Cryptocurrencies were the talk of the town this past year. As Bitcoin hit $20,000 a token on December 17, it became nearly impossible to not hear about the tech. Cryptocurrencies have been the first blockchain innovation to catch on. However, blockchain goes beyond financial services.

Blockchain technology offers the safe and secure transfer of data of any sort at lightning speeds. This is thanks to a decentralized ledger and smart contract system. While these aspects are critical to financial transactions, they can also be applied to other industries.

With technology advancing every day, new startups are figuring out novel applications of blockchain. These have the potential to change the way people work and live. Here are four ways that the blockchain technology goes beyond financial services.

1. Giving the power of digital media back to the people.

Soon after YouTube launched in February of 2005, the platform grew to be one of the most popular websites on the Internet. People from all around the world could share the videos they made. Also, they could consume content on just about anything. As content creators became more professional with their work and YouTube began to monetize videos with advertisements, creators started to earn enough to make a strong following and subsequent living.

Unfortunately, the YouTube landscape has since changed. Now, it’s much harder to make money from content. And, for many, demonetization of their content could put them out on the street. This is where blockchain startup BuzzShow comes in. The rewards-based social video platform allows users to upload or cultivate a channel of videos. This can attract a following.

These actions, whether creating or viewing, are tracked on the blockchain. This unique system incentivizes through direct token rewards. Supported by a Proof of Contribution mechanism, this rewards economy benefits all parties on the platform.Startups like BuzzShow are utilizing the blockchain to offer more options for content creation. Additionally, they are simplifying content monetization.

2. Optimizing the stock photo market.

Similar to digital video, the stock photo market has its fair share of problems. For example, photographers normally get paid only a small percentage of earnings from their photos. Fund transfers can take a month or longer on most large platforms. Also, site verification is time consuming, and users aren’t able to price their photos.

A new startup, Photochain, is utilizing blockchain and smart contracts to streamline all of these processes. They have created an efficient marketplace for users of all sizes. Content creators can earn upwards of 95% on their sales. Plus, payout time is mere seconds. Users can be assured that licensing and copyrights will be fully enacted due to the platforms Digital Copyright Chain (DCC).

In addition, verification is simple and quick. Users can set their own price for their content. As the company grows and the technology continues to develop, photo professionals and enthusiasts should look out for companies like Photochain.

3. Revolutionizing advertising.

One of blockchain’s most interesting applications is what the technology can do for the advertising industry. A slew of new players have entered the industry through the rise of social media, including more technical advertisers.

One startup, ClearCoin, offers a platform with easy access to a plethora of digital media and advertising tools that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive. In addition, eliminating the middlemen enables a more efficient, quick, and cheap advertising solution.

Companies like ClearCoin that offer real time media buying and selling solutions will be in a great position to grow and adapt when adtech becomes more advanced. These advancements will be more impactful as a global audience gains access to the products created as part of the blockchain revolution.

4. Facilitating business startups.

A handful of crypto startups have looked at the process of starting and running a small business as a perfect application of blockchain. First, the technology securely speeds up data transfers. Second, smart contracts allow the system to perform tasks automatically. This is particularly important when organizing business information where many different aspects make it difficult to keep track of everything.

These new startups have built platforms with blockchain technology and smart contracts to manage pay tables. Also, this platforms provide receipts for accounting purposes and democratically resolve disputes between partners. Entrepreneurs should definitely keep their eyes on these startups.

With so many new cryptocurrencies coming out it’s easy to forget that blockchain has applications outside of the banking and financial sectors. Startups are applying the technology to all sorts of industries. This makes blockchain interesting for investors, tech enthusiasts, and consumers.