The next generation of Ebay could sell products that feature instant delivery with no shipping, and there’s no way you’re emotionally attached to the good you sell while maintaining cryptographic proof that you can’t be ripped off.
I’m talking selling your idle computer power.
Every unused ounce of storage, computing power, or bandwidth can be sold by its provable owner on an open, decentralized market. This stretches over into the more tangible world (with trade offs on trust) with proposals for letting owners of solar panels sell their surplus electricity and 3d printer owners selling their printer services. A core use of blockchain is the creation of a trusted network for assigning and exchanging ownership of a digital asset, and it has the potential to create a wide-reaching, decentralized, and trust-less backbone to support these concepts.
Yard sales are a way for you to recoup some money from belongings you no longer want but can’t throw away. Instead of leaving them sitting around idly in your house, you exchange your old things with others who actually want them and recoup some money. Ebay brought this idea to the internet, making a gigantic global yard sale that prevents things from being thrown away because they can be sold to others who have use for them.
Now take this idea to the digital age. If you’re thinking “Ebay is already digital” you’re focused on the other half of the equation. While the platform become digital, the items being sold are still overwhelmingly physical goods. The extra storage space, bandwidth, processing power, and energy you have sitting around your home are untapped resources that others would pay for.
Here comes an important disclaimer: this isn’t in any way a statement in support of the explosion of narrow-use case ICOs that serve the same function as a cryptocurrency but can only be used for buying specific goods. The difference is that one approach leverages the technology to create a network of accountability and a trust infrastructure to allow users to transact freely while the other acts as a limited version of a currency. Integration with existing cryptocurrencies instead of minting a new, more limited coin is almost always a better way to go.
For example: making a coin that is exclusively for the purchase and sale of computer mice is limited and silly, while using an existing coin to facilitate a second-hand market for the old mice that gamers have sitting around benefits both sides. The mice-aficionados get to recoup some of their investment to continue buying mice, and the used mouse buyers get access to lower prices. Now just replace computer mice with digital storage space, network access, or computing power and you see the full potential.
The removal of a trusted middleman like a bank or lawyer for writing up a contract allows smaller exchanges to still be profitable. Blockchain has the potential to leverage a vast number of previously inaccessible, small, parallel pools of resources. Each and every user’s idle resources can be put to work for them in an extensive pool governed by free market forces.
Blockchain has the potential to create the contracts that bind a seller and buyer to terms too. For digital assets like computing power and storage, methods for determining that a resource was exchanged can be moved onto the blockchain to remove the need for trusting buyers and sellers. The buyer’s money is held until the seller’s proof of resource allocation is proven valid. With this capability, every idle pc in the world becomes part of a massive, secure supercomputer economy- making money for the owners and fair prices for digital assets.