Blockchain was originally developed especially for the digital currency of bitcoin which has slowly gathered traction as its value has increased rapidly. In fact, the total maket value of the currency is now nearing $120 billion (July 2018).
But is all of this stuff just some internet mumbo jumbo? Well, you don’t exactly need to know everything about blockchain in order to be able to use it to your advantage. Yet, understanding some basic features can help to give you enough knowledge to put you ahead of your competition as well as make some strides into new areas.
So, what is blockchain technology?
Block Geeks describes blockchain in the simplest, easiest way to understand.
“Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then, imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this, spreadsheet and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain.”
Essentially, a blockchain is a database that constantly updates and is easily shared between devices. The blockchain isn’t kept on one single computer or stored in a single place; instead it’s constantly open to the public, meaning that there’s no single version for a hacker to edit or corrupt. It’s continually housed by millions upon millions of computers all at the same time, making it easily accessible for everyone and anyone who’s connected to the internet. The fact that it’s constantly running across multiple computers means that it cannot be controlled by one single individual or device, nor is there one point at which it can fail.
What is Bitcoin?
We hear about it from time to time on the news or posted across social media, but to most people, it just sounds like unintelligible internet speak for geeks. In actuality, bitcoin might just be the next big thing in economics, and something you should definitely be paying attention to. To put this point in perspective, at this moment, one single bitcoin equals $6,690 (July 2018).
Bitcoin can be cut into two slices:
- The token aspect which is used as ownership of a digital concept.
- The ledger which tracks the token aspect.
Both are referred to as ‘bitcoin’ individually, and together, allow payment to be sent between individual users and companies without a bank or payment gateway. Everything is held electronically without any notes or coins exchanging hands and are produced using blockchain. In fact, bitcoin is the first use of the blockchain concept, and it’s clearly working.
How is this helpful for the health and fitness industry?
When you run a Google search for health and fitness technology, you’ll be greeted with a wide range of links relating to wearables, apps, and trackers. As you can already see, blockchain is slightly different.
In the fitness industry, blockchain is incredibly young, but there are now more and more apps and software being created that use blockchain as it’s easier to monitor and analyse data.
However, when it comes to gyms, there are a large host of benefits that owners can receive from using this ingenious idea. All transactions and contracts can become more transparent and less confusing, making the relationships far more safe, secure, and reliable. As the currency grows, more people are going to ask to pay or be paid in bitcoin as well. It might not be in high demand currently, but it could well be around the corner.
The health and fitness industry might not be new, but it’s still rapidly increasing in interest much like blockchain technology and token currencies. Due to this, if you can’t keep up with advances and new interest, then you’ll end up falling behind. At the end of the day, the fitness industry is about business, and if you’re not developing like everyone else, then you’ll eventually falter and fail.
FIT token is the world’s first platform that uses blockchain technology and runs on the Ethereal network. It’s essentially a decentralized way for members to buy memberships and order items through mobile apps or the web, helping to speed up the purchase of subscription services and create a more accessible environment for new customers.
Forbes state that in 2016, 18-34 year olds made 54% of their purchases in the span of three months online, meaning that more money is being exchanged online than in person. Because of this, there’s less clutter and traffic in the gym, and staff can be used more effectively and efficiently to help members in the gym as opposed to processing transactions.
Outside of the gym world, more interest is being created for online fitness applications and services. There are now more people training at home and using programs or purchasing home-gym equipment. Trainers now have the ability to sell more online programs to customers around the world as opposed to just in their local area. They can also train people through apps or over email and Skype. There’s less of a one-on-one in-person interaction surrounding personal training and fitness services, making it easier to expand the business and reach more customers.
Various online blockchain platforms are now offering rewards for using their services. If you’re using their blockchain and are the owner of a particularly popular stream of content, then you can be rewarded with tokens. In turn, entrepreneurs and individuals will be able to become more successful and motivated to use the blockchain. Not only this, but the content creators will own every single aspect of their content on the blockchain. No fees, no unnecessary payments, and no money loss for simply using the platform.
At the minute, trainers in gyms will have some of their income deducted for the use of the facility. Gyms want to take a percentage of the trainer’s revenue in exchange for the use of their facility. Blockchain platforms mean that starting an online business and making money from that is far easier to get into. There’s less of a risk for more potential gain.
How is this helpful or customers?
Maybe you’re not a business owner and are wondering how this can benefit you as a customer. Well, in-person personal training can be awkward for schedules and timing, so smoother online personal training in terms of communication and payments through blockchain makes a healthy lifestyle more accessible.
As well as this, some individuals simply don’t like the gym environment. They don’t want to talk to others or have awkward conversations with gym staff. Making the online environment surrounding payments and ordering quicker and easier will also make building a healthier home environment easier.
There’s also nothing worse than a confusing contract where you find out you’re locked into more than you wanted. As blockchain makes online contracts more transparent, customers can be more assured and confident in their subscriptions and payments.
Instead of having to pay for the gym services in person, customers will have access to the blockchain which can give them similar benefits without having to leave their house. Everything’s public and everything’s open. Trainers and companies can upload their tips, programs, and other content to the blockchain which customers can then download right to their home computer safely and securely.
It’s also important to note that if businesses and trainers benefit from using the blockchain, then customers will get a better quality of service as they’ll be more motivated to improve their products. As well as this, as trainers have to pay less fees, they could effectively charge less for their services and products, making it cheaper for their customers whilst also increasing the owner’s recognition and progression.
This is the same for common health and fitness enthusiasts as well as aspiring athletes. Successful athletes could upload lessons and videos to the blockchain, increasing the abilities of the younger athletes and also furthering the sport. It’ll reduce the barrier for entry, making it both easier for athletes to become better and also increasing the level of competition.
From just this information, it seems like everyone’s a winner.
What are the risks?
When you first look at the incredible exchange rate for bitcoin, you might be lulled into a false sense of confidence. The value of Bitcoin is ever increasing, but there could easily come a point where this all falls much like the boom and crash of an economy. The fact that bitcoin is fairly fresh in relation to other currencies as it was only created in 2008 drills home this point as it’s harder to track and predict. Everyone’s in the same boat and currently riding the wave, but how long will it last? Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin also have had other problems such as consistent pricing and exchanges shutting down altogether which can leave clients out of pocket.
Not to mention the obvious downside in that not everyone is familiar with blockchain platforms. There might be a predicted spike in demand, but at the minute, the interest is relatively low, so it might be an investment more for the future than for this current moment.
All in all, blockchain is opening the door for online business, and the health and fitness industry is something that could clearly derive a large amount of benefit. Online currencies and blockchain platforms might not be the big thing currently, but it’s by no means a far stretch of the imagination to see them both booming in the future. Yet, it might be a good idea to wait until the currencies and token services stabilise before investing any dramatic amounts of money in them. Keep your eye on this up and coming technology to make sure that you keep moving forward and don’t get left behind in the dust.