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What Mobile App Developers Need to Know about Blockchain

Bitcoin may or may not be a bubble, but the underlying encryption technology that makes it possible, Blockchain, is here to stay. Here's what mobile app developers need to know about blockchain.The bitcoin virtual currency continues to make headlines, with new bitcoin millionaires seemingly minted every day as Bitcoin’s price has ascended into the stratosphere. Some believe Bitcoin is one of the biggest speculative bubbles the world has seen, and it’s ready to pop, while others expect its value to rise to $60,000 for a single coin.

Bitcoin may or may not be a bubble. But the underlying encryption technology that makes it possible, Blockchain, is here to stay, with the backing of countless major financial institutions, healthcare organizations, real estate consortiums and more. Essentially, any industry that needs to securely track transaction will likely sooner or later use Blockchain.

Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger which records transactions in a decentralized database located in multiple places. Each block in any chain can contain transactions, records or programs. Blocks have a timestamp and links to the previous block in the chain. That makes sure the blocks and data cannot be changed or tampered with retroactively. And that makes them rock-solid safe.

What does this have to do with mobile apps? Plenty. Blockchain will be built into countless mobile apps, from retail to financial, supply chain and more. In fact, it’s already happening. IBM, for example, is building a network using blockchain that verifies people’s identities when they use services such as opening new bank accounts or getting driver’s licenses. The network is expected to launch early in 2018 in Canada. When it does, people there will be able to use the network and have blockchain verify their identity using a mobile app.

IBM isn’t alone. The company landmapp is developing a service and mobile app that uses blockchain to document land titles and land rights. It’s targeted at the developing world, particularly Africa, as a way to dramatically reduce costs for titles. And ShelterZoom has built a service and mobile app based on blockchain aimed at streamlining the way real estate offers are made.

Perhaps the biggest uses of blockchain in mobile apps will be for making mobile payments. Forbes notes that “Only 1.2 billion people have access to a bank account with payment capabilities, while there are approximately 5 billion unique mobile phone subscribers.” A partnership between the blockchain mobile payment company TelCoin and telecom companies will allow people who have mobile phones but not bank accounts to make secure mobile payments using mobile apps. TelCoin co-found and CEO Claude Eguienta said the app will “provide financial services to billions of people.”

There’s a lot more as well. Some people even believe that a blockchain-based app store could eventually replace Google Play and the App Store as the primary way in which people find mobile apps and pay for them.

At Alpha Software, we’re keeping our eyes on all this and looking at ways in which blockchain can be used with mobile apps. Keep checking back here for news, including an interesting experiment we may have for you.

Further reading: How to create a mobile app

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.