In March, several major companies joined together and formed the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), with a plan to create software standards for Ethereum in business use cases. The 30 founding members included Microsoft, Intel, JP Morgan, Accenture and Thompson Reuters.
The goal was to establish a clear roadmap for enterprise Ethereum features and requirements; a robust governance model; clarity around intellectual property and licensing models for open-source technology; and resources for businesses to learn how to leverage Ethereum.
Recently, more big names have announced that they want to be part of the Ethereum revolution. In late May, the alliance announced that 86 new members would join its ranks, including Merck KGaA, Samsung SDS, Toyota, Deloitte, Infosys and National Bank of Canada.
What this means, in a nutshell, is that even more major corporations are embracing blockchain technology and that they are moving more rapidly toward Ethereum as a structured industry standard.
Historically, this may be the type of shift that led Windows to become the dominant operating system for PCs. If Ethereum has its way, it may be the operating system for the world’s new high-tech, worldwide web in its entirety. This could bring innovations to the mainstream such as instant digital payments, secure digital record keeping, online voting and governance, machine-to-machine business, artificial intelligence and billions of newly connected devices.
In one such example, Toyota announced an Ethereum blockchain-based, self-driving, ride-sharing prototype.
According to an introductory video about the Toyota prototype, Ethereum will allow applications such as tokenization of a car’s identity, private GPS and time-stamped data and blockchain-based commerce so that the car can accept payments. By automating the software, the vehicles, the commerce and data, many jobs and overhead costs would be eliminated at ride-sharing companies like Uber. With Toyota going big on blockchain technology and Uber having invested billions into its infrastructure, it may be that Uber’s time is running out.
Ethereum may also become a threat to successful companies like AirBnb, Paypal and Netflix, as the blockchain enables P2P payments and media distribution.
But what the EEA is doing well right now, with its dozens of high-profile members, is spreading the word and gaining acceptance of this yet-to-be-realized technology. The strength of a public blockchain requires a widespread network effect and members attracting new members is what will make the platform successful.
Not only that, but the EEA is giving real-world value to Ethereum’s digital asset, ether, as every transaction on the Ethereum blockchain will require the tokens as a “gas.” In the not-so-distant future, ether could be used for trillions of online transactions every day, recording each and every one on its immutable digital ledger. As use of the Ethereum blockchain grows, the value of ETH should grow as a functional digital commodity. Over the course of May, the price of ether surged from about $78 to a high of around $230, per Coinbase.
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