One blockchain to rule us all – really?

Written by on January 22, 2016 in Opinion with 0 Comments

blockchainIt is almost unheard of that a technology goes mainstream as quickly as the blockchain has. We seem to have gone from ‘do you mean bitcoin?’ to ‘Ah, OK, so it is distributed and secure so great for financial transactions’ in mere months.

Now we already seem to be at the ‘thank goodness for the blockchain, that’s the hackers, fraudsters and other bad guys stopped in their tracks.’ Even spell checkers have not caught up with it as a proper word.

In fact it has already got to the stage where the blockchain looks as if it will be the underlying mechanism on which Governments, and therefore countries, will operate.

Normally, technology takes 10 years to become invisible, or the way the world works. Even smartphones have taken a decade to realise their potential. In fact, it is generally the case that a technology disappears (rather than appears) at lightning speed – remember UNIX and DEC that thought they would be top dog forever? Remember Betamax and MySpace?

This, then, must be a first.

It was only last September that the legendary and visionary venture capital house Kleiner Perkins said that one of their focus areas was blockchain technology.

Even since the beginning of the year, blockchain news has been surfacing. Australian markets operator ASX has invested in Digital Assets Holdings in order to design a faster, more secure settlements system. Other leading stock exchanges across the world are examining or have announced plans to adopt blockchain technology.

Recently, too, the UK Government’s chief scientist has produced an 88 page report that says the blockchain could transform governance of the country. Reported in The Register, Sir Mark said that a secure, distributed ledger could “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.”

It could also be the key to solving the current, central issue of identity, for banking, payments, and, well, everything.

And yet they said that the Titanic was unsinkable.

While – clearly – so many clever people cannot be wrong, it is slightly worrying that a new technique and new technology is hurtling for the mainstream faster than anything before it.

It is not like us to pour cold water on cool new technology, but let us hope that the world does not implement blockchain technology across its mission critical processes and then suddenly go ‘Whoops.’

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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