I've been spending quite some time studying blockchain recently despite my lack of interest in bitcoin, or any crypto-currency developed by any startups at this moment.
As a keen economics reader, I don't think that bitcoin could rid itself of its high volatility at the exchanges when it has to interact with the existing physical world of transactions done in fiat currency. I've quickly become, however, a big fan of blockchain, so much so that I'm actually spending my precious time to study its structure and the algorithm.
What attracts me is the potential of combining blockchain and the smart objects that we invest in. Notice that I'm deliberately avoiding, again, the term IoT while you'll see some articles make that link between the two — even the fascinating Blockchain Market Map graph made by William Mougayar of USV uses IoT in the graph.
I will put that debate aside since that's not the purpose of this article.
Basically what's relevant here is that every smart object that might benefit from having a unique identity should be able to add values to the bundled services if it can use blockchain to uniquely identify itself.
A good example would be a security camera such as Dropcam. As a normal smart object, it would only be using its computing power to process and transmit the digital video captured onto the cloud through wireless connectivity. A blockchain-enabled security camera, on the other hand, can continuously verifies its unique identity and proving that the raw video files sent back to the cloud are indeed captured by this particular camera, that it's not been compromised or forged.
Another easy example would be smart cars. Instead of using NFC or any low-power connectivity technology, a blockchain-enabled smart car would be able to identify/verify its owner when the later approaches it. It can verify through the blockchain whether this owner is still its legitimate owner. Buying/selling a car would then be almost instant. After the blockchain network collectively verify that this particular car has changed its owner to a particular identity, the car will be effectively transferred already. The original owner would no longer be able to open the car door and start the engine.
For all of this to happen, there has to be a lean enough software that can run on the ARM-based microprocessors widely used in smart objects today. Maybe there's already a version, but there isn't. In any case the application is not there yet.
Bottom line: if you're a blockchain startups working on enabling the smart objects to acquire/verify its unique identity on the blockchain, I would be very much interested in investing in you. Feel free to drop me a pitch at email@example.com.