Within the next decade if not before, much of human activity will be rendered and experienced digitally. Already, we rely upon our mobile phones for banking, ride sharing, social networking, work, travel, banking, learning, access to government services. But that is just the beginning. Imagine what it will be like to have sensors everywhere, your home, work, neighborhood, automobile, even your own body. Imagine that autonomous vehicles, drones, and medical devices are collecting and sharing information about you.
How would you know whether you could trust these devices or whether they could trust you? With so much data being collected, shared, and analyzed in real time, and as more and more of our worlds, institutions, activities and relationships become “virtualized,” it becomes imperative that not only can such sources can be trusted – but that our privacy and personal dignity is protected as well.
That is where the blockchain comes in. Rather than have to trust or depend upon a “third party”, a designated authority, such as a bank, institution, or government agency, that is vulnerable to human temptation and failings to tamper and subvert, it is now possible to have such human authorities become algorithms that mathematically and transparently verify transactions and the provenance of data, goods and services. It is now possible to verify the provenance of a supply chain of food to attest to its sustainability, quality and origin. The same blockchain technology can be used to verify the provenance of a carbon certificate or an identity credential with a minimum coordination and administrative cost. And it can do it in a way that others can independently verify the authenticity of the transaction.
In world that is increasingly digital, where so many services, capabilities, and governmental operations will be data driven and require some form of regulatory oversight, it is not difficult to see how blockchains and “decentralized autonomous authorities will play a critical role in all sectors of society, education, work, transportation, energy, housing and finance. Moreover, the thoughtful use of blockchain technologies will be essential for protecting privacy and personal freedoms in the near future. It will be a fundamental instrument for governments to preserve and protect trust in social and governmental institutions against the every present threat of an unchecked surveillance state. Please join us to take a moment to explore how blockchain technologies can provide greater trust and transparency in your sector and organization.
If you want to learn more, here are some of my favorite resources:
- A 2 minute video from the Institute of the Future that provides a brief explanation on how the Blockchain works and why it is relevant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-6YxpT3Wjs
- A 14 minute video from Diana Biggs, a blockchain innovator, explaining why the blockchain is relevant to governance: http://www.the-blockchain.com/2017/01/17/bruce-pon-blockchain-will-usher-era-decentralised-computing/
- Here is article by Bruce Pon, a technologist and entrepreneur, on decentralized services enabled services: http://www.the-blockchain.com/2017/01/17/bruce-pon-blockchain-will-usher-era-decentralised-computing/
- If you want to track what is happening in the “blockchain” and crypto-assets world, Blockchain News is the place to go. It has has an inventory of articles and videos: http://www.the-blockchain.com/
- Ethereum is the dominant platform for building blockchain services and smart contracts: https://www.ethereum.org/
- HyperLeder is a IBM and Linux sponsored enterprise level blockchain: https://www.hyperledger.org