Shakespeare probably would have written a sonnet about the Blockchain, if he were alive today. Something about a love torn alchemist, turning digital base metal into crypto gold.
JK Rowling could easily extend her Potter books, with one about, “Harry and the Mathematical Mythical Magical World of the Blockchain Beasts”. Well it is, a mysterious crypto world, chock a block full of mathematical geniuses, computer geeks, and of course, bounders & cads. But where, I hear you ask, did it all come from? And of course, the answer to that question, just like the answer to, “Who was William Shakespeare?” is, nobody really knows.
In August 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto popped out of the proverbial cyber woodwork and created the Bitcoin Blockchain. His aim was to totally remove trust from a monetary transaction, meaning no trust was required between each end of a transaction. Customer A could have a transaction directly with Seller B, with no trusted middleman needed. The code would ensure the transaction went through successfully. Removing the need for trust in third parties, like banks, governments, and legal systems.
The results of this can be, a farmer in Africa becoming his own bank – just using a mobile phone. A taxi driver can become his own Uber. It can change market structures, and possibly even the fundamental architecture of the Internet itself.
I never get tired reading and pondering about Satoshi Nakamoto: The Man, the Myth, the T-Shirt, a true Bitcoin legend in his own brief cyber lunchtime. Did he come from the future and create Bitcoin, the super daddy of all the multitude of competing cryptocurrency coins? Or was it just a boring group of uber geeky nerds?
Who then, just disappeared up their own ego? Where did he go? Where did they go, with his/their million mined Bitcoins?
As a mystery, it’s up there with, Roswell, Bigfoot & Who Shot JFK. What we really need, is JK Rowling’s one legged detective, Cormoran Strike, to track him down.
When I contemplate cryptocurrencies, I cannot seem to get the image of, Schrödinger’s Cat, out of my mind. If you invest in any of the cryptocurrency coins, you are entering the “Mathematical Mythical Magical World of the Blockchain Beasts.” Inside this “Mathematical Magical Box” sits “Schrödinger’s Cryptocurrency Cat”, and everything is possible inside the box, while the box remains closed. The currency goes up and up and up. Then down and sideways, then down and down and down, then up and back down.
The, “Quantum Crypto Wave”, does not collapse, until you cash out.
So, your Schrödinger’s Cryptocurrency Cat is worth $$Zillions or nothing or both or everything, or just a Dutch tulip, until you make that final decision, to cash out and collapse it into, whatever the price is, outside the box.
The Blockchain on the other hand, to make a complex story shorter, is a distributed string of digital information blocks. In other words, a database. A slow database. What makes it different from a normal database, is the fact it is distributed on many computers and servers. When the Blockchain is updated, the whole chain is updated. If you wanted to change one of the digital blocks, well, you can’t. Unlike the database on your company server. The Bitcoin Blockchain is sitting on millions of computers worldwide. Every change to the chain is performed by a complicated mathematical encrypted function. This cannot be edited or altered. That makes the Blockchain, in theory, immutable. In other words, the likelihood of a data breach is reduced dramatically.
But having said that, nothing is completely unhackable, particularly when you don’t use it as intended. The Blockchain’s security works, not only because it’s encrypted but also because it’s decentralized.
They say you need three things to run a successful Blockchain.
- A Network of computers,
The computers run the Blockchain. The dogs keep the humans away from the computers. The humans feed the dogs. Simples.
Of course, the whole lot falls apart, when the humans forget to feed the dogs and they wander off.
As I have an interest in wine and the wine industry I focused on this. Given the global wine market is expected to grow to $380bn by 2022, and the wine trade’s desperate need for authenticity and quality. It would make sense for wine producers, among many others to jump on the Blockchain bandwagon. As combined with IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity, it can log every step in the wine product’s supply chain. From vineyard to end user.
It’s in use with some vineyards, but as a technology in its infancy, the jury is still out on the present implementation of the Blockchain within the Wine Trade. We can have a group of technologies shaping the future of the Wine Industry Tech. Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Biometrics, Fintech, and Virtual & Augmented Reality. Any one, or a combination of these, could leap to the front and become the next best thing within the wine industry.
But for now, the Blockchain is leading the pack. And we really should be taking care of those guard dogs.
Cover image courtesy of Tiger Pixel via Flickr