Blockchain? Bitcoin? Ether-what? In my head, I hear you say, “What does this cryptocurrency stuff have to do with the gym business and my fitness club?” Well, it turns out that the robust technology behind these new things is useful for many different industries, including fitness.

Technology is hitting the fitness industry as hard as any other business vertical. Here at the Gym Insight Blog, I’ve been trying to keep up and inform readers about what’s new and what’s likely to be coming along soon. So, considering the excitement about cryptocurrencies lately, I want to highlight it here too.

Another Technology Block For The Fitness Industry

Some of the tech that I’ve posted about recently includes, wearables, mobile apps, Internet of Things, and Augmented Reality. Bitcoin and the digital technology that makes it work are similar to all of these.

According to the media, Bitcoin is this anonymous Internet thing that supports shady-dealing on the “Dark Web” and ransomware attacks. First, Bitcoin isn’t so anonymous and second, yes, there have been some notable criminal uses. The positive potential is beginning to outshine the sinister uses that have grabbed attention recently.

There is another side to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin; they create a basis for an Internet of Value, as explained in this Ted Talk Video. The value is the encryption as ledger entries in files – blocks, which include secure links – chains to previous blocks. The technology relies on distributed ledgers that are spread out across the Internet, storing all records everywhere.

Blockchain For Un-Hack-Able Official Records

Bitcoin was the first application of the blockchain concept, but there has been an enormous amount of development since then. There are other cryptocurrencies, but the most interesting systems apply the technology more broadly. The Hyperledger Project sponsored by the Linux Foundation provides software tools for blockchain initiatives.

Ethereum is another platform that is much more versatile and more commercial than Hyperledger. This new blockchain system uses the same computation techniques as Bitcoin. However, Ethereum is much more general, computing more than encrypted payment transactions.

The new platform comes complete with a payment format called Ether. The more interesting part is that Ethereum supports blockchain-based contracts and customized tokens. Ethereum provides white label token services that support customized Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs. You use ICOs to define your private label cryptocurrency and to support whatever contracts, certificates or vouchers you can imagine.

Things Gym Owners Can Expect From Blockchain Applications

It looks like it’s early days yet when it comes to applying blockchain in the fitness business. There are a few different ways it could happen. You might find it useful to take payments for memberships and premium services.

Behind the scenes, applications based on blockchain distributed ledger technology will make agreements more secure and transparent. When you post a transaction or contract, you will be confident that it is authentic, without any possibility of tampering.

The risks and rough rides of cryptocurrency payments come first from unstable exchange rates. The prices of Bitcoin seem to go up and up, but that could be a bubble, which could end in prices dropping way down; you just won’t know what will happen until it’s too late.

Also, cryptocurrency institutions have had problems: The smaller exchange facilities tend to have too few transactions for consistent pricing, and then exchanges shut down, taking client Bitcoin funds with them.

Payments In Bitcoin And Ether

Will you take cryptocurrency in payment for your business services? The way the world is changing at the moment? In a few years who knows? The best protection against unexpected changes and strange new ways of operating is to be prepared and aware.

I’m not making any recommendations right now, except to predict that blockchain technology is coming to the gym industry soon. I do believe that you need to be prepared and have contingencies on hand for upcoming changes.

There is no point in offering to accept payment in Bitcoin if your members demand it; that decision depends on your market and the profiles of the type of memberships you wish to encourage. A tech-savvy client base might want to pay with cryptocurrency the next time you turn around so study up and stand by for action.

Bibliography

Bovaird, Charles. What Investors Should Know Before Trading Ether. May 8, 2016. http://www.coindesk.com/what-to-know-trading-ethereum/ (accessed July 2, 2017).

Fagan, Lawrence. AR Augments Your Fitness Center For A New Reality. March 17, 2017. https://blog.gyminsight.com/wp-admin/edit.php?s=augmented&post_status=all&post_type=post&action=-1&m=0&cat=0&paged=1&action2=-1 (accessed July 2, 2017).

McMillian, Robart. The inside Story of MTGOX Bitcoin’s $460 Million Disaster. March 3, 2014. https://www.wired.com/2014/03/bitcoin-exchange/ (accessed July 2, 2017).

Tapscott, Don. “How the blockchain is changing money and business.” YouTube. September 16, 2016. https://youtu.be/Pl8OlkkwRpc (accessed July 2, 2017).

 

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