Why Blockchain Will Change Everything
Right now we’re in gridlock. The human race wants to move forward with the Internet of Things — to really push the boundaries of what we can do with our digital connectivity and possibly create an entirely new (and hopefully cooperative) world — but a few major problems stand in the way. First, our economic, legal and political systems are practically stuck in the Stone Age, using paper contracts and proof of identity in a slow-as-sludge bureaucracy. Second, history online (and on paper) is far too easy to delete, and “fake” information is abundant, making it difficult to know exactly what happened and when. Third, cybercrime is out of control, with companies and individuals simultaneously spending a fortune on security and losing their valuable currency (data, information, money) to hackers every day, with damages set to hit $6 trillion by 2021. And blockchain can help to solve these problems, which is why it’s so exciting.
Blockchain, as we think of it today, was invented by the anonymous person(s) known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to make Bitcoin possible. The digital currency itself was an experiment, but it’s the underlying technology that’s truly valuable. And while no one really knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is, this technology has been a long time coming. In fact, you could trace its beginnings to names you might already know. These would be the cypherpunks, including Jacob Applebaum, who created the anonymous web browser known as Tor; Bram Cohen, who created BitTorrent, a distributed file-sharing platform; and Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, which utilizes a secure drop box for journalistic sources and government leakers. Ironically, these extremely talented cryptographers, thinkers, programmers and mathematicians — in their quest to change the world and take third-party trust out of the equation — have ultimately made it possible for traditional industries such as finance, banking, insurance and health care to secure their data and save money through blockchain. Funny how that works, huh?