. Community Gaming has now hosted over 200 tournaments, live events, and online broadcasts – real experiences, accessible with crypto.