Back in January 1999, public recognition of the internet was reaching an all-time high. Few people knew exactly what the internet was, or just how impactful it would become over the next few decades, but the word “internet” was being used left and right by companies attempting to signal their relevance in the changing times. A publicly traded company called MIS International had yet to turn a profit. Its stock traded at a price below 50 cents per share, attracting little attention from investors.

Then, an executive decision was made that would single-handedly change the fortunes of the company: it was renamed to “”. The new name attracted serious attention from investors well aware of the hype riding behind the ongoing internet revolution. The company’s stock price soared to $5, later falling to a more modest $2 mark; still more than 4 times what “MIS International” had traded for. These stories detailing how a company managed to signal their involvement in a rising technology that few people truly understand—and being rewarded handsomely—are not uncommon to the now infamous days of the dot-com bubble.

We’ve since moved past the learning curve presented by the internet and find ourselves at the bottom of another seemingly steep hill: the blockchain. And, yet again, crafty CEOs are up to their usual shenanigans. At the end of 2017 a New York-based company called “Long Island Iced Tea Corp.” decided to rebrand itself to “Long Blockchain Corp.”, seeing its stock rise 289% as a result.

In no way is this an indication that cryptocurrency, blockchain’s most well-known use case, is in a similar bubble. After all, the current cryptocurrency market is worth under $400 million as of the time this article is being written. The dot-com bubble? $6 trillion. What the name change made by Long Island Iced Tea Corp. does represent is the lack of understanding about blockchain technology. There’s no world in which “Long Printer Corp”, “Long Fax Machine Corp,” or “Long Internet Corp” trigger a similar rise in stock value. The issue here is that, outside of a loose understanding of Bitcoin, few people understand the potential of the blockchain.

This article will briefly cover 6 unexpected ways blockchain is changing the world in an effort to provide a short primer on little known blockchain use cases.

1. Tracking Charity Donations

Is the money you just donated to that children’s charity really going to help the kids, or is it going into the pockets of the CEOs who run the thing? According to a study done by Charity Navigator, top executives of the largest and most prestigious charities in the U.S. receive salaries exceeding $1 million. Once charities begin to accept cryptocurrency a new form of transparency will be unlocked. By monitoring the wallet of your charity of choice, you can track their spending to ensure it’s going to the right places.

2. The Tipping Economy

It won’t be long until microtransactions become a societal standard. Once this happens, you’ll be able to toss a few bucks to the author of the incredible article you read before bed, to the YouTuber who you’ve been watching for years, or to that indie artist who just released their new EP as a free download. These little tips will be made with a single click (or tap), and represent a serious threat to modern advertising models. As of today, low fee cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin or Nano best represent the potential for micropayments.

3. Send Money for Cheap

It’s expensive being poor. Remittances, when migrants send money across borders to their families back home, are currently fee-heavy transactions, eating up as much as 7% of the money sent. It’s not the middle-class American who will benefit most from the tiny fees associated with sending cryptocurrency, but the low income laborer who can’t afford to lose 7% of his $100/month pay check. Stellar is a project specifically focused on solving this problem.

4. Cutting Middlemen Fees

The internet + smartphone combination has given us access to incredible networks over the past decade. Uber gave us ride sharing, AirBnB gave us room sharing, and Postmates gave us peer-to-peer food delivery. In exchange for plugging into these networks, the company responsible for connecting us charges a healthy fee. Blockchains will remove the need for a centralized authority, instead allowing us to establish these same networks through blockchain-based decentralized applications without the high fees. Crystals is a rising blockchain startup looking to apply this to the modeling industry, but virtually any matchmaking platform/service could be done cheaper on the blockchain.

5. Securing Online Voting

Only recently have elections been brought online. The reality is that you simply can’t afford any room for error when you’re deciding who will give the final word on decisions that determine the fate of your city/state/country. While today’s current solutions are good enough, tomorrow’s blockchain powered voting systems will be virtually flawless, completely eliminating the chances of voter fraud. Check out Votem for an example of a blockchain-based platform already attempting to tackle this.

6. Improve Government Efficiency

This one may be especially surprising to outsiders who see the blockchain revolution as a group of optimistic Libertarians seeking to build a “new world”. The reality is the blockchains have a tremendous amount of applicability within the government. Whether it’s an identity solution, land registry, birth and death certificates, data integrity, or tokenizing energy, the blockchain has the potential to empower governments, allowing them to significantly cut costs.