Digital assets in a bankless world

Digital assets are some of the hottest commodities available. From digital art and audio to full movies made and distributed entirely online, assets have come a long way in a very short time. In August, just a couple weeks after Thailand’s new licensing system for companies working with digital assets opened, it had 20 crypto exchanges registered for licenses. While the technology is still in its infancy, truly only supporting cryptocurrency, that is quickly changing.

Digital Assets

Digital assets licenses can include everything from digital photos and movies to sound bytes and clips. For example, video games and movies can be bought completely digitally, with no disc changing hands. The digital asset lives only on a hard drive or in a cloud, streaming to the customer.

While cryptocurrency may be in the news the most, videos and metadata are also important to digital asset management (DAM). DAM is used by information scientists for a variety of purposes. Leveraging DAM tools and skills is becoming increasingly important in the business world.

Brand Recognition

Brand recognition is one way companies can leverage DAM. The internet is now one of the best ways to get information to a wide audience, and brand automation software ensures a smooth exchange of assets from an information scientist’s employer to the target audience. Not only does it provide a central location for creating and sorting digital marketing files, but it can record and analyze viewer data, providing useful insights into the target audience’s behaviour with the marketing materials.

Metadata

Metadata is also an important part of DAM. It’s essentially data that describes other data. For example, metadata attached to a photo might tell the viewer what type of camera was used, what f-stop the lens was on, the date and time the photo was taken, and if GPS is enabled, where the photo was taken. It enables searching in a DAM, and can also track an asset’s usage and rights.

Cryptocurrency

The example with the biggest impact has been cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. A completely digital, bankless, decentralized form of currency, cryptocurrency has the ability to cross international lines. However, this means that they are also subject to international economics, such as Brexit and the crisis in Greece. Developments in other countries can affect cryptocurrency on a global scale. Just like stocks, cryptocurrency rises and falls with world events, as they are essentially an investment. People pull money out in a time of crisis or as a reaction to negative events, in part due to fear, and the prices drop.

While it hasn’t quite caught on in the past few years as many proponents had hoped, cryptocurrency still has vast potential to be a currency anyone can use. It’s not widely accepted, though more businesses are allowing payment via Bitcoin.

Could it replace traditional currency? It’s certainly possible. It’s already being used to provide relief to disaster victims, and in theory, could make paying someone halfway around the world a snap. Thanks to the blockchain, transactions are completely public and verifiable, making them highly secure.

Blockchain

Blockchain technology can provide infrastructure to DAM far more than just recording currency, however. Looking to the future, in the next 3 to 5 years, it could completely change how we view cloud storage.

It can even keep track of your digital identity, an extremely important digital asset in a time when online fraud and data breaches are rampant.

Along the same vein as a digital identity, smart contracts can help exchange anything of value, from money and property to stock shares. Like cryptocurrency, it’s a public transaction, lending credibility to the exchange. Neither party can change the contract once it is entered into the blockchain without alerting the other party.

The Future

The future is already shifting toward digital assets. Think of video games and movies that are only downloaded and do not come with a disc. People simply don’t want to store more physical items when they can have the same thing stored in the cloud. Even money is likely to move to a completely digital standard.

Combine this with emerging technology like virtual reality and video chat becoming ever better, throw in smart contracts, and it’s possible that business meetings will be conducted entirely virtually, from your living room. You can be in a virtual room with your business associate or a video call, create a smart contract, move completely digital money over, and have it all recorded transparently.