Cutting Out the Middleman: How the Blockchain is Disrupting the Way We Connect With Businesses | Hacker Noon

There is a growing sense that businesses built upon the blockchain are waiting in the wings to steal their crowns. These Web3 products, platforms and technologies offer unparalleled levels of transparency and security, while allowing direct trade between individuals, companies and service providers. Could this signal the end of the middlemen? Could the blockchain revolution be the beginning of the future of the P2P revolution? We ask: What do you think? Share your thoughts? Share it with us at iReport.com.

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Elizabeth Levine Hacker Noon profile picture

Elizabeth Levine

Crypto & Blockchain Enthusiast

 Over the past decade, a string of businesses was founded and began to rapidly disrupt some of the most traditional stable markets such as entertainment, travel, and commerce. These new platforms added a thin layer of value to pre-existing business models by matching those seeking a product, service or offering, and those providing them.

The digital futurist Tom Goodwin wrote at the time, “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”

While these brands have grown to become global giants in their fields, there is a growing sense that businesses built upon the blockchain are waiting in the wings to steal their crowns. These Web3 products, platforms, and technologies offer unparalleled levels of transparency and security while allowing direct trade between individuals, companies, and service providers. Could this signal the end of the middlemen?

Disrupting the Disruptors

In the past, if you wanted to easily compare tradespeople to see who was trustworthy, who did a good job, and who was competitively priced, you’d most likely need to deal with a platform built with that in mind. Likewise, if you want to rent a vacation apartment, you’re looking at AirBnB (or their numerous look-alikes) or Craigslist. 

These platforms provide a lot of value by creating marketplaces where buyers and sellers can come together. And while this has led to a host of new industries and a significant increase inconvenience, there are cracks beginning to show in these business models.

Firstly, there’s the element of trust. Not a day goes past where the security, trustworthiness, and transparency of these platforms is questioned. Be it AirBnB users scamming buyers into paying off-platform or Alibaba products with hundreds of fake reviews. Secondly is the business model employed by many of these intermediaries. To gain market share, they often have incredibly low fees, which drive incredible growth and market share. But they are often unsustainable, and fees begin creeping up in order to maintain their business model

It’s primarily in these two areas where Web3 businesses and platforms operating on the blockchain are starting to seize sizable gains. Instead of middlemen eating into competitive pricing and profitability through large fees, products, services, and brands are beginning to interact directly with users on-chain.

This is achieved through the very nature of blockchain, which allows for far greater transparency, trust, and security between two individuals. Meaning the key reasons many of the intermediary businesses outlined above existed in the first place are now being done faster, better, and cheaper than ever before.

What the Blockchain Revolution Might Look Like

New companies on the blockchain are beginning to build their own P2P bridges in some unique ways. Offering everything from asset investment, vacation rentals, and job search through to dog walking, price comparison, and secure distribution of charity funds, these new intermediaries are bringing consumers together in a way never seen before. 

One way this new connectivity is being seen is through job and service marketplaces. Giving users the ability to simply and easily match jobs they need with professionals who can complete them. A great example of this is H3RO3S (Heroes), whose platform unlocks digital connectivity between consumers for almost every type of service. Users are able to log into the system, create profiles, offer skills, and even set goals for service. Other users find these services and are able to connect and utilize them, both in-person and digitally. 

The company provides vendor feedback, evaluation platforms, and vendor growth trajectories. Users are able to move from ‘Rookie’ to ‘Premier’ and everything in between simply by providing excellent services. The system provides organic fluidity in an area where traditional companies are unable. 

Another really interesting area is the charity and NGO (non-governmental Organization) space. While these organizations are often highly successful in fundraising for worthy causes, they have regularly struggled to find transparent routes to deliver these funds to those who need them most. Oxfam, the global charity seeking to end poverty, recently launched a new on-chain mechanism for distributing funds to their array of causes. Their “UnBlocked Cash project (UBC)” is a blockchain-powered cash transfer solution that is set to tackle this very challenge. By delivering aid directly to those most in need, it is cutting out middlemen (both at a global level and local) to improve the lives of beneficiaries. A side benefit of this new scheme is that it is creating digital banking services for the third world, where there is still a high barrier to entry for most of its most impoverished peoples.

While Big Tech may still reign supreme, the agility, transparency, and ability to drive direct relationships between sellers and buyers will increasingly see blockchain-based solutions begin to dominate in most marketplaces.

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