When I read this sentence (my headline) in the article “Why the Blockchain is the new Website” by William Mougayar, the debate about Bitcoin being still alive or not was around already. Now that Mike Hearn exposed on Medium his concerns about the cryptocurrency future, and other voices raise to refuse the point, it’s time to understand how the ecosystem of blockchain is emerging as the new process infrastructure.
I just started to dig, here’s what I found that is worth reading:
Chain Of A Lifetime: How Blockchain Technology Might Transform Personal Insurance, which is “the outcome of a research project … which explored how blockchain technology might transform personal insurance and in particular interactions among individuals and insurance companies over time. … The report concludes that blockchain technology could transform the way people manage identities and personal information; blur even further the divide between global and local; influence consumer perception of time; drive honesty and transparency; and, influence consumer perceptions of risk that could change the way insurers support mutualisation.” As already happened in late ’90 with eCommerce (namely amazon) disrupting supply chain management and physical stores, the report highlights how “non-insurers are more likely to be the first to create insurance or insurance-related applications, using Blockchain to manage digital identity and personal data.” The report was prepared by Z/Yen Group and published by Long Finance in December 2014.
The Most Secure and Private Cloud, where only you have access to your data. As already happened in late ’90 with personal communication disrupting the post-office system, new bottom-up and P2P cloud storage systems are likely to outpace centralized storage. This is the bet for the future made by StorJ, a “new peer-to-peer cloud storage network implementing end-to-end encryption would allow users to transfer and share data without reliance on a third party data provider. The removal of central controls would eliminate most traditional data failures and outages, as well as significantly increasing security, privacy, and data control. A peer-to-peer network and basic encryption serve as a solution for most problems, but we must offer proper incentivisation for users to properly participate in this network. We propose a solution to these additional problems by using a challenge algorithm. In this way we can periodically cryptographically check the integrity and availability of a file, and offer direct rewards to those maintaining the file. In absence of a peer-to-peer network the described methods may be used to allow users to control, migrate, validate their data on 3rd party data providers without the provider having direct access to the data.” Read more
Smart contracts are self-enforcing or self-executing. Using Blockchain technology and principles you could rely on a decentralized network to confirm that a contract of any kind was executed properly (or even to execute it automatically), without revealing any confidential information about the parties or the transaction. As already happened with world wide web disrupting physical travel agencies and other intermediaries making profit from information asymmetry, the implications for trust and transparent business dealings are simply enormous as smart contracts can be the new infrastructure for the rising sharing economy.Ethereum has built a scripting language to enable this (read more) and interesting projects – merging smart contracts with IoT – are moving the concept to real world.
I’ll stop here for now, as I’m starting to read the last document I found, from one of the most influential sources I know, the Government of His Majesty the Queen, that just a couple of days ago published: “Distributed Ledger Technology: beyond block chain”. “Understanding the true potential of distributed ledgers requires not only research but also using the technology for real-life applications,” the report states. “Government should establish trials of distributed ledgers in order to assess the technology’s usability within the public sector… Distributed ledger technologies have the potential to help governments to collect taxes, deliver benefits, issue passports, record land registries, assure the supply chain of goods and generally ensure the integrity of government records and services.“.
In other words: place the Blockchain on your agenda now: strategically, tactically, operationally and educationally.
I’m willing to know more about Blockchain case studies, please feel free to report them in the comments.